If you are using SOLIDWORKS 2019 or newer, you may have noticed a tab on the command manager called “Structure Systems”. You may also have noticed that this command ribbon has very few tools on it. What is it?
Think weldments, but supercharged. Structure systems allows designers to create frame structures like scaffolding, support equipment, frames, a deck for your house. The list goes on. It allows designers to create these structures in a more concise workflow rather than using a series of weldments and trim tools resulting in a long feature tree.
Structure systems have several benefits. Some of the benefits include having better performance than regular weldments and being able to utilize sketches, planes and surfaces. Structure Systems also has a powerful trim function. In the image below, you can see the sketch layout of a staircase. Also in this setup are two surfaces and a series of planes that was used to create the locations of the runners (planes hidden for clarity).
Just Like Weldments, Structure Systems uses weldment profiles. But unlike Weldments, you can easily create multiple groups using multiple profiles without having to create new features.
My favorite part, and the biggest reason I utilize Structure Systems, is the powerful trim tool. Once all the members are placed, you can easily trim the members accordingly and Structure Systems will automatically categorize the various intersections. You can see in the image below how you can trim multiple members that meet at a complex intersection.
This allows you, the user, to utilize different trim techniques for each intersection without the need to create multiple trim features like you would in Weldments. In Structure Systems, this is simply called “corner management”.
Check out the video below where the Structure System tool is used to create a large support structure for a massive telescope.
Watch this video below to review some additional capabilities of Structure System and look at several of the enhancements for SOLIDWORKS 2020.
As you can see, the Structure System tool offers a simplified automated process by utilizing points, lines and planes for structure creation and may even improve your workflow. I hope this overview encourages you to give it a try.