SOLIDWORKS adds hundreds of new features every single release – and SOLIDWORKS 2019 is no exception. With great improvements in assembly performance, new workflows with touch and markup, and new surface texture features, SOLIDWORKS continues to innovate in 3D CAD. In this first part of a two-part series, we’ll share our favorite features in SOLIDWORKS 2019 – and our favorite tips from past releases that our engineers use every single day.
Major Enhancements in SOLIDWORKS 2019
The file set for this presentation is the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), and it’s located on the 14,000-foot summit atop a volcano in Hawaii. The CFHT first saw the light in 1979; so a SOLIDWORKS research customer with a long history of innovation and discoveries. Today, the CFHT remains a leader and is one of the most productive telescopes on earth or in orbit. As a leader, the CFHT knows it’s gotta be bold to ensure its relevance for the next generation. That’s why they’ve decided to remove the existing 3.6-meter telescope and replace it with the state-of-the-art 10-meter telescope that they’re calling the MSE.
This is where the SOLIDWORKS story begins with a digital twin of this MSE. SOLIDWORKS was chosen to consolidate everything in the design and bring that MSE to life long before its planned completion in the mid-2020s. SOLIDWORKS 2019 highlights the many reasons why the CFHT chose SOLIDWORKS to consolidate their design. I’m going to try and prove that to you based upon the UI, some sketching enhancements, and of course part modeling.
For the user interface, the recent documents window has been enhanced. It shows more documents and has the ability to filter those documents. External references are now manageable from the feature tree and the reference window has been revamped. You can now measure at any point in the software whether you’re in a features property manager or editing a dimension, the measure tool is always available.
SOLIDWORKS Enhancements – Documents
Let’s take a look at some of these enhancements inside of SOLIDWORKS. This is the recent menu and when you open SOLIDWORKS, you’ll see the home menu, the recent menu’s, the next tab over. It can now hold up to 100 documents. So you can scroll down and that makes multitasking on a lot of different projects really easy or to find specific components you’ve been working on fairly easily.
You can filter them with the quick filter, so that’s really similar to your open filters right up here at the top. You can filter by parts, you can filter by assemblies, or by drawings and assemblies, or any combination of the two, but my favorite function of it is the ability to search. I can type in the search menu, and it’ll filter by name. I’m gonna open up this nice camera document and what we’re going to see at the top of the screen is the open metrics, which was introduced in 2018 and that allows you to kind of diagnose exactly why your assemblies may be taking longer to open. It breaks it down into different categories as you can see on the screen.
Now that everyone’s view is all caught up to mine, let’s press on here. We’re gonna be talking about some of these external references. As you can see in my feature tree, I have the symbology of a dash and greater than and it looks like an arrow, and that’s telling me that there is an external reference that that component has to a different part or maybe a different assembly, sub-assembly somewhere. Different file, it’s being referenced.
I can click on a component with an external reference and my dynamic visualization orb is now a button. I can click on that button and I get this nice little pop-up menu where I can break the reference or lock the reference. I’m gonna choose to lock this reference and I get a nice little window and what that’s telling me is that if I change whatever’s being referenced it’s no longer going to change my parts and I can no longer add references to this component.
Let’s look at all the references in my file here. We can see our external reference menu has been revamped. There are some nice icons there. It kind of has a nested view. You can really see what’s going on and understand your designs and, of course, how they’re referencing. I can click on some of these references and if you look in my graphics area to the right-hand side you can see some shaded color coding of what those references are, and I can click through here so I can see all the information displayed and I can get a graphical representation in my graphics area.
I’m gonna isolate one of these parts so I can see it a bit better. Maybe zoom in, make it a little bit better and check out the circular pattern. I have an external reference to a different part making the circular pattern, but I don’t really need that reference. There’s a nice circular face I can click on. Let’s break this reference, I don’t need it anymore. And, it’s gone. And now I can maybe edit that feature and apply the direction to the circular face of the part. Just like that. That’s looking good.
Design Notes in 3D View
Someone was reviewing my design here and they left me a nice note via this 3D view. Looking at this note and reading it, it says, the camera counterweight requires a minimum distance of 50 millimeters between the faces. I’ll double-click on my component, get my dimensions to appear, start editing my dimensions but I’ve kind of jumped the gun. I gotta change this dimension but I don’t know by how much. I can’t remember the exact distance between those two faces there.
