The Weldment functionality received some significant upgrades in SolidWorks 2009. The general result of these enhancements will be less time spent by the user generating Structural Members and less time needed to trim/extend components.
The first change we will take a look at is the ability to create multiple Groups within a single Structural Member. In previous versions of SolidWorks a Structural Member was limited to either a series of continuous sketch entities, or a group of sketch entities that were parallel. Basically those requirements have now been applied to hold true for a Group in SolidWorks 2009. You cannot mix continuous and parallel entity types in a single Group but you can create them as separate Groups within the same Structural Member. The major benefit of utilizing Groups are that all structural members within the feature (across multiple Groups) are automatically trimmed to one another. This results in LESS Structural Member features and also LESS Trim/Extend features. All Groups within a Structural Member feature must use the same Weldment Profile. You can rotate the Weldment profile and change the pierce point independently in each group. The image below shows a single Structural Member feature with three Groups. In previous versions this structure would have required at least 2 Structural Member features and several trim operations.
Another new feature inside Structural Members is the ability to create weld gaps and apply them to an entire Group or a specific corner. When applying weld gaps to a Group you can apply the gaps to connected members within the same Group and/or apply gaps between different Group segments. The next image shows applying a weld gap to an entire Group.
The next image shows how you can apply a corner specific weld gap.
Also new in SolidWorks 2009 is the ability to add “Inward” End Caps. When you add the End Cap using the End Cap feature with the Inward option selected, SolidWorks automatically trims back the Structural Member so that the End Cap’s outer face resides at the same plane that the Structural Member did prior to the End Cap feature. Also new with End Caps is the ability to select multiple faces within a single End Cap feature. The image below shows an End Cap feature during creation.
The Gusset tool now allows you to create an internal chamfer. This enhancement is shown in the image below.
Click on the image below to view a video demonstration showing the features outlined above.
The Weldment Trim/Extend Tool has seen some enhancements as well in SolidWorks 2009. This tool will now split structural members when they cross. You can also extend members much easier and now have the choice to keep or discard members effected by the splits. You also have the ability to add weld gaps as part of the Trim/Extend process. Below is an image showing some of the new options in the Trim/Extend feature.
Click on the image below to see a video demonstration of the new Weldment Trim/Extend tool in SolidWorks 2009.
Stay tuned….more to come!