Physics Fun with Jamie: Best Practices for Applying Fixtures

Article by Jamie Hill, CSWE updated April 21, 2023


Welcome back to “Physics Fun with Jamie”. SOLIDWORKS FEA is a powerful tool that allows users to simulate physical behavior of designs and analyze their performance under different loading scenarios. One of the key elements in FEA analysis is the use of fixtures, which are used to restrict the motion of parts and simulate real-world conditions. Fixtures play a critical role in the accuracy of the simulation results, and as such, it is important to apply them correctly. In this tech tip, we will explore some best practices for applying fixtures in SOLIDWORKS FEA.

  1. Understand the types of fixtures: SOLIDWORKS FEA provides various types of fixtures such as Fixed, Hinge, Roller, Symmetry, and more. It is important to understand the purpose and limitations of each fixture before applying it to the model. Choose the fixture that closely matches the real-world conditions.
  2. Limit the number of fixtures: Applying too many fixtures to the model can create unnecessary constraints and limit the motion of the parts, leading to inaccurate results. To avoid this, apply only the necessary fixtures that simulate the actual conditions.
  3. Apply fixtures symmetrically: If the model is symmetric, apply fixtures symmetrically to avoid introducing any unwanted asymmetry in the analysis. This will ensure that the results are accurate and reliable.
  4. Apply fixtures to avoid rigid body motion: Rigid body motion occurs when the entire model moves as a single entity. To prevent this, apply fixtures that restrict motion in all directions, such as Fixed or Use Reference Geometry fixtures.
  5. Consider the location of fixtures: The location of fixtures can affect the accuracy of the analysis. It is important to apply fixtures at locations that represent the actual conditions as closely as possible.
  6. Check fixture connections: After applying fixtures, check the connections between the fixtures and the model to ensure that they are properly defined. Improperly defined fixtures can lead to incorrect results.
  7. Verify fixture results: Before running the analysis, verify the fixture results to ensure that they accurately simulate the real-world conditions. You can do this by performing a static analysis on the fixtures alone and comparing the results with the expected behavior.

In conclusion, applying fixtures correctly is crucial for accurate and reliable FEA analysis. By following these best practices, you can ensure that your simulation results are as close to the actual behavior as possible, giving you the confidence to make informed design decisions. To learn more, check out the rest of “Physics Fun with Jamie” blog series.


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Jamie Hill, CSWE

Jamie is a Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert working in the Javelin Oakville, Ontario, Canada office.