SOLIDWORKS Weldment Interference Detection

Article by Jim Peltier, CSWE updated August 9, 2013


If you’ve ever made a weldment in SOLIDWORKS , then you know how easy it is to create a multibody part without really having to think about it all too much. I mean, SOLIDWORKS automatically recognizes the cut lengths for structural members and makes a cut list for you. It even recognizes when parts are the same and groups them together. But, like everything in life, it’s not completely foolproof. I can still make a classic mistake with weldments. Behold:

Do you see the problem? I'll give you a hint: This has 5 bodies.

Do you see the problem? I’ll give you a hint: This has 5 bodies.

If you notice the image above, there is an interference between two structural members. On this example, the interference is obvious, but on your more complex weldment it may not be. When the shop floor goes to make this and only looks at the cut list, they will cut the material only to learn later of the interference. This will not win you any friends on the shop floor.

No Interference Detection tool in parts?!

Of course, if SOLIDWORKS had an Interference Detection at the part level, this wouldn’t have happened, right? I’ve submitted an Enhancement Request for this, but I need to check for interference right now. So what can I do? Finding interference manually would be like looking for an unknown number of needles in a haystack.

Luckily, I already have a tool that makes this kind of search possible: Interference Detection; but it’s only available in assembly mode. After I drop my weldment into an assembly, I run Interference Detection on it, and I notice an option I’d not noticed before:

SOLIDWORKS Weldment Interference Detection

Include Multibody Part Interferences

The option was a checkbox for “Include multibody part interferences” which I selected and clicked Calculate. Voila! Now my interference is clearly highlighted for all to see only me to see, as I’m going to perform a quick Trim/Extend on my weldment body and the shop floor will never know that there was ever an interference, saving the company some costly rework and saving my reputation in the process.

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Jim Peltier, CSWE

Jim has been using SolidWorks since 2001, and has spent most of that time working in the design of industrial automated manufacturing equipment. He has been working as an Applications Expert at Javelin Technologies in Oakville, Ontario since July 2012 and is a Certified SolidWorks Expert (CSWE).