How Can I Recreate Motion In My Solidworks Assemblies?

There are many ways to put your SOLIDWORKS assembly in motion including Standard Drag, Collison Detection, and Physical Dynamics.

One of my favorite parts of teaching SOLIDWORKS Essentials is the Assemblies lessons. From the first time I picked up SOLIDWORKS, assembly motion has always impressed me. The ease of use and intuitiveness of manipulating components and assemblies has always been a strong point for SOLIDWORKS. Just grab a component and move it.

Lost in this ease of use is the “Move Component” tool. This handy tool has many tricks up its sleeve.

move component

Not only can you very specifically move a component in a certain direction, but also relative to other components or reference entities.

free drag

I’m going explore the other “Options” for this blog post. We see we have three Options: Standard Drag, Collision Detection, and Physical Dynamics.

standard drag

Standard Drag is what we are all used to. I love it. Components move through one another, so it makes positioning components in their rough positions a breeze.

Collision Detection will allow you to dynamically visualize your assembly’s range of motion and alert you to any contacts or collisions that occur. The colliding faces highlight, motion stops, and we hear the familiar “ding.” (P.S. You can change that sound to a crash, glass breaking, or the infamous Homer Simpson “Doh!” in Tools>Options.)

Last, and by no means least, we have Physical Dynamics. This allows components to act in a similar manner as they do in the real world. You can push components out of the way and have components collide and move in a very realistic way. My favorite is this beach ball example.

beach ball fun

In a more practical example, check out this simple box conveyor. Without having to set up any motion studies or complex contacts, I am able to test the pin spacing and assembly behavior very simply and quickly.

physical dynamics

With these simple tools, we can take assembly motion to the next level. Not that I am advocating against Simulation, but for some simple clearances and contacts, Physical dynamics allows us to see how our assemblies are going to interact instantly and in real-time.

Try some of these tools out next time you are in an assembly, you will be pleasantly surprised at how easy (and fun) they can be.


As always, thanks for reading, and happy modeling.