While many products when rendered are best shown without the weld beads to show the “smooth” finished product there are times when a visible weld bead is much more realistic. With piping, structural, and some automotive components the weld bead is clearly visible on the final product so the render is more realistic with a properly rendered weld bead. There are many methods depending on the type of weld being done but this is a simple method that uses a built in image with SolidWorks to render the bead in PhotoView 360.
First the bead itself needs to be modeled to give solid geometry for applying the texture to. This example uses a single part file but the same concept applies with assembly files. In an assembly file the weld bead can be created in the individual parts to match the mated face geometry or it can be created as it’s own part file (or virtual part) inserted into the assembly. When creating the geometry of the weld bead the type and shape of the weld to be applied needs to be considered. For this example it is a simple fillet weld so the SolidWorks Fillet command could be used to create the proper shape but we will use a profile sketch and sweep which offers much more control over the shape of the bead.
Create the Profile
Start by creating a sketch on a plane intersecting the path of the weld. Then sketch the proper shape for the weld that will be used. The advantage to using the sketch versus the fillet is the greater control over the shape. While there are multiple options inside the Fillet command there are more options available by using the sketch.
When the profile of the sketch is done the path can be created. For simple geometry it is best to just use the matching edge and the Convert Entities command to create the path.
Using these two sketches the 3d SolidWorks geometry can be created with the Swept Boss (Sweep) command. The only option to note for this command is Merge Result. This can be left checked but is easier to apply the appearance to a single body rather than trying to select each face.
The final touch to the weld bead is optional but for this type of model it improves the realism of the render. Add a small fillet to each edge of the weld bead using the standard SolidWorks Fillet command. For this model a 0.05″ fillet is used.
Add the Appearance
To add the appearance drag in the desired material finish from the Appearances task pane. For this model the Brushed Aluminum appearance is used. First the appearance is added to the entire part file as shown below.
Then the same appearance is applied to only the weld bead body.
Now that both appearances have been applied the weld bead appearance can be edited.
Inside the appearance editor activate the Advanced functions and go to the Surface Finish tab.
To add the weld texture to the bead go to Image Path and browse to the SolidWorks install directory, then SolidWorks\data\Images\textures\weldment (typically C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp\SOLIDWORKS\data\Images\textures\weldment) and choose the weldment.png file located there. Make sure the Normal map is unchecked.
Next switch to the Mapping tab to adjust the settings for the texture. For this model using the Surface setting worked best along with 0.6″ x 0.1″ for the size. Each of these will need to be adjusted based on the type and size of weld that you are creating renderings of. To visually see the changes in the SolidWorks model verify that Realview
Creating the Render in PhotoView 360
Now that the weld is visually shown in the SolidWorks model with the surface finish and texture the actual rendered image can be created. These example images are using the default settings in PhotoView 360 but even more realistic renderings can be created by adjusting the various lighting and reflection options based on the type of material and finish used for the final product.