Driving Assembly Component with Configured Assembly Dimension

Article by Sanja Srzic created/updated October 4, 2016

Once in awhile SOLIDWORKS users report that a part driven by a configured assembly dimension will display the same way if different assembly configurations are used in the same higher-level assembly or a drawing.  This is expected.

In the example below, there are three parts in an assembly, their overall length is driven by an assembly distance mate that has been configured in the assembly.

Part length of components is driven by assembly mate

Part length of components is driven by assembly mate

In the screenshot below you can see the part length is a variable that is calculated using an assembly distance mate, which is set to three different lengths using three configurations titled ‘Assy Config 1’, ‘2’ and ‘3’:

Configured Assembly Dimension

Assembly Distance Mate Configured

In the screenshot shown below you can see what happens to the part driven when different assembly configurations are inserted in a new assembly – note that the part length is set to be the same in both configurations:

Different Assembly Configurations in a Higher-Level Assembly

Different Assembly Configurations in a Higher-Level Assembly

The same scenario will occur in a drawing file – drawing views showing different assembly configurations with the part driven by a configured assembly dimension:

Multiple Assembly Configurations in a Drawing

Multiple Assembly Configurations in a Drawing

Why is this happening? The part does not retain the assembly configuration distance value because it is driven by the distance mate in the currently active assembly configuration.

The way to correct this problem is to configure the part within the assembly.  Using the same sample files, the length of the part was defined in context of the assembly.  D1@Distance1 in this case is assembly distance mate:

  • In Part Config 1, extrude length = “D1@Distance1@Assy Config 1@Assem1.Assembly”
  • In Part Config 2, extrude length = “D1@Distance1@Assy Config 2@Assem1.Assembly”
  • In Part Config 3, extrude length = “D1@Distance1@Assy Config 3@Assem1.Assembly”

Using this technique will ensure the part is sized with the required length in top-level assemblies and drawings.

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Sanja Srzic

Sanja is the SOLIDWORKS Technical Support Team Leader for Western Canada, and is based in the Javelin Winnipeg Office

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