SOLIDWORKS Composer Only Translates in a Single Direction?

I would like to share a recent encounter in SOLIDWORKS Composer where components only translate along the Z direction. Sounds quite frustrating, doesn’t it? In the video notice that the helicopter blade only translates in the one direction. If the video is too small, please select the full screen button to expand it. Chose ESC to close full screen mode.

Would you be surprised if I told you this issue cannot be remedied inside SOLIDWORKS Composer? Unexpectedly, the cause is the graphics processor setting of the computer. Thankfully the “fix” is very straightforward.

Modifying Graphics Settings

Depending on the make and model of your computer and graphics card installed, your screens may be different. This example is from a Dell Precision laptop with NVIDIA graphics hardware. We get to the NVIDIA Control Panel from the Desktop and a right click or use Windows Search for “NVIDIA Control Panel.”

Within the NVIDIA Control Panel, we will modify the options for the Manage 3D settings group. The Preferred graphics processor is typically set to “auto select” to balance performance and battery life. The idea being the driver will activate the high-performance processor for a demanding application and use the integrated processor otherwise. Please select the image to show full size.

In my experience, auto-select may not activate the high performance for every application when needed. The driver was using integrated graphics resulting in translation issues for Composer. Please select the image to show full size.

Changing the Base Profile to the high-performance processor restores the translation behavior.

I should mention that this setting is for the Global 3D setting and the computer will always use the high-performance processor. This will likely have a negative impact on battery life.

Windows Graphics settings

Windows has settings to select a graphics processor per application. Use Windows Search for “graphics settings” or navigate from the Desktop to the Display Settings.

Within the Display Settings scroll to Graphic Settings. Please select the image to show full size.

We select the “Desktop app” type and Browse to the SOLIDWORKS Composer executable. I am using the default installation folder for this example.

C:Program FilesSOLIDWORKS CorpSOLIDWORKS Composerbin

Please select the image to show full size.

Your installation folder may vary. If you have difficulties finding the correct folder, please give us a call.

The default setting is Let Windows decide, and is that always the best idea? Changes are an Options button away by selecting the desired graphics processor and save the setting. Please select the image to show full size.

With this information the choice is yours and you control when maximum performance is needed and when better battery life is more important. Thank you for reading.

Kris Dubuque
Application Engineer Manager
Computer Aided Technology

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