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Animating a Chain

Question asked by Abhinav Chauhan on Mar 29, 2011
Latest reply on Mar 24, 2015 by Koko Katanjian

Hello.  I have modelled an engine and created an assembly in SolidWorks.  The engine is driven by a motor on the crankshaft so that all the components move and animate.  The engine is pretty much complete apart from a few component that I need to scan and model. 

The only major thing that is left is the timing chain.  I am aware that SolidWorks has it limitations but I still want to persue in animating the chain.  It does not however need to be linked to the motor but i want to give the illusion that its moving.


I have simplfied the chain so that each link is one part and there are around 55 links in total.  I have tried various methods such as creating a closed path that the chain links will follow.  There is an example on youtube of this method. 

I have also tried creating a layout drawing with circles acting as blocks so that the chain links are concentric mated to the circle blocks.  both these methods work perfectly in the model viewport but is difficult to animate.  The latter method is much simpler as i have created a follower link where when i move the link the rest of the links will follow after a rebuild but i can only move the link a small amount otherwise i get errors. 


I came across Mike J Wilson site which demonstrates some fantastic techniques.  The one that im interested in is the Reference Point example located here:

Although Mike has provided the files i cannot seem to figure out how exactly what he has done.  Furthermore i would like to know whether i can use this method for animating the timing chain.  Any other ideas?


I will provide my files if required