Using the Width Mate in SOLIDWORKS Assemblies

Article by Caleb Overcash updated May 2, 2023


Creating an assembly in SOLIDWORKS is an essential part of verifying the functionality of any design, but what holds that assembly together? Mates! Mates are the glue that hold each assembly component together, and with those mates there are several different options to choose from. This article will focus in on one advanced mate, in particular, the Width Mate in SOLIDWORKS. The width mate has proven quite useful ever since its introduction to SOLIDWORKS in 2013. There are several options in this mate alone that make it a valuable and flexible option to use in your assemblies.

The width mate is located within the Advanced tab of the Mate tool, which can be accessed through the assembly tab of the command manager. Notice that the Mate Selections section consists of two separate selection boxes. One selection box is labeled for the width selections and the other is for the tab selections. The width selections should contain the outermost bounding entities, that will act as the limiting boundaries for the mate. The tab selections consist of the outermost entities of the component that is to be constrained between the width selections. An illustration of this selection set is given below to help better understand the selection selections

The red arrows in the image below point to the outer and inner entity selections in the image. The outermost arrows reference the width selection set, and the inner arrows reference the tab selection set; making the yellow slider centered between the outer faces of the trough. It should also be noted that the width mate is not limited to selections that parallel one another. It can also be applied to wedge shapes and cylindrical selections to constrain the given assembly components. When a cylindrical component is selected the central axis is used then only three total selections are needed as the cylinder has a continuous outer face and a central axis that can be used for constraining the components. Just as the selections are versatile for the width mate, so are the options of constraints that are available to be used. There are four different options as to how the width mate can be utilized. These options are as follows, centered between the width selections, allowed to move freely between the width selections or offset from one side by a specified percentage, or dimension.

width selections

In the example below the yellow slide is constrained in such a way that it stays centered width wise in the trough, as well as even with the top. The last constraint placed on the slider is a width mate that allows for free travel along the length of the trough, but within the boundaries of the front and rear faces of the trough body. So, as we can see, the Width Mate holds many useful options making it a valuable mate when adding flexibility to your assemblies.


width mate in SOLIDWORKS

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Caleb Overcash