My school uses Solidworks for CAD purposes, and while I am familiar with building robots via assemblies in Solidworks, I am curious as to how one would build a chain bar in solidworks and get the chain to move properly? Any input would be greatly appreciated.
As someone who also uses solidworks to aid in design can I ask what reason do you have for wanting to have the chain to move in the model?
With mechanical mates, I can for example constrain gears to turn the way gears do. Once I finish a robot in solidworks, I’d like to drag around a part, see how it moves in relation to others. I want to be able to visualize the motions of the various mechanisms on a robot.
One way that you can model chain is to use the path generator tool (sorry if some names are not right, don’t have solidworks up) to create the path of the chain. Then from there you create an extrusion that follows that path. When making the extrusion add in the width and height of the chain. Once you have your chain model generated you can edit it’s properties and then constrain it in your assembly. When constraining, do so in a manner that will allow it to travel with your mechanism (i’m sure you know how to apply the correct constraints). Note that this model will not have the individual links, but it will be a good representation of the space that the chain takes up, and unless you are making a render to display that is all you need. One bit of advice that I would recommend is don’t worry about making every part act like it would in the real world. You know how the gear will turn so you don’t have to spend the extra time to do so. Same with the chain. Insert it, but don’t worry if the model doesn’t rotate like real chain would. The important thing is to see if it interferes with other parts, and again that can be done with spending the time to show the chain moving like it does in real life. How that this help. Ill try to find a video that better describes modeling chain
if you go to 3:40 he describes how he generates his chain models
I would highly recommend that you or anyone else who uses cad to watch his videos. While not all of the things that he says are applicable to vex because FRC has less constraints on parts he does a really good job at going through how you should used cad to design and how to not waste your time while using cad to design. Plus he has a good video about designing for pnuematics that would help a lot of teams I bet
In actual design practice, we just mate the sprockets using gear mates and ignore the chains (or timing belts), but often I’ll make a quick “belt looking” part to represent the chain. It helps ensure that the chain (or belt) doesn’t accidentally go through a part during design. Concentric mates at the sprockets will allow the chain bar to operate. In 3dContentCentral, there are a a couple models of #30 roller chain that you can configure if you really want the look of chain for appearance-sake.
Only for Inventor I’m afraid, but here’s my tutorial for modeling chain.
and here’s an animation using chain.
way more trouble that it’s worth.