Previously in another version, I’d have to close down my dimension tool to grab my measure tool, but now, I can measure at any stage of the game. I can grab my measure tool, click on a face, click on the other face and there we go. I have my distance of 45 millimeters. That’s a math I can do in my head. That’s a 5 millimeters distance. I can go to my Dimension Box minus the 5 millimeters, rebuild it and then everything is exactly the way I want it to be. It lines up, it looks good. I am quite happy with it.
Touch interface was introduced in 2018 and has some great new enhancements in 2019. A Windows 10 operating system is required for any touch screen interaction inside of SOLIDWORKS. So, you can now gesture sketch slots, splines, and even dimensions.
Now when working on any Windows touch-enabled device you can use a Microsoft Surface dial to zoom, pin, and rotate your models. Whether you design complex shapes or simple mechanical parts SOLIDWORKS gesture sketching provides an innovative approach to capturing rapid fire design ideas. Now in SOLIDWORKS 2019, your hand sketched shapes can be automatically converted into splines and the resulting shape can be modified just like any other making it even easier to achieve any shape you desire.
It’s not just a tool for the industrial designer, gesture sketching provides a quick and easy way to create prismatic designs. So in addition to your lines, arcs, and circles, hand-drawn slot shapes are now recognized and converted into slot sketch entities enabling you to utilize this exciting new approach to model creation regardless of the geometry you’re using. You can also create dimensions with handwriting. All you have to do is select an entity or create an entity, type in your number and the dimension will be created.
Finally, SOLIDWORKS provides an intuitive-touch optimized environment that supports typical everyday design workflows. Using touch interaction, you can quickly and easily assemble parts using smart mates. You simply tap the desired phase of each part on the screen, and the component automatically snaps into position. As you work, SOLIDWORKS interprets your touch and intuitively switches between model behaviors based upon your suggestions.
Auto Shape Recognition
SOLIDWORKS 2019 offers a wealth of innovative new capabilities for capturing rapid-fire design ideas, whether you’re in the office or on the go. SOLIDWORKS has auto shape recognition for your hand-drawn entities. 2019 now supports splines. And as you can see in this nice graphic here, how much faster that is. Previously, you’d have to draw your sketch and then open your supplying tool and kind of hand trace over it. There’s no need for that anymore. You have a fully editable spline that gets automatically generated from your pen stroke.
3D markup is another new touch enhancement in SOLIDWORKS 2019, letting you easily communicate your design changes. There’s no more need for screenshots, and paint edits, and arrows, and printouts. However you’re doing it, you can keep all that collaboration inside the SOLIDWORKS file in your design environment. The trim tool has some new enhancements. The first one being the ability to keep your trimmed geometry as construction geometry. You check that checkbox and as you trim, anything that would normally be trimmed and deleted gets converted in construction geometry.
The next enhancement is the ability to ignore the trimming of the construction geometry. Then as you pass your slider over it, it does not get trimmed. Converting entities on the spline used to give you an unedited spline if you broke the reference, but now in 2019, it converts to a generic spline where you can use a control polygon to manipulate it as well. You can convert entities to get kind of a guide in the starting point and now you can fully manipulate it with spline handles instead of just reorienting the shape when that reference is broken.
UI and Sketching Enhancements
To summarize our UI and sketching enhancements, the recent document can hold up to 100 documents, there are the filters in there. You can measure at any stage of the game. Whether you’re inside a dimension tool, you know, property manager of a feature, you can measure. Uh, better reference management, you can get it from the feature tree cleaner reference interface. Some changes to the touch sketching and the sketch trim tool can generate construction geometry. So, that’s all new in 2019.
What I’m gonna talk about now is some bonus organization tips and touch on some features that you already have that you might not know about or might not utilize enough and can maybe find a new use for them. The first one being comments and folders, the next one being changing your feature tree display, tags and then finally sketch colors.
A great way to organize your components is, of course, using sub-assemblies. You can categorize things into groups, components in there. But sometimes you want a second way to organize your components, that doesn’t quite follow the same sub-assembly structure. And for a scenario like that, you can use folders. I’m just gonna zoom in here and make it a little bit bigger.
