Creating and Animating Exploded Views

This page describes how to make a simple Exploded View in assembly. An exploded view shows the components of an object slightly separated by a distance, or suspended in surrounding space in the case of three-dimensional SolidWorks models. An assembly is represented as if there had been a small controlled explosion emanating from the middle of the object, causing the object's individual parts to be separated a distance away from their original locations.

By animating an exploded view in SolidWorks, you can easily communicate the intended assembly of mechanical or other parts, and show precisely how they fit together. You can also help to represent the disassembly of a object into its individual parts, where those components on the outside normally get removed first.

Step By Step Guide

To Create an Exploded View
1. Click the Exploded View icon in the Assembly toolbar
2. Select one or more components to include in the first explode step. In the PropertyManager, the components appear under Settings in the Component(s) box of the explode step. A manipulator triad (x, y, and z axes) appears in the graphics area.
3. Drag a triad arm to explode the components. The explode step appears under Explode Steps. You can move a part along multiple axes, however these moves must be done using separate steps.
4. Create more explode steps by repeating steps 2-3 as needed, then click the green check mark.

An exploded view is stored with the assembly configuration with which it is created. Each configuration can have one exploded view, visible under the ConfigurationManager.

To Auto-Space Components
1. Select two or more components.
2. Under Options, select "Auto-space components after drag".
3. Drag a triad arm to explode the components.
When you drop the components, one component remains where you drop it, and the software automatically spaces the remaining components equally along the same axis.

To Edit an Explode Step
1. In the PropertyManager, under Explode Steps, right-click an explode step and select Edit Step.
2. Make the following changes as needed:

-Drag components to reposition them.
-Select components to add to the step.
-Delete components from the step by right-clicking and selecting Delete.
-Change Settings.
-Change Options.

3. Click Apply to preview the changes.
4. Click Done to complete.

To Collapse an Exploded View
1. Change to the Configurations tab of the feature tree
2. Open up the "Default" configuration
3. Right-click on the exploded view, and select "Collapse"

To Animate an Exploded View
Using animations, you can create movies of your object(s) exploding and/or collapsing. These movies can be created Independent of Motion Studies, or Using Motion Studies:

Independent of Motion Studies
1. On the ConfigurationManager tab, expand the desired configuration, and then:
2. Double-click the ExplView feature.
3. Right-click the ExplView feature and select Explode (or Collapse if you have already exploded your assembly).
4. Right-click the ExplView feature and select Animate Explode (or Animate Collapse) to display the Animation Controller pop-up toolbar while the assembly explodes or collapses. The Animation Controller toolbar allows you to play, pause, stop, fast forward, and rewind your animation. You can configure the playback mode. Choosing Loop will play the animation from start to finish, over and over again. Selecting Reciprocate will play your animation forwards (explosion), then backwards (collapse), then forwards again, and so on. You can also alter the Explosion (or Collapse) Speed using the Fast Play and Slow Play icons.
5. When you are ready, click the Save Animation icon and configure the settings accordingly. Remember, you can set the Renderer to SolidWorks Screen or PhotoWorks.

Using Motion Studies
1. You will first have to configure the explosion as per the instructions above under, "To Create an Exploded View".
1. Open a new motion study as you normally would.
2. Select the Animation Wizard icon (Note: you should never trust a matter what.), and then make then select Explode (or Collapse).
3. You can then set the duration of the explosion as well as its start time in the motion study.
4. Click Finish, and if you get really lucky the Wizard will actually do what you intended it to do. But seriously, don't be surprised if things get very messed up.
5. You can then manipulate the key frames created by the Wizard to further modify the explosion to your liking.
6. Be sure to use neat camera angles and all of the other visual effects SolidWorks has to offer to produce a mouthwatering animation.
7. When you're all set, save the animation as you normally would when using Motion Studies.