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Blocks are one of the most powerful tools within SolidWorks. It allows you to copy entire sketches and use them elsewhere in your design. You can even use blocks to lay out mechanisms. In this example, we're going to take a look at how to create a lift, using just simple block elements to define the motion of this four bar mechanism. To get started, what I need to do is create individual blocks of each item in the system. So first, I need to make sure I have the Block toolbar turned on. If I don't, I can always go right-click up here, and make sure I have Blocks turned on. Next is I want to go and select each individual element.
In this case here, I have this circle with the line, and I'm going to say, I want to make this its own block. So Make Block, and click OK. Next I want to make this line here, its own individual block again. Click on Block and click OK. I'm going to use this section here and this section here together. And click on Make Block, OK again, and down here again, Make Block. And then finally, the fork section here, Make Block, and click OK. Now, all these are individual blocks, and they're all going to work together, and they're attached at couple different places.
Couple points that I do want to hold down and make sure they're not going to move or these points at the end here. So I click on this point here. I can click on Make Fixed. And same thing if I click on the point here, I can say, Make Fixed. Now let's see what's going to happen and see if it works. What I can do is I can drag this up an down. And see what that mechanism is actually going to do. And you see, we do have a little bit of an issue, though, that this part back here is actually moving. So I'm going grab the center point of that, and, say I want to make it fixed as well. And then as I move this up and down, it should actually rotate around in that mechanism, allowing this thing to go up and down. And maybe that's not the right location, so go ahead and click on that, hit Delete.
Maybe you want to drag that back just a little bit. In this case here, we'll say Make Fixed. And then we can see what happens as this goes up, and as it goes down. You might have to play around with it a little bit to refine the mechanism further. But the point is, is you can make individual units, combine them together as a block. And then we can actually simulate them in the computer as a sketch way before we actually create any individual components. Once you have the components kind of looking the way you want, go ahead and cancel out of this, click OK, and exit out of the sketch. Then what I can do is I'm going to create a link, or a section of this mechanism right here, based upon the skeleton of these two lines.
To do so, I'm going to choose the Front Plane, I'm going to go up to Sketch. And I'm going to open a brand new Sketch. And I'm just going to go ahead and use Offset Entities. I'm going to choose this line here and that one down there. And I'm going to make sure that, I'm making a big enough component. It'll still be pretty small, but go ahead and click OK. And then go ahead and cap the ends with a straight line segment. And you can see this is a rough example, but it allows me to. Build some geometry around that original block sketch, and then go ahead and turn it into an individual Boss/Extrude.
And extrude it out a little bit here. Grab the arrow if I need to. Click OK. And there's my Boss/Extrude based upon that original block, to help me design that mechanism. Using blocks to lay out mechanisms is a great way to think through design. Just remember that each section must be its own block and then make sure to add relationships.
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