When SOLIDWORKS came out with the new revamped interface for Motion Simulation in 2008, I was both eager and skeptical at the same time. The interface looks a lot like Animator, and timelines dictate the simulation setup. However, as I tried my hand at it, I was a little disappointed at some of the functionality that seemed to have been stripped off. I was concerned about three main areas:
- Joint definition: You can no longer define joints manually.
- Contacts: 3D Contacts are the only choice in 2008 (as against both 2D and 3D contacts in 2007).
- Markers: This was probably what caught me by surprise since 2008 does not have markers anymore. Markers are ways to setup complex expressions in Motion in order to make a motion driver dependent on the results of another moving component (result-dependent properties). Difficult to understand at first, they become extremely useful once you understand their purpose and usage.
So I proceeded with the notion that 2008 Motion is fairly weak in these areas. However, over the past few months, I have had an opportunity to use it a little more, and I have come to realize that these three areas are addressed in the new release (just buried deep enough!!).
- Joint Definition: The SW mates have been enhanced to include the entire library of joints. I like this feature, but the onus is upon the user to ensure that he sets up mates correctly.
- Contacts: 2D contacts did not generate much data about contact forces and so forth. The only direct benefit of 2D contacts was displacement and velocity information. 3D Contacts are a much more realistic simulation of the problem. SOLIDWORKS is right in terms of wanting to move contacts into the 3D Domain. Here, once again, the onus is upon the user to ensure that the correct impact properties are defined. Â As problems get bigger, the solver might take more time to solve though.
- Markers: These tools are, in fact, much simpler to use now. Markers have been replaced with the ability to call a previously generated result directly into the expression property window, and define relationships to these result quantities in one step. The user does not have to look up all the FORTRAN based functions anymore to setup an expression.
FINAL VERDICT: Motion 2008 is not as bad as I originally thought it to be. It grows on you as you use it more and more. I have been pleasantly surprised with its ease of use, and the integration provided with SOLIDWORKS mates.
Once again, way to go – SolidWorks!!