National STEM Day - Part 2: Kinematics Within SOLIDWORKS

By Wayne White on November 8, 2018

As I mentioned in my other postI was fortunate to have the opportunity as a high school student to learn engineering and architecture through a program similar to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). So in honor of National STEM Day for the young minds we’ll take a peek into some kinetics (motion). 

 >>Click here if you want to learn about your STEM type

Project: Kinematics and SOLIDWORKS

By combining physics-based motion with assembly information from SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS Motion which is included in SOLIDWORKS Premium can be used in a broad span of industry applications:

  • Estimate peak motor torque when performing tasks like positioning antenna reflectors, opening and closing security gates, handling materials, and raising and lowering scissors-type lift tables. Also see how friction can increase power requirements and actuator size.
  • Understand robotics performance during operation, for example, installing windshields, pick and place electronic components on circuit boards in electronics plants.
  • Optimize or minimize the force imbalance of a rotating system in orbital sanders, sewing machines, shaker beds, drive-shafts, etc.
  • Change the design length of backhoe linkages to provide better digging performance.
  • Generate CAM curves (profiles) employed in automatic feed mechanisms and screw machines.
  • Represent interactions between various gears (spurs, work, helical, and rack-and- pinion) used in different kinds of power transmission or motion control.
  • Perform basic suspension tuning for racing applications

Application of SOLIDWORKS

This is where you can really dork out inside SOLIDWORKS. The SOLIDWORKS application here is motion analysis. You can use motion analysis within SOLIDWORKS Premium. For this article I’ll be using a model from our SOLIDWORKS Motion Training class.

SOLIDWORKS Motion is an add-in that we can easily turn on and off enabling event based motion, along with contact and force analysis.

We apply a rotary motor to the device to provide the motion to the assembly. The contact allows us to apply material and friction, 2 variables that will play a large role in the relative motion within our assembly. 

A spring is applied to keep our projectile in place during the necessary time window-of course, we could solve for the required spring force as well if ‘spec-ing’ out a required spring. As you can see in the graphic below, we can easily understand the motor torque and exit velocity of the projectile. These are pretty awesome tools at our disposal!

Motion analysis is terrific. And we’ve only scratched the surface. This example here shows simple contact with friction, motors and the results we can read that could feed into how far something goes, but of course the capability is much more than that. If we have events and contacts, we can understand the size of a required motor, the captured event time to a process, and additional engineering requirements.Imagine process planning on the engine assembly line. If we can set up accurate contacts and times, events, we can very precisely understand a process. 

The opportunity to learn and be involved with STEM is always increasing. There are so many kits out there, but I had to find a starting point. There are a wide range of subjects with STEM that you can easily get great content- these are just some examples:
  • Mechanics and simple machines
  • Newton’s Laws 
  • Renewable energy
  • Programmable robotics
  • Wheels, axles and inclined planes
  • Pulley drives
  • Cams and cranks
  • Gears and worm drives
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