And if we look at the folders, we can see there’s some color coding. Opening up this one folder with the color coding, I can see that I have a suppressed component which is that gray color and then a hidden component which is no color at all. The folder will hide all of your components but also give you useful information about what exactly is going on within the component there. That’s just another way to organize your parts that are separate from the sub-assembly structures.
Lots of times when you’re working in your feature tree and you’re opening up all of these kinds of drop downs, you can get a nice long tree. And it’s either a pain to close everything that you’ve opened or to scroll all the way up to the top. So there’s a nice keyboard shortcut. So, if you hit shift and then C, it will collapse your entire feature tree and close everything, making it really easy to get back up to the top or close everything that you’ve opened.
Looking at my nomenclature on my feature tree, it’s busy, it’s hard to see what’s going on. The nomenclature is important and it all does mean something. I have my file name and then next to that I have my configuration and then my display state. But for this example, I only have one configuration and one display state for all the components. It ends up just saying default, default, default, default, default, all over my screen and it’s really busy. So, I want to get rid of that.
If we right click at the top level, and we go to our tree display, we have the ability to maybe not show configuration and display state names if only one exists. Or if I don’t need to see my configuration in display state names, I can just turn those off entirely cleaning up my tree. Then, it’s only showing me the profile. Now you can see I don’t need to pull my tree all the way over to see everything in there.
In my display, you can also show your comment indicators. And what that does is that pulls a nice handy collaboration tool right to the top of your UI. You can put a comment on a sketch, a feature, a component, an assembly, a folder, or pretty much wherever you want, a plane. And then if you’re collaborating, you can either leave notes for yourself in the future, “So, this is where I left off, this is where I was going with the design” or leaving a note for someone else.
We can see right here I have this nice little icon. It’s like a sticky note with one corner folded and that means there’s a note for this component. If I hover over it in my tooltip, I can see those comments. Ryan’s telling me, ‘There’s an angle during the takeoff, can we show this dimension in the assembly?” I don’t really know what he’s talking about, so let’s open up that comment.
I can edit my comment, and that will pull it up in the window. And look at that, there’s even a picture in here. There’s a nice little screenshot and I can see, the sketch has a dimension, and he wants me to show that. I can definitely do that. This is how I’m leaving that note. And that’s fine, Ryan likes it.
Let’s show this sketch and let’s get a better understanding of what’s going on. We just want to see that angle in there. So, there’s a couple of ways that I can display this angle. The first one is, if I right click on my annotations folder, I can show my feature dimensions. Now, there we go. That’s showing that 15-degree angle there, but it’s also showing every single other feature dimension I have.
The only dimension sketch I have at this assembly level is this one sketch. But if this were maybe in a part file, I would be displaying a whole bunch of dimensions and that would fairly overkill. That’s one way to do it but that’s not the way that I’m gonna do at this time. I’ll turn that off and I’m still in my assembly environment. I’m gonna switch over to my sketch tab, just grabbed my smart dimension tool and I’m gonna generate a reference dimension.
No MBD for me today. We’ll save that for the next webinar. But I’m just gonna make a reference dimension. So, I’ll grab my two lines, and there we go. I have my 15 degrees displayed on the screen at all times. And then of course, if I don’t want it, I can always go in there and hide it.
Down in the bottom right corner of your screen, there’s a nice little icon. And I’m going to zoom in on it, bring a lot of attention to it right here. And you’ve probably looked at it before, and you were like, “Huh, I wonder what that does,” and completely ignored it and moved away because that’s what I’ve done before until I figured out what it is. And what this is your tags. And what tags do is they will add a searchable tag to a plane sketch, feature, component, whatever you want it to be. So then you can filter your tree about those tags.
I’m gonna move on to my landing gear, and all of these are purchased components. I’m gonna add a tag to them and that tag is going to say purchased. If you noticed a little pop-up menu came up with my recent tag, so I don’t have to keep typing it in over and over, I only have to type it once. I’ll just add a purchase tag to those three components.
And then if I go to the filter on my feature tree, right on the top left, I can type in purchased and then lo and behold, everything that I have thrown that purchase tag on has been filtered in my tree. Really cool, another great way to organize all of your components. So you can put in whatever you want there and put it to pretty much anything to really help organize all of your designs.
The final little bonus tip that I’m going to show you guys is going to be with sketch colors. So, you can see on this sketch right now that I have a bunch of different colored sketches. I got a green one, a red one and then two gray ones. So, this can be helpful for maybe the contrast between your sketches and materials.
