This is a really useful gem that is hardly noticed or used - but can come in very handy, especially for anyone doing an animation or Motion study.
Suppose you want to illustrate a movement of an assy - some sort of mechanism. Obviously you will switch to the Motion tab and build an animation using the various tools - motors, forces etc or even by dragging the parts to a new position with respect to the time line. However, because the mechanism is free to move it will not necessarily be in the desired starting position. For instance, you might want to show 1 revolution of a crankshaft and have the crank at top dead centre. How do you get it to be in precisely the right position?
The answer is with a new mate and a special mate option. Simply create a suitable mate that forces the parts into the right position and then expand the mate 'Options'. The last option is called 'Use for positioning only'. This means that the parts will be positioned as if a mate were to be created but without creating the mate. Therefore the mechanism will be at its correct start position but will still be free to move.
In the example below I have used a Distance Mate to position a part (a 'Ball') exactly 35 mm from the Front plane but because I have ticked 'Use for positioning only' it will still be free to move.
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