Flexible sub assemblies in upper assemblies

Hi Peoples

I have finally got back to the drawing system to try and progress my models. The model below consists of 4 sub assemlies.
The main support frame, 2
Left arm assemly, 4
Right Arm Assembly 3
Hydraulic Ram. 1

My question is getting the arms to move in this level assembly.
the main frame is just a weldment with no moving parts.
The two arms are connected to this frame via a concentric constraint with the bolt and the bush pivot and a conincident constraint on the bottom face of the bush pivot and the frame mount.
Both arms are able to move a full 360 degrees of revolution when dragged with the mouse.
the ram is assembled with concentric contrainst on rod and housing, with a coincident constraint with a minumum and maximum offest. The ram works fine in the sub assembly using the mouse.
When it is brought into this assembly, constrained to the mounts, then made flexible, the rods move in and out as they should. However, when connected to the right arm as shown, I can’t get the arm to move.
All joints/constraint points have been left with 1 DOF to allow the movement, but still nothing.
Any ideas or suggestions on where to find “useful” help instructions on how to do this would be welcome. The help file is still somewhat lacking even in version 2022.

Does ZW3d have driven constraints like inventor, where you open the constraint and click the drive button and the constraint goes through it’s movements on the screen.?

Another little thing, I can’t seem to remember, where to find the setting to make the constraints be with the sub assemblies/components.


hi Russty:
It is recommended that you use the assembly configuration function to control the constraints!

Hi Ken
Check the ‘lock rotation’ selection for concentric constraints (which often catches me out)
Otherwise try moving the flexible items off their limits before adding the constraint.

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Hi Wayne

I have checked the lock rotation and it is not selected.

Thanks for your input


Hi Liangfen

Thanks for your input.
I have used this at present. Still doesn’t help me with making the constraints run in the assembly.
In inventor, I could drive the constraint from a drop down list in the manager window and tell the program to drive or run the constraint. This way, in this instance, I could get the ram to extend and the side arms would close and open from this driven constraint.
Is there something similar in 2022?

HI Russty:

If you can send me the file or install todesk, I’m in the East eighth district. During working hours, I can operate it for you remotely!

Hi Liangfen

What exactly does, “send me the file” mean?
Is it a Pack and send all I need to do? or something else.
It is currently 2.30PM in Murwillumbah NSW so what is your time at home.


HI Russty:
Yes, pack it for me,
我要去吃饭了,北京时间 下午14:00 ,我帮你远程 :grinning:
I’m going to have dinner. At 14:00 p.m. Beijing time, I’ll help you remote :grinning:


Hi Ken,
by default ZW locks DOF in all sub assemblies, but it easy to unlock them.
RMB of the subassy in the Assy Manager. - image
And Make Flexible.
It should work for subs one level down.
Cheers - Paul

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Hi Paul

I did the Make Flexible before, but didn’t work.
I have found the offended problem, but caused others when I fixed that one.
Working through them now.
Bit complicated, but hey, that how we like it.

Do you know of a way to make the constraint drive, like in Inventor. click a drive button and the constrain activates as if in real life. I can drag the bits with the mouse, but I would prefer it to drive.


Hi Liangfen

Found the offending little pain. It was the connecting plate. When I deleted the plate and put it back it all works like it should.

Thanks for your help.


HI Russty:
That’s good news!

Animation can do that. You can tell any constraint what values to have and any time and it will move linearly between keyframes(KF)(time periods)
e.g. Say the ram starts at stroke 0 at 0 sec. Then you set a KF at 10sec where the stroke is still 0, the ram will move 0 in that time. Then at 20 sec you tell the ram to be at 50mm stroke, it will use the 10 sec between KF10sec and KF20sec to move 50mm. Any associated constraints will also move according to the constraints.
Inventor is probably king of this activity amongst all the mid range CAD. So you will not get the level of analytics out of ZW3D at this point you might get from some others.
But if you have everything driven of the one constraint it is is easy.
You can have multiple actions occurring simultaneous AND you can change Camera position and zoom simultaneously but your head will explode trying to make it all work.
Cheers - Paul

Hi All,

in ZW3D2023X this “Make Flexible” for moving subcomponents is not available.
How can solve such scenarios?
|_ Asseembly2
|_Part1 -->Want to make it “flexible” to move it in Assembly1

If I activate Assembly1 I cannot drag the Part1. Only if I activate Assembly 2.
(Contraints are all set fine)

HI caddie:
The test he is normal,
It is not activated. It can be moved.!


Oki, I think I got it.
To make Part1 in Assembly2 “flexible” to Assembly1, I need to make the Assembly2 from rigid to flexible (icon changed of Assembly2).
But what about “make virtual” of Part1? If I do this, I can no mor eopen it as a part, only edit in tree and then it’s handled like part with all features from the part, a little weired…
Ahhhrgh… How can I switch back that Part1 from virtual to a normal part?

Again me, if I not do the Part1 from Assembly2 “virtual” (what ever it shall mean) and I make the Assembly2 flexible it does not work to drag part1 from activated Assembly1.
Only when I convert this Part1 as a virtual part and the obove assy is flexible then I can drag it in top assy.

I looks like the “make virtual” function is more or less a “copy Part1 features to obove assy” and “sign” Part1 as an assembly, but inhibit to open this “virtualpart”.

With the function “Make Independent” it looks liek it’s a export to this “virtualpart” to disk as ap normal part. And then it can back replaced with function “Change compomonent” from disk. Works fine, but a bit complicated.