Change Color of Sketches
I can go in my feature tree and right click on the sketch and then in my options, I have sketch color. So I’ll click on that. I will change this sketch to black. Sometimes maybe you’re working with sheet metal and you’ve got a great part and your sketches get kind of lost. I can change the color my sketches or you can right click on the sketch in the graphics area and in that shortcut menu, you can also get your sketch color.
That is all in the part or assembly environment. You can also change each entity independently when you’re editing a sketch. I find that really helpful for collaboration. If I’m trying to tell somebody to make a change, it’s a lot easier for me to point to colors instead of lines. I can select this line right here and in my line formatting tools, I can come in and I can change this line color. I’ll change this one to pink.
Now, if I’m trying to collaborate with someone, I can say, “Okay, can you change the angle of the pink line to the horizon to be maybe 30 instead of 45?” instead of me having to say, “Okay, the diagonal construction line,” and just trying to describe it that way. Colors are just a nice way to draw attention to something or give it a name so you can reference it a lot easier. Again, you have to activate your line tools in order to change the color of entities inside of a sketch. When I leave that sketch, the color change will no longer be activated, it’ll go back to whatever my sketch color is.
Just to fully summarize everything we’ve gone through, comments are a great collaborative tool where you can include user signatures with the timestamp as well as screenshots. Folders are another way to organize your feature tree and they can include your component status like being hidden, suppressed or a combination of the two.
You can hide or display configurations and display state names to simplify your feature tree and shift C is the keyboard shortcut to collapse and expand -to collapse your expanded feature tree. You can add tags to components, sketches, and features making them searchable from your feature tree filter. And finally, sketch colors can be used to change the colors of the entire sketch or maybe some entities inside the sketch when you’re editing it. This is really useful for collaboration or clarity of your sketches.
A new mesh body type was introduced in 2018 which allows you to work with STL and other mesh file types. Some of the tools that work with mesh bodies are your Boolean operations, hollowing, offsetting, trimming, extending and splitting. And this was all introduced in 2018.
In 2019, a new slicing tool has been introduced to make converting from mesh to solid bodies significantly easier as well as an appearance to texture tool. The appearance to texture tool will take a 2D grayscale height map and it will convert it into a mesh body. That’s perfect for the emerging additive manufacturing industry ’cause you can even get complex geometry really quickly and then slap that into your printer.
I’m switching back to SOLIDWORKS, and whenever I switch applications, I get a little bit of a delay. So, we have this handle here, and it’s a fairly complex part so when I explode it, we can see it looks like it’s injection molded. There’s some ripping in there, some press foot, bushings, things like that. But the design team this time or the industrial designer, or R&D, whoever gave it to me, instead of giving me paper sketches, they scanned an old handle, an old legacy handle that we lost all the data for.
Mesh Body Tools
Usually, I’d take pictures of it best I can; top and front view and sort them as a sketch picture, and do some tracing. But we got a fancy new scanner so we’re using it, and I got this brought in as scanned data. I’m gonna show you guys how I work with the scanned data to convert it from a mesh file into SOLIDWORKS geometry, which used to be a really tedious, painful process. But with these new mesh bodies and the new mesh body tools, this has become significantly easier.
I’m gonna open up an STL file, which is going to be a mesh body. I’m looking at this and, yes, we can see it is made up of a whole bunch of graphics triangles. There is a bunch of little mesh components in there. I have some awesome tools. I can shell this out and work with it really nicely, but I want the full suite of SOLIDWORKS tool. I want to convert this into a solid body.
What I’m gonna do is I am going to use my slicing tool and I’m gonna take a series of parallel planes, and I’m going to generate some sketches where these planes intersect my component. Just like that, I’ve created a bunch of planes and when I zoom in, we can kind of roughly see some sketches. If I start clicking on sketches and planes, we can see them getting highlighted in the graphics area.
I wanna make a few changes to these because I’m going to loft and I wanna try and grab the best places here for my loft. I’m just gonna use my instant 3D and move some of these planes around. And automatically, those sketches are getting moved. So, let me hide the body and you can see what I’m rambling about a little clearer here.
