SOLIDWORKS, 3D CAD, Tech Tips

Using Solid Body Contact in SOLIDWORKS Motion Simulation

By TriMech on July 4, 2019

With SOLIDWORKS Motion you can animate your assemblies based on real physics. This next level realism takes your models from just an animation to a real movement, exactly like you’d see in the real world. That’s the big difference between animation and motion in SOLIDWORKS. In this Video Tech Tip, we focus on SOLIDWORKS Motion and how to use solid body contacts, which is the feature that makes it all possible.

Using SOLIDWORKS Motion

With SOLIDWORKS Motion, you’re creating more than just an animation video. As we’ve seen on YouTube and in Hollywood, you can fake or recreate just about anything with animations. But with SOLIDWORKS Motion you are capturing the real-world physics and interactions between components in your assemblies. It works because of solid body contacts.

Using solid body contacts is like flipping a switch to turn on real-world physics. It sounds complicated, but it’s super easy in SOLIDWORKS. All you need to do is add the contact to the components and that’s it. SOLIDWORKS takes care of the rest by determining the interactions between the components. Make sure you have the motion study set to either “Basic Motion” or “Motion Analysis.” A solid body contact is not available in a simple animation.

Basic Motion Option in SOLIDWORKS

When you are using motion analysis, you have even more options available to you to improve the accuracy of the study. These options include materials, friction and even elastic properties to really capture the complexities of the interactions between the components. The differences between the options for the two different study types are shown below. 

Basic Motion and Motion Analysis Options in SOLIDWORKS

As you can see, the difference is nothing more than the extra complexities that can be accounted for when using motion analysis. But what’s the same is that when you use a solid body contact there’s nothing more than just picking the components and letting SOLIDWORKS figure out the rest. 

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