By Silvio Perez
A lot of times when working with large assemblies with a high number of mates, manipulating the positions of the assembly can make the model move oddly because of the different combinations of mates and the different amounts of unconstrained degrees of freedom associated with each mate. Typically, you would have to generate several configurations and mates if you wanted to have different set positions for an assembly. If anyone has tried this, they know that process is a tedious one.
To alleviate this issue, SOLIDWORKS 2016 introduced a new Mate Controller feature. What this allows us to do is be able to individually control the position of each mate, one mate at a time. The Mate Controller is located under INSERT>MATE CONTROLLER inside an assembly file. When inside the feature, you need to select all of the mates you want to control. It may be helpful to actually rename the mates so you can clearly see which mate you are modifying. The next thing to do is add a position and name it whatever you want.
You will notice that after making the mate selections, you can modify each mate position individually and that one alone will move the assembly in the graphics area. You can even select the lock symbols next to the mates if you prefer to lock down the movement to only allow the available degrees of freedom left. Once you have specified the desired position, you can select the Update Position icon. This will save the position and allow you to add more.
The great thing about this feature is that you can calculate an animation where you can set how long it should take to move from one position to the other. This can be saved as a video file and even create a rendered video file if you have PhotoView 360. If you create animations or motion studies the traditional way, Mate Controller can streamline that process by allowing you to export the animation.
The process is really easy where you just have to navigate to the motion study tab and select the animation Wizard option and the mate controller option should be there. This is a powerful feature because alongside of creating easy animations, you can even extract kinematic information if you run a motion study.
Overall, the Mate Controller is a great feature and more importantly, easy to use. We can utilize this feature for many reasons to communicate the movement and positions of an assembly. To check out how this new feature works, check out my YouTube video here!
For further assistance, please contact our HawkSupport team at 877-266-4469(US) or 866-587-6803(Canada) and firstname.lastname@example.org.