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Are you using the SOLIDWORKS Mate Pop-up Toolbar?

Article by John Lee, CSWP created/updated July 23, 2019

Mating components together in a SOLIDWORKS assembly?  Frequent use of the SOLIDWORKS mate pop-up toolbar can often save you much time and mousing!

The mate pop-up toolbar is not quite as intelligent as the mate manager.  For example, the mate manager will usually predict when a Parallel mate is appropriate instead of a Coincident mate, when clearance is required between the selected entities.  As of the time this article was written, the mate pop-up toolbar is not as intuitive as the mate manager, and may suggest a Coincident mate anyway, even though that may cause an over-constraint in the assembly.  However, that often doesn’t matter if, as the designer, we are aware of the assembly constraints and design intent, and would know to use a Parallel mate instead.

How to use the mate pop-up toolbar:

  1. Select the entities for which you want to create a mate, from among multiple components.
  2. The mate pop-up toolbar will now appear, but it is critical to keep your mouse pointer in the same general area as your last selection, otherwise if you mouse away then the toolbar will quickly fade out of existence like Marty McFly almost does in the guitar-playing scene in that movie, Back To The Future.
  3. Pick the desired mate from the toolbar.  All done!
The mate pop-up toolbar

The mate pop-up toolbar, not quite solid. If I mouse much further away, it will vanish! Here it is suggesting a concentric mate.

The mate pop-up toolbar really shines when we need a Width mate!  Simply pre-select all four faces while holding down Ctrl, and look for the toolbar.  It offers us a width mate, as the only available option based on what we selected.

Width mate

A width mate is the only option, based on these selected faces

We can compare the speed and ease of the mate pop-up toolbar against the Mate Manager which is more intelligent but also more cumbersome to use.  Try setting up the same Width mate using the Mate Manager and it becomes apparent how much more work is involved.

The Mate Manager

The Mate Manager

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John Lee, CSWP

John Lee is inherently lazy in that he prefers to work smarter - not harder. A CSWP with over a decade of experience using SOLIDWORKS and a background in mechanical design, John has used SOLIDWORKS in various industries requiring design for injection molding, sheet metal, weldments and structural steel.

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