Once that body’s hidden, you can see that I have a sketch where every single one of those planes intersected. And now that I have this, this is my perfect starting point to generate a loft. I can come in here and make myself a surface loft, and now I have a surface body, which I am very comfortable working with inside of SOLIDWORKS, which I can then stick in and finish off my design.
I’m gonna split it first. That’s step one, I got my left-hand side, my right-hand side. Of course, I could use this split tool with my mesh bodies. But like I said, there’s some functionality I want from my regular suite that mesh bodies don’t allow me to do. The first one being projected curves. I’m gonna put the logo on the top and I wanna project that logo into some curves.
Previously, our projected curve tool could only do one closed contour in one direction. Looking at this sketch that I have right now, it is multiple closed contours. But in 2019, we can now project multiple closed contours in multiple directions on multiple bodies. So previous to 2019, this would have taken me, four separate teachers but I can do this all in one fell swoop, which is really nice. Cutting down my design time significantly.
Delete Hole Feature
Back to our assembly. I’m not gonna finish that off. I have an imported part here and it’s a surface body, there are some holes in it. Now, you could always use the extended surface to close holes, but a lot of people didn’t know that. So, what SOLIDWORKS has done is added a delete hole feature all on its own. I can grab the delete hole feature and I can come in and grab some edges of these holes, and we can see SOLIDWORKS is extending the surface there to fill these in for me. And just like that my holes are filled, that makes life nice and easy for me.
Interference Detection Tool
Now, further examination of this design, I’m suspecting some interference and of course, my interference detection tool is the best way to test my intuition. And lo and behold, I have a little bit of interference in there. So, to remedy this, I’m just gonna add a chamfer to my handle body and it’s gonna be on this instance edge. I’m gonna add a chamfer and it’s gonna propagate nice and tangent all the way through.
And let me change the size here so we can actually see a preview. That’s looking good. But I don’t really want it to go all the way up to the top. That’s too much chamfer, it’s gonna get really thin on one of my ribs. I just need it where it’s interfering. So in 2019, we have the ability to now generate partial chamfers or partial fillets. And I can do a distance offset from my edges, I can do a percentage offset, or I can have a reference offset. So say, okay, start here and here. But my favorite way to do it is to just look in the graphics area and drag those orbs. I love me, my dragging.
Partial Chamfer Tool
So, just like that, I have closed that chamfer off just to the area that I needed to be. So right now, this is a symmetric chamfer. I can make it asymmetric if I want. And changing my parameters here. Maybe a one by two. And now that everyone’s caught up, we can see our preview is looking perfect. I’ll hit my checkmark, and there we go, I have a partial chamfer only at that interference area. Previously that would have been fairly tedious to do, but now I can do that with ease with the partial chamfer tool.
This handle piece has been giving me some trouble. There is a lot of different design changes that were thrown at me. If we go through the configurations, the first one is these rips. And looking at the number of features it took me to make these rips, it was fairly involved. They’re all different sizes, it was a whole bunch of features. And that was with my kinda standard modeling techniques.
The next design change is they wanted bumps on the handle. And then they’re like, “No, let’s go the other way. Let’s do dimples.” So, that’s a lot of modeling there for me. And finally, they want a neural pattern, they wanna see what that looks like.
I’m gonna use my 3D texture here to generate these which is a lot easier than modeling them. To start that off, I need to add myself an appearance. And I have this nice grayscale height map that I can drag and drop right onto my design. I want it on the face. And changing my mapping options because that’s too big, I need it smaller. So, let’s project it. Where is that plane? That’s looking better. Change the size, let’s make these guys a little bit smaller. And there we go. This is looking more like a neural pattern.
Right now, this is just an appearance. I’ve just kind of blew this pattern upon that face. Kind of like a sticker is the best way to imagine it. But now, I can go to the body and I can activate the 3D texture. What that’s gonna do is that’s gonna take everything that is black and push it into the model, everything that was white and pull it out of the model and give me a nice gradient of grayscale in between.
I can set my offset distance. So, how far out is it gonna go? I’ll set that. So far, so good but it’s looking really course. You can see I have very big tessellations, elements, mesh, whatever you wanna call it. They’re large, I need them to be a bit smaller. Let’s bring down my element size. I’ll drop that 2.3. And we can see, there we go, I’m getting a much nicer neural pattern here.
