Welcome to the Onshape forum! Ask questions and join in the discussions about everything Onshape.

First time visiting? Here are some places to start:
  1. Looking for a certain topic? Check out the categories filter or use Search (upper right).
  2. Need support? Ask a question to our Community Support category.
  3. Please submit support tickets for bugs but you can request improvements in the Product Feedback category.
  4. Be respectful, on topic and if you see a problem, Flag it.

If you would like to contact our Community Manager personally, feel free to send a private message or an email.

Sliding bolt - can't figure out tangent mate

gary_nielsengary_nielsen Member Posts: 1 EDU
I figured out how to get a pin to move in a slot using a planar mate and a tangent mate. What I can't figure out, is how to do it on a curved surface. Here's where I am:

I can get the green pin to follow the curve on the right. On the left, I cannot figure out how to get the green pin (attached to the green cylinder) to follow the slot. Here's the link to my OnShape document.

Best Answer


  • philip_thomasphilip_thomas Member, Moderator, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 1,381
    Tims answer is spot on - that said, i am going to offer some additional insight that may help others

    • Tangent mate is intended for cam-follower type scenarios. These are characterized by the follower touching only ONE face of the cam at any given point. In this example, if the pin is the same width as the slot, then it is simultaneously touching two of the faces and will likely act in an unpredictable fashion. 
    • At the end of each slot is a singularity, meaning that the solution cannot move forward and does not know that the only viable path is backwards. In this situation, the follower often gets stuck.
    • Tangent mate is an expensive mate (lots of CPU to solve), the sketch solution solves much faster.

    Have fun! :)
    Philip Thomas - Onshape
  • craig_puetzcraig_puetz Member Posts: 1 EDU
    The above solution is exactly what I am looking for, but I am missing something. I created the trajectory curve - a radius and two straight sections. I insert it into my assembly, but can only follow one segment, not all three. What am I missing? I have explored group, but without any success.
  • philip_thomasphilip_thomas Member, Moderator, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 1,381
    Craig - hello.

    Our bad, not obvious how to do it. This is a special case where you have straight line segments - this makes it a little harder because tools like '3D fit spline' (thank you Bill Campbell) do not work well. 
    The steps are:
    • Extrude the sketch to create edges
    • Use 'Unified Spline' to convert the edges to a single curve
    • Convert the curve into a sketch
    • Insert the sketch into the assembly
    Someone may be able to improve this, but this should get you going.
    Good Luck! :)

    Philip Thomas - Onshape
Sign In or Register to comment.