SOLIDWORKS Mate Best Practice #1: Mate Before You Relate

Article by Jim Peltier, CSWE updated May 14, 2013


Greetings, fellow SOLIDWORKS users! Welcome to my new blog series on the best practices of mating…in SOLIDWORKS of course!

Over the next few days, I’ll bring you five videos on SOLIDWORKS Mate Best Practices and how to avoid problems associating with poorly applied mates. Or, perhaps more specifically, I’ll explain what the best practice is, then show you in the video what goes wrong if you don’t follow these guidelines.

First up is Rule #1: Mate Before you Relate

In other words, you want to apply your mates before you try applying any sketch relations. This will ensure greater stability with your assembly. In the video below, you’ll see me try to add sketch relations between an air cylinder (which I downloaded from a supplier website) and a mounting plate I created.

Okay, it may not seem like a big deal in the example I provide, but what if these parts never get mated? What happens if I make production drawings for this plate and have it sent out for manufacture BEFORE it’s been properly mated in place? I shudder to think about it. Worse still, what if I don’t mate these two parts together and someone else looks at the assembly, sees it’s not mated in place and decides to mate it themselves… using a concentric mate on the holes!!!! That would create a terrifying circular reference which leads me into Rule #2: Don’t Mate your Relations (tune in next time)

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Jim Peltier, CSWE

Jim has been using SolidWorks since 2001, and has spent most of that time working in the design of industrial automated manufacturing equipment. He has been working as an Applications Expert at Javelin Technologies in Oakville, Ontario since July 2012 and is a Certified SolidWorks Expert (CSWE).