SOLIDWORKS 2016 has brought us many new features, and the Mate Controller is a standout. This new feature can control multiple existing mates at once, you can change angles, distances, and percentages at the same time. It also has the capability of saving multiple “positions” and then running them through an animation.
The mate controller is compatible with angles, distances, slot distances or percentages, and width distances or percentages. In an assembly environment, the mate controller can be found in the Insert tab.
It can also be initiated by right clicking a compatible mate with the mate controller and choosing Mate Controller.
If desired, the button can also be dragged to the Command Manager through Settings, Customize, Shortcut Bars, and then Assembly to create a button for easier accessibility.
In the property box, SOLIDWORKS then prompts for the mates to control, which can selected from the Feature Tree. If the mate is not compatible, it will not populate in the selection box.
The mate controller will default with position 1 with the current values of angles, distances, or percentages for the mates chosen. Positions can be added and then modified. The Add Position button will prompt you with naming the new position.
The positions can be modified two ways. The values can be typed in the appropriate boxes, or they can be dynamically changed. Each mate has a lock button to the right of it that will toggle between driving and driven. Clicking this button allows that mate to be altered by dragging the component in the graphics area. Clicking on the Make All Mates Driven/Driving button, will automatically press/depress all of the lock buttons. Dragging all of the mate positions at once is then possible with all of the lock buttons pressed.
After modifying, each position must be “updated” to save the position, with the Update Position button.
After all positions are completed, an animation can be calculated. SOLIDWORKS will run through each of the positions, in the order of which is specified (using the Reorder Positions button), in the specified time frame for each position (modified by clicking in the time boxes).
This animation can also be brought in the Motion Study. This is done by going into your Motion Study, and choosing the Animation Wizard button as shown below.
After choosing the Animation Wizard, the Mate Controller for the type of animation to create is available. An import type can then be chosen, including Key Points for Animation or Rendering, or Motors for Motion Analysis. The start time can also be modified directly in the Animation Wizard as the final step.
Written by Alaina Sobrack, Application Engineer