Let’s zoom in, let’s really evaluate this shape. As I zoom in and look through one of the trenches, we can see it’s fairly smooth, but I have a couple bumpy parts. Depending on my manufacturing process, this resolution might be good enough, might not be good enough. You can always come in, tinker with your element size until you get this looking the exact way that you want.
But I’m happy with this. We’re still in the prototyping stage. I’ll print this out, let them feel it and see which handle they like better. So, that one feature is significantly easier to do than all of those other features with your standard modeling practices.
I have a weldment part, and I’ll take a breather while I wait for the bandwidth to catch up. There we go, we can all see my weldment part. And a common issue when you’re working with weldment is the overlapping geometry of your structural members and then forgetting to actually trim them down. So previously, to do interference detection on your weldments, you’d either have to save your part as an assembly and run it that way or use your Boolean operations to try and combine bodies or see where there’s overlapping. But that’s tedious.
In 2019, we can now run an interference detection at the part level. I’m inside of a part file, and I can run my interference detection on this entire part and it works just like it would with the assembly. I can see here I forgot to trim three separate locations. I can do it all in one environment, no more saving as an assembly and then maybe saving that assembly and forgetting where you’re working. None of that, all inside the part environment.
Center of Mass Feature
This frame here has to get hoisted all the way atop my microscope. A common question that I get from people is, “Dayne, how do I find the center of mass of my part?” And this is nothing new in SOLIDWORKS. This is a really old feature, there’s a magic button for that. There’s a literal center of mass feature. I can click my center of mass feature, and now I have my center of mass displayed on my screen. I can click on this center of mass, I can measure to it, I can reference it, I can dimension to it, I have a lot of ways to work with it. So not only can I visually see it on my screen, but I can also interact with it.
When you take your mass properties, there is always the coordinate of your center of mass as well, which you can see now highlighted in the blue. So, this is right now based upon the origin of my part file, but you can always define your own coordinate system and get the distance of the center of mass from wherever your coordinate system is.
We’re now gonna summarize lots of those part modeling enhancements from 2019. We have our partial fillets and chamfers, the delete hole tool from your surfaces. You can now project multiple closed contours in multiple directions upon multiple bodies with the projected curve tool. And in 2019, multi-body interference detection in the parts. And then the nice little bonus tip of the center of mass feature.
The tab and slot feature were introduced in 2018. And it’s a single feature that creates an associate of tab and slot. It will add material to one body and remove material from another. It works in the part and assembly environment, giving you self-fixed turning parts, letting you avoid the joy of clamping and measuring. If you’re curious about this tool, check out our YouTube channel for demonstrations on it. I’m gonna talk about all the enhancements to the tool in 2019 that were brought on by user requests.
The first new enhancement is the ability to have unequal offsets. So in 2018, your offset would always be the same in every direction. Now, you can have a different vertical and horizontal offset.
In SOLIDWORKS 2018, you could only do the sharp corner, but that’s hard to program on your cutting machines. They don’t like to stop and make that hard right angle turn. Now with the click of a button, you can fill at the corner, you can chamfer the corner, and you can add a circular corner to get the nice kind of dog-bone shape there. Just making a lot easier for your tooling or your CNC machine paths nice and simple.
You can now do a through all or not through all cut for your blind tabs. If you still want material for where your slot is at the bottom and it to not go all the way through, you have that option now. Maybe you’re machining it away instead of cutting it. And finally, you can group. You can link your groups together. You’ve always had the ability to do groups, but now you can link them together. A change in one will make a change to all of them.
Finally, to finish off this section, I’m gonna talk about a new workflow for creating weldment structures. It’s not replacing your weldment tools, nothing like that. It’s just a complimentary way to create weldments. And the power in it comes that you don’t need to make 2D or 3D sketches, and you can have different profiles in a single feature. I’m gonna go through it with you here and talk about the pros and cons as we go along.
Looking at my screen now you can see I have two surface bodies, and they’re generating some edges. I don’t have any sketches, there’s no trickery or magic going on and I’m gonna use the structural system tool. When you click on structural systems, it brings you into a new environment. We see the all familiar confirmation corner in the top right and I’m in my structural systems environment.
Once I do that, I have the ability to create primary members and secondary members. Primary members are your primary support. And then the secondary members are run between your primary members or associated with your primary members and will get trimmed to your primary members. The primary members usually ground the whole component and then your secondary members run between the primary members.
