How to Unfix Components and Subassemblies in SOLIDWORKS Assembly

   By Jorge Villacres on August 14, 2023

When working with complex designs in SOLIDWORKS, assembling various components and subassemblies is a common practice. However, there are instances when you need to modify or reposition these elements without altering their relationships with other parts. In such cases, you’ll want to unfix components and subassemblies in the SOLIDWORKS assembly. This blog will guide you through the step-by-step process of unfixing components and subassemblies, giving you greater flexibility and control over your designs.

What is a “fixed” component:

In SOLIDWORKS, the term “fix” refers to the process of constraining components or subassemblies so that they remain stationary in the assembly. This ensures that their position and orientation are retained irrespective of any changes made to other parts. Unfixing, on the other hand, allows you to release these constraints, enabling you to freely move or modify the components without affecting other connected elements.

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Unfixing Parts:

Open the SOLIDWORKS Assembly: Launch SOLIDWORKS and open the assembly file containing the components you want to unfix.

Locate the Component to Unfix: By default, the first component you add to an assembly will be fixed in a determined location relative to the assembly’s origin. Additionally, other parts could have also been fixed manually. In the Feature Manager Tree, identify the component you wish to unfix. This component will have an (f) symbol next to its name, as shown in the following image.

How to unfix components and subassemblies

Unfix the Component: Right-click on the fixed feature and select “Float” from the context menu. Confirm that the component is now free to move.

Unfixing Subassemblies:

If you require to unfix your entire subassembly from a fixed position and be able to move it around, you can use the previously explained steps to achieve it. However, if you are looking to create a flexible subassembly so that its different parts can move and interact with other parts of the main assembly, then follow these next steps:

Make subassembly flexible: Click a subassembly in the FeatureManager design tree and select Component Properties. In the dialog box, under Solve as, select Flexible, then click OK.

Unfix components in SOLIDWORKS

Precautions and Considerations:

Mate Conflicts: When unfixing components or subassemblies, there is a possibility of creating mate conflicts. These occur when mates in the assembly contradict each other. Always verify your mates after unfixing to ensure your design remains stable.

The Integrity of Assembly: Unfixing components can alter the behavior of an assembly. Make sure you have a clear understanding of how your changes affect the overall design to avoid potential issues.

Unfixing components and subassemblies in SOLIDWORKS assembly is a crucial skill for design engineers seeking to enhance flexibility and control over their models. By following the step-by-step guide and exercising caution, you can confidently unfix elements without compromising the integrity of your design. Embrace this newfound power to iterate, optimize, and refine your assemblies, unlocking your true creative potential in SOLIDWORKS.

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Jorge Villacres

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