Designing for Today: 3D Structure Creator

By Sawyer Gara on

One of the best parts of the SOLIDWORKS Cloud offer is that it allows me to take all the tools I know and love from desktop SOLIDWORKS and puts them on the 3DExperience Platform. Not only does this help me stay connected to my team and keep them updated on my tasks but it also allows me to let the creative juices flow and create designs from anywhere I can access an internet browser. No matter where I am, I’ll be able to stay informed on the design process and make sure my work stays current with the rest of my team.


This Article Covers:

  • Opening a file directly from a task
  • Creating Structural Members
  • Trimming Structural Members
  • Adding Additional Members
  • Generating and Exporting Cut List
  • Video of this entire process

Opening a file directly from a task

Whenever I’m working remotely away from my colleagues, I find it harder to stay on top of my tasks for the day. Even when I write notes down for my daily tasks I often go “I wonder what this note means” or “finish what model?”.

3dexperience note


But, by using Collaborative Tasks on the 3DExperience Platform I’m able to see all my tasks in one place and even see the exact file I’m meant to be working on. Talk about a time saver!

collaborative tasks

Creating Structural Members

Once I have my sketches laid out, finishing my model is a breeze. Similar to SOLIDWORKS Weldments all I need to do is use my Structural Member command to get the job done. I have a few options when it comes to creating structural members including using sketch lines, reference planes and even just between two existing structural members.

Structural Member command

After selecting which selection method I want, all that’s left is to pick my references and the member profile I want to use. There is a list of standard profiles, but we can also create our own custom profiles to use for our structural members. The xFrame app will show a preview of the structural members so you can double check they are the right size and in the right location before we accept the command.

Structural member command

Trimming Structural Members

Sometimes when generating members on the 3DExperience Platform, the trim order for corners doesn’t always line up with what we want in our finished product. With normal extrusions like we might see in xDesign or desktop SOLIDWORKS, it can be cumbersome to find the exact size of the cut and the right depth, so our model doesn’t intersect with itself. Using SOLIDWORKS Cloud, we can make use of xFrame’s Trim Member command to easily reshape our model.

Trim structural command to reshape model

With the Trim Members command, we are able to select individual members to trim or do the entire structure system in one go. These options allow me to save time by setting a default trim but come back later and specify individual corner treatments. The command separates our corners into 3 different sections (1 Member, 2 Member, and 3 Member) so we can apply corner treatment to each!


Applying the right corner treatment and trim sets us on the path to success and leaves us with a good-looking model.

using trim member command to clean up model


Adding Additional Members

Sometimes when designing a model with structural members, we need to put additional extrusions in a location where we don’t already have a sketch created or in a place where we want to be able to locate the extrusion more freely. Like discussed earlier, the structural member creation is not locked down to just using sketch lines. We have a handful of different options to create our members including selecting existing members and providing offset values. The workflow is almost identical as the members we created earlier except we can more freely locate the profile with offset values or a reference plane.

between members in 3D structure creator

Generating and Exporting a Cut List

Typically, the last step in a design process is to generate documentation so the manufacturing floor knows exactly what to cut in order to create a physical version of our digital model. With models created using structural members, we have a great tool to get that done: the cut list! The tools on SOLIDWORKS Cloud allow us to generate a cut list but directly reading the model. This means it will take the structural system we created, break it into its individual members, and give us a table with shape, length, and quantity for each member. With this generated we can either save it to our 3DDrive to share or download it locally. The cut list provides great manufacturing information to ensure the part gets built correctly.

cut list properties in 3D Structure Creator

Want to know the differences between SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS? This on-demand webinar covers the key differences in each version’s ecosystem and how they benefit your team. The time may be just right for switching to cloud connectivity and taking advantage of these cloud-based tools!