We’re gonna start some primary members. That’s what you have to do first, and there are different ways to generate it. You can do maybe a point to point, so you can click on vortexes and it’ll run a member between those vortexes, you can go in intersections of planes, things like that. But we’re gonna grab everywhere we have an edge. With these surface bodies, I have a bunch of edges and if I look down, I got 36 edges to be exact, and I can generate a member about every single one of these edges.
It uses the same library as your weldments, so if you’ve already generated a nice customed weldment library, you don’t have to make a new one for your structural members. They’re all in there. I’m gonna start off at some square tubing 10x10x10 and we can see the preview getting generated for me. Of course, I can change the pierce point of where my profile’s intersecting those edges, the alignments of the profile, the angle, just like you’d expect from a weldment feature.
I can select some of these members and I can change the profile. I grabbed all of the vertical members with a nice box select, and I’m gonna come in here and I’m gonna change the profile and I want this not to be square, but I’m gonna go add some ground tubing. Not only am I changing the size, but I’m changing the shape. All of those are going to be round tubing.
I can also use sketches as my primary member. Showing this sketch right here, I could do a point to point primarily if I had some points there or something I can click on, but this sketch was a nice easy way to define that. I’m gonna come in, box select my sketch and I’ll change this profile here just to some smaller tubing, it doesn’t have to be as big.
Now, I’m gonna make myself some secondary members, and the secondary members run between the primary members, and what I’m gonna do is I’m going to tell them to go along some planes. I’m gonna go along my top plane as well as my plane 3, which is above the top plane. And now, all I have to do is I click on my primary members and a secondary member will get generated between it.
So, my first two, I’d click on them and you can see at each plane I am getting a secondary member generated. With just a few clicks, and I’ve created a lot of members without any sketching and they are fully associated with their primary member. If I change the location of the primary member, the secondary member will move and if I change the size of the primary member, the coping and the trimming of the secondary member will also update.
Just like that, I have created a fairly complex component with minimal sketching. So, if I go in and interrogate it, right now I have no corner treatments happening. They’re all kind of left blank. Of course, where I have my secondary members, you can see they’re getting copied to the primary member. So, these little bars across the side, they are getting copied to my primary member and that’s okay, that’s what I want to happen.
I’m done adding my members and as soon as I leave my structural systems tool, it brings me into the corner treatment options. I have two simple corners, and what a simple corner is two entities meet. I can zoom in, and let’s look at this. Right now I have a planer cut. That doesn’t really make any sense. Let’s change that to a body trim so it will be copied. And I have applied that to both of my simple corners. If I wanted them to be different, however, I could select them and manipulate them independently.
Now onto my complex corners. So, that is any corner with three or more entities. And we can see I have 41 of these corners. That’s a lot of corner treatments I need to apply. And unfortunately, I have to manipulate them one at a time. There’s no way to do it on mass or in bulk or anything like that, it’s all individual, just one at a time. So, I’m gonna come in and I’m just gonna select the corner from the graphics area and I will show you how the corner treatment tool works. It is pretty cool, pretty powerful.
I have three members. One, two, three, the one that I click on will change purple. So, they have a trim order just like your corner management does in your weldments. This round pole, right now they’re all the same trim orders, so they’re getting a crazy three-way miter. So, let’s pull down miter trim order. And now we can see the round pole is getting trimmed to square poles, but it’s being copied right now. I want it to have a planer cut. What I can do is I can move it down to the planer trim area and then it will be trimmed planer.
If I look at the corner treatment of my secondary members we can see that the primary member is used as a trim tool and the secondary members are trimmed to the primary member. So, that happens by default, that’s really nice. But to finish off this design, I would have to go in here and manually adjust every single one of these corners. It’s nice because I have all the corners listed for me in my property managers. If I go through that list sequentially, I’m definitely not going to miss one but taking advantage of symmetry I would definitely cut my workload in half if not more if I can find really good symmetry.
So, again, that’s not to replace your weldments, it’s just a nice alternate workflow if you think you might like that better. I’m running out of time, so just to summarize here. For our part modeling we have our slicing and the 3D texture tool, those nice organization tips, partial chamfers and fillets, the tab and slot enhancement, multibody interference checks, and the new structural systems tool.
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