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SOLIDWORKS Animation Control using Mates

Article by Scott Durksen, CSWE created/updated March 29, 2019

SOLIDWORKS Animations have an option called Autokey.  This can be useful for simple animations where you enable the option, click somewhere along the timebar and then drag components.  It will add keys for all components that moved for its final position at that time step.  You need to be aware of the initial position of the component at the key before in the timebar.  This is the transition period where it moves between the initial and final positions of two keys.

SOLIDWORKS Animation Autokey

SOLIDWORKS Animation Autokey

This can cause headaches in larger more complex assemblies if many components are moving.  Accidentally dragging a component can add new keys or affect existing ones.  If you want to update the position of a component earlier in time, you need to ensure you have the timebar selected in the same position as the existing key.  If the timebar is selected at a slightly different location, it will automatically add new keys and more transitions as you drag components.  Using Limit Distance and Limit Angle mates can add additional difficulties.

You’ll have more control if you fully constrain the assembly with mates so you don’t accidentally drag a component and extra keys get added.  Use Distance and Angle mates with values.  These can be controlled with different values along the timebar.

SOLIDWORKS Animation Mate

SOLIDWORKS Animation Mate

You can find the mate in the Animation window under each component.  Right-click beside the mate anywhere along the timebar and Place Key to add a new one.  To adjust its value, simply double-click on each key and enter a different value.

SOLIDWORKS Animation Mate Initial Key

SOLIDWORKS Animation Mate Initial Key

This provides much more control and stability compared to dragging components around.

SOLIDWORKS Animation Mate Final Key

SOLIDWORKS Animation Mate Final Key

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Scott Durksen, CSWE

Scott is a SOLIDWORKS Elite Applications Engineer and is based in our Dartmouth, Nova Scotia office.

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