Structure systems seem to be among the main focuses for SOLIDWORKS 2022. There are a variety of improvements and new features dealing with corner treatments, connection elements for nonwelded parts, and more—all to help you create intricate frames efficiently and accurately. I just want to focus on two enhancements in particular here: support for end caps and additional options for building secondary members.
End caps can be applied to structure system bodies in SOLIDWORKS 2022. If you are running a recent service pack of SOLIDWORKS 2021, you may have already seen this functionality, as it was actually introduced in SP2 of this past year’s edition. In previous builds, the End Cap command was greyed out unless a Structural Member feature existed in the model. Now, when you create a structure system, you’ll be able to add end caps to any tubular members just like you would with a weldment model.
To apply an end cap, just select the face you’re trying to cover. From there, you can specify its location, its size, and whether any sharp corners should be removed. Adding these features can help protect tubes in your frame from getting clogged up with dust and other debris.
Secondary members are defined based on existing members in the structure system. They are meant to provide support to these members and improve the strength of the overall design.
Historically, there have been two ways to define a secondary member: Support Plane Member, in which the secondary member connects two components along a chosen plane or planar face; and Between Points Member, in which the secondary member connects two components at specific locations along their lengths. SOLIDWORKS 2022 presents a third way to define secondary members with the new Up to Members option.
An Up to Members body connects a sketch point and a structure system member. There are two different options available within this category. If you want to just construct a single member from a particular point, use the Point-Member pair and select the point along with the existing member to which it should be connected. If you want to instead generate several bodies stemming from the same point, the From Point option lets you pick multiple members and joins each of them with that sketch point. With either method, following your selections you will then be able to define the location where the new secondary members hit the chosen bodies, similar to what you would do for a Between Points Member.
The image below shows two instances of the Point-Member pair, in which the lower endpoints of the vertical members are connected to the inclined beams halfway along their length (i.e., at a Length Ratio of 0.5).
In this next image, the From Point method is used to connect the point in the upper-left corner to the bottom of three vertical beams, resulting in three new members.
Along with the new member type, the Between Points Member definition has been improved this year to quicken the creation of secondary members. With two bodies selected, you can create multiple members between them at different distances from their endpoints, using new “+” and “X” buttons in the PropertyManager to add or remove pairs. This way, components that need cross bracing or multiple layers of supports can be taken care of in a single feature.
If you create complex frames and just aren’t getting the results you need in the weldments environment, try out structure systems this year. The support for end caps gives structure systems the same major capabilities as weldments, but the method of defining primary and secondary members makes structure systems far more efficient for larger projects, especially after the additions made to secondary members this year. Like I said before, the structure system environment has undergone some pretty meaningful changes this year beyond the ones mentioned here, so be on the lookout for more information on those other enhancements from us in the coming days.
I hope this part of the What’s New series gives you a better understanding of the new features and functions of SOLIDWORKS 2022. Please check back to the CATI Blog as the CATI Application Engineers will continue to break down many of the new items in SOLIDWORKS 2022. All these articles will be stored in the category of “SOLIDWORKS What’s New.”
Computer Aided Technology
What is Design Innovation Month?
DESIGN INNOVATION MONTH 2021 – Webinars, Virtual Showroom, Contests
Design Innovation Month is CATI’s massive “What’s New in 2022” event for SOLIDWORKS, 3DEXPERIENCE, and 3D printing & 3D scanning technology. That’s six weeks of live and on-demand webinars, demonstrations, in-depth blog posts, and prizes! Best of all, it’s free of charge! Check the DI Month Hub for all the details and to sign up for your next event.