Use the SOLIDWORKS Mate Controller to create mate-based motion and animation

Article by Vicky Guignard updated September 24, 2016


It can be time consuming to create animations inside of SOLIDWORKS to represent motion of an assembly. There are different ways to get this done, either by creating an animation or configurations representing different positions of components.

For SOLIDWORKS 2016, a new feature called the SOLIDWORKS Mate Controller was launch. Using the controller you can specify positions of your assembly components using mate values and degrees of freedom without having to use configurations for each position. SOLIDWORKS can then generate an animation for each movement between those specific positions and save the animations as an .AVI file.

The SOLIDWORKS Mate Controller is also integrated with Motion Studies, so you can create animations based on the positions you define with the Mate Controller; thus making the process of animating movement much easier.

Supported mate types include:

  • Angle
  • Distance
  • LimitAngle
  • LimitDistance
  • Slot (Distance Along Slot, Percent Along Slot)
  • Width (Dimension, Percent)

Where is the SOLIDWORKS Mate Controller tool?

You can find the Mate Controller in the Insert menu as shown in the figure below:

Location of the Mate Controller

Location of the Mate Controller

When the tool is launched, click on the Collect all supported mates icon, shown in the figure below, to capture only the supported mate types; i.e : Angle, Distance, LimitAngle, LimitDistance, Slot (Distance Along Slot, Percent Along Slot), Width (Dimension, Percent). You can reorder the mates if you need to.

Collect Supported Mates

Collect Supported Mates

Create Positions

The next thing you would want to do is create positions. The ‘Position 1’ is usually (always) your default position and therefore shouldn’t have any motion.

So then, you create your next position (position 2) by clicking here:

Create new position

Create new position

Whenever creating new positions you can tweak the mate types to new values and continue doing this for each position. Once you have completed all of your positions, you go down to the lowest part of the PropertyManager and click on the Calculate Animation button. The current animations will be highlighted in the table as the animation plays.

Here is a video showing you how to work with the tool

Note the video below has no audio.

Completing the animation

Click OK to finish using the mate controller.

You now have a SOLIDWORKS Mate Controller feature in the FeatureManager Design Tree which you can go back to and edit just like any other SOLIDWORKS feature.

Mate Controller Completed Feature

Mate Controller Completed Feature

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Vicky Guignard

Vicky has been working in the CAD industry since 2010 and has a background in machine design and steel structure design. Vicky works closely with the Javelin sales team, helping to solve complex customer challenges utilizing the SOLIDWORKS product line. She is also an instructor for Javelin and delivers private, and public training in Western Canada, as well as online through Javelin's JOLT training. Vicky has been an Application Engineer with Javelin since 2014.