Learn how to use weldment command in solidworks and how to add custom profiles to its library.


how to create custom weldment profiles in solidworks.

Hamed Ashrafi
Hamed Ashrafi

Overview Link to this section

SolidWORKS weldment is a powerful tool for structural design. combined with other features, it provides flexibility and ease of use to the designer. Its simplicity makes it easy to customize and understand. The core idea is that cross sections will extrude along a wire frame to create a 3d model of the structure. Designers create multi-body parts by using library profiles. Solidworks has a set of libraries for standard structural sections. But designers can add their own sets to the library as well. In this SolidWORKS tutorial we will lean how to use SolidWORKS weldment profiles.

Benefits of Using Weldments Command Link to this section

Weldment creates a multi-body part that is useful in drawing documents. But, the benefits don’t stop there.

Activate Weldment Tab Link to this section

To add the weldment tab to your SolidWORKS graphics area follow these steps.

  1. Press Ctrl + N and in the window that appears select Part and then Ok.
  2. Then Right-click on the part name on top of the window and then press Tabs followed by Weldments (make sure weldments is checked)

picture of show weldment tab in solidworks At this stage all the commands in Weldment tab are grayed out. This is because you need to create a wire-frame. But first things first, let’s see how we can define and import a cross-section.

Wire-frames in SolidWORKS are simple 2D or 3D sketches that act as the skeleton of the structure. As the name suggests the purpose of this sketch is to provide a path to extrude weldment profiles along. It could be a straight line or a curve in which case the final beam would be curved as well.

Adding Weldment Cross Sections (Profiles) to SOLIDWORKS Link to this section

In this section I will explain how to use solidworks standard libraries and how to introduce new profiles to the software.

What Are Cross Section Files? Link to this section

Cross section profiles are sketches saved as .SLDLFP files. You can use them in the Weldment command. They should have these properties:

  1. File extension should be .SLDLFP
  2. Should be closed sketches with at least one contour.
  3. Stored in weldment profile folder.

Where Is the Weldment Profile Folder? Link to this section

To find the folder to save weldment profiles into follow these steps:

  1. Next to SolidWORKS logo select Tools.
  2. Select Options from drop down menu. picture of solidworks-show-options-windows
  3. In the window that appears select the System Options tab.
  4. From the list on the left select the File Locations.
  5. From the Show Folder For drop down on the top of the window select Weldment Profiles. picture of solidworks-show-folder-for-weldment-profiles

This is the folder you should copy the weldment profiles into. Folder structure is important.

Folder Structure of Weldment Profile Folder Link to this section

The Weldment command has three drop down menus.

  1. Standard
  2. Type
  3. Size

These are mapped to the content in the Weldment Profile Folder. As shown below.

picture of weldments-solidworks-folders The preceding image shows how drop downs in the weldment command are mapped to the files and sub-folders in the Weldment Profile Folder.

How to Download a Standard Library of Weldments Profiles for SolidWORKS Link to this section

Solidworks has a library of standard structural sections. But this library does not ship with the software itself. Users should download this library using the steps below.

  1. Make sure Task Pane is accessible. From the top, right-click on a tab > Toolbars > Task pane. picture of solidworks-show-task-pane-tab
  2. Click on Design library icon in task pane > expand Solidworks Content > weldments picture of download-new-weldment-library
  3. To download a library, hold down Ctrl and click on the library you need.
  4. Save the zip files on your desktop.

Once downloaded, extract the content into the Weldment Profile . For example I have downloaded the Unistrut library and extracted the .rar file into the WELDMENT PROFILES and this is the folder structure:

πŸ“---Unistrut                <-- Name of the (Standard)
    πŸ“---Aluminum            <-- Member Family (Type)
    |       40x40.SLDLFP     <--Cross section files (Size)
    |       P7001.SLDLFP    
    |       F1000.SLDLFP
    |       F1001.SLDLFP
    πŸ“---Steel 114
    |       A1000.SLDLFP
    |       A1001.SLDLFP
    πŸ“---Steel 1316
    |       P6000.SLDLFP
    |       P6001.SLDLFP
    πŸ“---Steel 158
            P1001 3.SLDLFP

How to Create a Custom Weldment Profile Link to this section

Although SolidWORKS has a library of standard profiles you might need to create a separate library for your company

  1. Open SolidWORKS as administrator picture of solidworks-run-admin

    You must open solidworks as admin to create a custom weldment.

