Using DELETE FACE for Shell Meshing

January 30th, 2009 by

I realized that the word “Delete” did have some positive emotions attached to it after all once I took the SolidWorks Advanced Surface Modeling class that Randy Simmons offered in our Cincinnati office. Here is the why and how:

FEA on sheetmetal components is accomplished by creating a shell mesh. The prerequisite for a shell mesh in SolidWorks 2009 is either a surface body, or a sheetmetal body. Often, the requirements for a shell mesh are realized after the solid geometry has been constructed, as in the figure below:

Sheetmetal part for FEA

In this case, the shell mesh is to be created on the highlighted outside surfaces. To convert the solid structure into a surface body, the user has two choices:

1. OFFSET SURFACE: This is the easiest approach to take. Simply selecting the outside surfaces, and choosing a zero distance offset from these faces will achieve the desired result. It would be advisable to delete the solid body afterward, so that the only body on the graphics window is the surface body.

2.DELETE FACE: This is a little trickier to use. I found this method, but am yet to use it in a specific case. I am sure I will find the need for it at some point:

a. Highlight the required faces for the shell mesh
b. Right click on one of the faces and do an Invert Selection. This should pick up all the other surfaces on the structure.
c. Use the Delete Face command (either by right clicking on the selected faces as in the figure below, or from the Surfaces toolbar, or Insert > Face > Delete), and accept the defaults.

Corrected image for upload

Either method should help convert a solid body into a surface body, thus facilitating a shell mesh for subsequent FEA using Simulation 2009.

Vikram Vedantham

Simulation Product Manager 3DVision Technologies

3 Responses to “Using DELETE FACE for Shell Meshing”

  1. kholish says:

    Hi Vikram,

    Dont forget “mid surface”. Its very useful feature also…. :)
    Hi Vikram, Which is the best approach ?
    Use the outer faces, Inner faces or mid surfaces ?

    Thanks !

  2. Sean says:


    Upon implementing the offset function and deleting the solid body, when attempting to create a mesh an error occured stating that meshing could not continue due to lack of a defined thickness for the shell. What is the best way to define a thickness for a shell after deleting the solid body of a surface?

    Your help is greatly appreciated,

  3. Vikram says:


    Since you have deleted the underlying solid body (which had the thickness information), the new surface has no clue on the actual thickness of the part. Hence the error message.

    All you have to do is to right click on the shell body (in your static study tree), and choose Edit Definition. Here, you can specify the thickness of the part which is now represented by the surface.


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