Solidworks Chains

How do people using Solidworks mate chain?
It seems like a lot of work joining together 30 pieces of chain

These videos are using Inventor, but I thought they may help. I imagine the process is very similar in Solidworks, probably just slightly different terminology.

Just so you know (if not already) chain is the most frustrating to work with in CAD. You can make like a 10 link chain and save it as an assembly and then just place thee sets of the ten and join them, but they are then inflexible at all joints but the three assembly joints. Though this is just what I have experienced in Inventor, maybe it is different in Solidworks.

In Rhino it is really easy to use chain.

Yeah hence I now just leave a note saying “add chain here”
The same thing would happen in Solidworks but there is probably a way around it if I look hard enough

You can toggle assembly flexibility by right clicking the assembly and selecting flexible, which should let the chain move.

In most cases it is not worth cadding in every link of chain. Common practice in industry and what I always do for VEX and FRC is to just sketch the chain path and make a single part to represent the space the chain takes.

The only time I have ever actually put chain in is for rendering. If you are dead set on actually putting in every chain link, then using linear patterns and circular patterns for going around the sprockets.

To solve this problem when you import an assembly into another, you can right click on the sub-assembly and make it flexible. This means that any parts that were not fully constrained within the sub-assembly can then be moved in the full assembly. I would not suggest this method for chain however.

Another way is to just dissolve the subassembly. Which still keeps mates intact

This however clutters your main assembly tree. Ideally you want to keep sub-assemblies intact as much as possible. This is why flexible sub-assemblies come in handy.

I’ve never used the feature myself, but it looks like a relatively new feature in Solidworks might help with chain. I’m not sure that’s what you’re asking about, however.

I may try to use this sometime soon