  2. Create a new Part Document. picture of solidworks-create-new-part
  3. Create a new 2d Sketch. picture of solidworks-new-sketch
  4. Draw the cross section of the profile. Keep in mind that the origin of sketch is the default insertion point for the profile. You can use all the sketch points in the profile to locate the profile along the structure skeleton. picture of weldments-solidworks-locate-profiles
  5. add a custom property to the file titled Description. picture of weldments-insert-description

    Solidworks inserts the Description property value into the weldment cut lists.

    picture of weldments-solidworks-effect-of-description
  6. Select and highlight the sketch in design tree.

    You must highlight the sketch in the design tree before saving the file with .SLDLFP extension. Otherwise ,when inserting the profile, you will get an error that the library feature is empty.

  7. Save the file as lib feat part .SLDLFP in the weldment profile folder.

This youtube video explains the steps in this section. You might find it helpful.

Creating Wire-Frame as Skeletons Link to this section

As discussed earlier, weldments profiles are closed sketches that get extruded along another sketch. The latter is a skeleton or wire frame. You need to create the skeleton using 2d or 3d sketches. In this tutorial we will use 3d sketch as it offers better control over the final design result.

  1. Press Ctrl + N and in the window that appears select a part document
  2. Go to Sketch tab and expand sketch command and select 3D sketch picture of solidworks-how-to-create-3d-sketch
  3. Use hot-key L to draw a line.
  4. Pay attention to the plane of this sketch as it appears next to the pointer. picture of solidworks-switch-3d-planes
  5. To change the plane in 3D sketches rotate the model a bit and then use Tab key
  6. Keep in mind that you can always use Along x, y and z constraint to further define your sketches picture of solidworks-apply-3d-sketch-constraints

If you want to learn more about 3d sketches you can watch this video.

How to Use Weldment Command Link to this section

  1. make sure you have activated the weldment tab as discussed above

  2. make sure you have a skeleton of your design following the steps mentioned above. picture of weldment-skleton

  3. in the weldment tab click on the Structural Member command picture of select-weldment-command

  4. in the property manager tab that appears on the left select the type of the profile you want. Keep in mind that you cannot choose more than one profile per “Structural Member” command. For example, if you need both I-beams and PFC in the same file then you should run this command once for each type.

  5. Choose the standard, then the type of the profile (for example I-beam or pfc) and then the size of that profile.

  6. Next you should define the groups. “Groups” in SolidWORKS weldment are lines that have at least one shared point. For example, a rectangle is a group of four segments. but parallel lines cannot be members of the same group. so, you need to create a new group for each line. picture of weldment-command-sequence

  7. Each group has segments (members) that you select from the graphics area.

  8. Once you define first group you will get access to more commands inside the property manager.

picture of weldments-solidworks-how-to-make There are some commands in the property manager that you can use to further edit your design. Below are some of these commands.

Apply Corner Treatment Link to this section

This checkbox allows you to cut the ends of each beam. You can define weldment gaps or Allow protrusion. The trim order defines which group of profiles are the dominant ones. picture of weldments-apply-corner-treatment

Mirror Profile Link to this section

This command mirrors the profile either horizontally or vertically.

Rotation Angle Link to this section

Allows you to rotate the profile along the line in that specific group. picture of weldments-solidworks-how-to-rotate-profiles

Conclusion Link to this section

We discussed how you can create a weldment profile and how you should use it in SolidWORKS. We cover all the important features and tips and tricks related to weldments in solidwroks. However, there is always more to learn. You can use links below to learn more about SolidWORKS weldment profiles and how to use them.

Frequently Asked Question Link to this section

Also Read Link to this section

Making a sheet for each body in a weldment drawing I