Weldments and Sheet metal

Is it normal for users to place these two types of bodies together?

I am old school and think that weldments and Sheet metal should be their own part files and placed together into an assembly. At my new job, I am dealing with a user that insists on putting SM and weldments into the same part file. It bothers me and when I have to work on his files it drives me nuts contending with the combination. I am curious if there are others that are doing this and how they are dealing with it?


Dunno, Scott. I can’t do both types of solid models in one part (using Inventor), unless I directly model the welds. It’s usually easier to draw the sheet metal and weldment/assembly as separate files, which I think is also the convention that SW uses (haven’t used SW since 2005 or so). Is your user directly modelling the sheet metal and the welds as a single part file? Sounds like he needs some training.

What I have done with some simpler sheet metal assembly/weldments at the drawing level (we usually publish our drawings as pdf files) is to show the assembly at sheet one, and then put the sheet metal pieces(s) (either flat or folded) on separate drawing sheets, this is just to make things easier for the shop. Problem then is, a lot of shops want the 3d files and/or flat patterns, which have to still be created and filed in the drawings folder for purchasing to grab and send out for quotes, etc.

Best thing is to get your engineers together with shop and purchasing people to figure out what everybody wants, and how best to accomodate, and create some internal standards for y’all to follow. Simple, really, just like herding cats…LOL.

Isn’t there a welding add-on for Inventor? I remember doing welds and having a toolbar of weld features.

IIRC, Inventor allowed me to use these tools on parts or assemblies. So the feature was agnostic to the nature of the file. This will not give a designer a steer toward a “correct” method, if there is one.

Be mindful of the philosophy that says anything permanently attached to another thing is a single individual part. A designer who sees it this way will be happy to put the weld on the part file. This implies that the worker who cuts the sheet metal part is the SAME person that welds it to the other part.

Someone else who fabricates in a different way (mine) will insist on the individuality of parts during their (temporary) life before being welded to another. This implies that the sheet metal part is made by one person or in one locarion, then (later) is welded to the other part by a different person, possibly in another location.

Method A works in small job shops but requires labour with diverse skills, and cannot scale up. Method B works when you sub the work to specialty shops but requires more QC handling.

The shop labour side of what I am saying is implied, not required. Smart people can figure it out in either case. But if you are having QC issues with the parts, it could be designers using one system and the shop(s) using the other system. Then, low skill at one weak link will break the chain.


I like SolidWorks’ weldment feature very much, and I try to make it work. If I am designing a welded space frame with sheet metal bits welded to it, I will stick everything in the one weldment model. All the pieces will show up in the cut list.

The weldment feature is powerful for working on non-welded frames like 2Ă—4s, or those extrusion kits.

I have never, or at least not recently attached an elaborate, bent sheet metal part to a welded tube frame. I can always create a configuration with just the bent sheet metal part, allowing me to flatten it.

If I am designing a welded sheet metal assembly, I would generate an assembly model with attached sheet metal parts. I probably would need to make the SolidWorks BOM look like a cut list.


I fired Inventor up as I wrote my reply…and no, it won’t do weldment modeling in part mode (I’m running the 2016 version). I think it might have in prior versions?

It has been more than 3 years since I touched Inventor. I do not know how it may have changed since, but it surely has!

I was using INV2018 at the time…

…weldments may have been an “extra”, or a temporary freebie from our re-seller.

Dunno, Spar. Autodesk stopped allowing stand-alone software installs in 2017 or so, so we decided to fix our revision at 2016, and stop paying for yearly subscription updates. Seems to have worked ok for us. Our output is paper drawings, and CAD models in neutral formats as “reference only”.

So, they may have changed things around again with the welding and sheet metal add-ins over the last few years. This was actually one of our frustrations - they would change things so that older models wouldn’t work with the new versions, and it’s “fixed” for us by having standalone versions.

I guess if we ever have to provide CAD models in native format to our customers, we might revisit the decision.

Hang on…
Elephant in the room.

Do you even bother to model welds?

Aren’t we all wise enough to know that the weld detail has to be correct on the drawing in order to be done, whether it is modeled or not?

Since leaving the special Inventor tools behind I have had no problem detailing welds on drawings because all I really need is Machinery’s Handbook, my brain, and a leader line.

Thought this was a Solidworks Forum, not Inventor :grinning:

I just wanted to see if there were other users in Solidworks blending the two bodies together. I will be changing this process here. At one point SW would not allow Sheet metal Weldments to be blended into a single part, but that has since changed and it is not how to real world works. I can add welds at the assembly level if I want to, but I find it a waste of time, because like @SparWeb said “all I really need is Machinery’s Handbook, my brain, and a leader line” its that simple.

Per the poster in the beginning, yes my colleague needs training, but he is introverted and won’t go nor does he think he needs training… but just this week he didn’t know that he could select within the sketch feature the flyout and can select more than one type rectangle. he would just always use the center rectangle… which blew me away.

Most people here would say get rid of him and replace him. That could happen, but finding someone in the rural area that I work in is near impossible. So he stays and if he did go I would be so overwhelmed I would no longer enjoy the job myself. So it’s part of my job to whip him into shape… if he will let me.

Elephant in the room.

Do you even bother to model welds?

I see welds modeled more and more frequently.

Because then you can include them in the FEA stress analysis and allow stress analysts with limited understanding of welding to report that “it’s good”.


Oh just shoot them now; don’t let them think they can get a result from that!


I can use FEA without modeling the welds, I can make two parts as being bonded which means their welded in Simulations eyes.

Exactly my point.

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Meh, I model the welds occasionally when it’s a skip/interrupted weld and I want a particular placement keyed to other features, it’s easier to detail that with a modeled bead. Or if the bead may create an interference with other parts, and I just want a quick visual check. Or just to make it look purty for marketing. Or because I’m bored and want to fart around. FEA simulations? I have to go 3rd party (or use the Mk 1 Organic solver) for that these days, and usually end up making substructure models to stay within size constraints.