SOLIDWORKS Mate Best Practice #5: Don’t Mate Longer Than Necessary

Article by Jim Peltier, CSWE updated May 23, 2013


Okay, so we’ve reached the end of our week of SOLIDWORKS Best Mating Practices. I’ve saved the best for last. There’s lots of content in this one, so get ready.

With all the tips this week, you should have learned something new – or at least be able to put into words what you already knew. Let’s recap the 4 rules we’ve already learned along with the 5th one that we’re about to learn:

  1. Mate before you relate
  2. Don’t mate your relations
  3. Don’t fight with your mates
  4. Don’t mate too much

Last rule to follow is Rule #5: Don’t Mate Longer Than Necessary

Now, not everyone may agree on that last point. And, it is true that a lot of careful planning must be put into it first. However, as you have lots of other work to do outside of the context of an assembly, and as projects are always on a tight deadline, time is of the essence. Therefore, I will show you some fast ways to mate (in SOLIDWORKS, of course). We all know that you can click on the paperclip to activate the mate command, but here are some other methods that will make you rethink how you mate:

It’s amazing the functionality that’s been built into mating in SOLIDWORKS over the years! Most users are only aware of the traditional method (clicking on the paperclip, pre-selecting optional). Most users thought the only enhancement was that if you preselect, you get a handy toolbar near where your second selection was. Now you join the few who know the really cool tricks! You can now apply mates in SOLIDWORKS like a pro!

The Smart Mates trick (alt+drag) really saves a lot of clicks and a lot of mileage on the mouse. The replace mate entities works not just with another part as I’d shown, but as my colleague Alin Vargatu shows us in this blog article, you can also do the same thing using a different face of the same part. I didn’t mention that with the Copy with Mates, the checkbox for Repeat applies a copy of the mate to the same geometry. For instance, if I had chosen that option for the mate to the axis, then all their wings would have appeared on my plate! In fact, I think I’m going to head out to the pub now and see if that really works. Thanks for following our week of SOLIDWORKS Mate Best Practice. I hope you learned something out of it all, or at least were mildly amused.

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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).