Written by: Jared Spaniol, Application Engineer
When working in assemblies, it’s always a best practice to eliminate mate errors and have all the components fully defined if possible. This prevents parts from moving out of place and maintaining their orientation in the assembly. It’s also helpful when opening a large assembly to see no mate errors in the tree, not only for the user’s sanity, but if SOLIDWORKS isn’t trying to solve errors every time the assembly is opened, it speeds up opening time.
A few years back, SOLIDWORKS added the ability to lock the rotation of components containing a concentric mate with a checkbox in the mate property manager or by right-clicking the mate group folder. This was a great feature that allowed an additional option within the concentric mate, rather than adding a separate mate to control the rotation of the component. Before this option, users would either leave the component able to rotate (which left it underdefined) or lock the component with a separate mate, like using two planes and a parallel mate. This cluttered up the mates folder with unnecessary extra mates and, as you can imagine, when there are thousands of bolts in an assembly the list of mates could grow significantly.
SOLIDWORKS 2019 has added the ability to automatically lock the rotation for concentric mates of Toolbox components. Figure 1 shows there is a group of Toolbox components as underdefined by the “(-)” sign in front of the toolbox hardware name. This example shows the existing option to lock concentric rotation.
This option can be found by right–clicking back on the mate group folder and selecting “lock concentric rotation” as shown below in Figure 2.
Once this option is selected, the result will be that all hardware with a concentric mate will now be locked and fully defined, which is now denoted by the absence of the “(-)” sign (Figure 3). This saves a significant amount of time compared to doing this on a per component basis.
What’s new for 2019 is an option to automatically add the lock rotation option to concentric mates when adding any new toolbox hardware. This option can be found under Tools > Options > System Options > Hole Wizard/Toolbox. Under the toolbox mates, select the checkbox for “Lock Rotation of new concentric mates to Toolbox components” (Figure 4). Once this option is checked, when the user adds toolbox hardware, the lock rotation will be automatically applied. This option applies to concentric mates when they are created by the following methods:
- Inserting a toolbox component into another component
- Creating a SmartMate on a cylindrical face or circular edge of a Toolbox component
- Using the Smart Fasteners tool
- Defining Smart Fasteners in a new Hole Series
- Manually creating concentric mates to a Toolbox component
Keep in mind that when checking the concentric mates for whether they are locked or not look for the filled circle icon which indicates a locked concentric mate and the empy circle icon which indicates an unlocked concentric mate.
This new 2019 feature is going to be a huge time-saver when locking down those Toolbox components without bloating the mates folder and keeping your assemblies fully defined.