In SOLIDWORKS 2016, a new feature was added to the Assembly file that allows you to create animations based on mates. This new command is called Mate Controller. This new function allows you to move your assembly through a range of motion based on the limits set forth in the mates added to the assembly level. For example, I can move this robot assembly based on range of motion and control several mates at one time:
This works really well and is pretty simple to setup. The mates that are available to use are:
So I setup a simple animation to show range of motion, then what? Well, you can then take this mate controller feature and use this in a SOLIDWORKS Animation study to add camera positions, zoom factors, and other animation based functions.
Here's how this works:
Switch to the Motion Study Tab at the bottom of the SOLIDWORKS screen. Next, click on the icon for the Animation Wizard:
Once you start this Wizard, you will see a dialog box asking you what type of Animation you are trying to create. Choose the Mate Controller option and press Next:
Next, choose the option for Key Points as we are just adding camera movements and not doing a motion simulation:
The next scree is going to ask you about the length of the animation. Now SOLIDWORKS knows this will take 10 or so seconds but you get to choose when to start the actual animation of the mates. I usually set this to 0 so that it starts right away, but you could have it wait for a second or two if you want to zoom in first or something like that:
After you finish this wizard dialog box, you will then see the motion study with key points for each component in your assembly. The next thing you want to do is to Right Mouse Click on the item called Orientation and Camera Views and unselect the option to Disable View Key Creation:
This will then allow you to drag the time bar to a time value and then rotate or zoom and a new camera key will auto-create itself to record this new position:
Do this as many times as you want to perhaps walk around the design as it is playing its range of motion with the mates. When you are finished, just press the Calculate button and watch your animation play and zoom/rotate based on your placements!
So the next time you need to show a range of motions on an assembly, try the new Mate Controller and add it to the animation wizard to really make your presentations top notch!
Field Technical Services Manager