SolidWorks Composer Kinematic Link [VIDEO]

Article by Irfan Zardadkhan, PhD, CSWE updated May 6, 2014


SolidWorks Composer does not support mates like SolidWorks and SolidWorks mates are not transferred to Composer during the import process. Mating relationships between actors must be re-created in Composer.

In most cases, linear and rotational translations should suffice for animations.  Kinematic transforms can be used to mimic SolidWorks mates; this type of transform creates parent/child links and pivot alignments between actors.

  1. Create child-parent relationships between the actors using either the “Link child to parent” tool on the Kinematic toolbar or by dragging actors into assemblies in the Assembly tree.  (*Note: child cannot have two parents and vice versa)
  2. Use “Pivot transformation mode” and the other tools in the Pivot Alignment toolbar to align each child-parent group’s pivots.  In order for kinematic motions to work: a child’s pivot must be in the same alignment as its parent’s pivot, and all pivots in a chain of child-parent relationships must be aligned in the same direction.
    The child pivot’s location determines where the link will be applied and the parent’s pivot location determines the orientation/movement of that link.
    For example, all pivots could have the Z direction pointing up or down.   The “Align pivot(s) with given pivot” tool can be used to copy pivot alignment between specified actors.
  3. In the Properties pane for a selected child/parent, assign the appropriate Kinematic link type (free, pivot, linear, spherical, or rigid) and axis.  The “Show DOF” tool (degrees of freedom) can be turned on at this point from the Kinematic toolbar to more easily display the direction of motion.
  4. If needed, enable Limited joints for specific kinematic types and specify limits for the motion.
  5. Turn on the “Kinematic free dragging” tool and drag the actors to now visualize their motions.

Here is a demonstration of SolidWorks Composer Kinematic Link in action.

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Irfan Zardadkhan, PhD, CSWE

Irfan holds a PhD in Aerospace Engineering and is as Elite AE. He contributes regularly to the SIMULATION and COMPOSER tech blogs. He has won the TenLinks Top blogger award for SOLIDWORKS. He has presented at local user groups and at SOLIDWORKS World.