3 Tips for Mating Best Practices in SOLIDWORKS 2023

Article by Adam Ferrer updated July 4, 2023


SOLIDWORKS assembly opening is comprised of different stages and performance checks. If foundational mating best practices aren’t applied when creating assemblies, they will build up over time and there will be noticeable slowdowns when working with them.

If your assemblies are slow to work with, it’s likely suffering from symptoms of poor practices when they were created.

Figure 1: SOLIDWORKS assembly opening procedure.

Figure 1: SOLIDWORKS assembly opening procedure.

Mating best practice

Here are three basic tips for setting up a good foundation for assembly performance.

Tip 1: Use one or two fixed components or references.

When there is a larger quantity of components or references in the assemblies it takes longer for SOLIDWORKS to solve and becomes more error-prone.

Mating best practice: Figure 2: Good mate scheme.

Figure 2: Good mate scheme.

Figure 3: Mate scheme to avoid.

Figure 3: Mate scheme to avoid.

Tip 2: Do not create Circular references

Mating best practice Circular references

Adding subsequent mates will lead to conflicts and SOLIDWORKS must rebuild and solve circular mating schemes. When SOLIDWORKS recognizes a circular mate, it will show you in the Performance Evaluation.

Performance Evaluation

Tip 3: Avoid Redundant Mates

SOLIDWORKS does allow some redundant mates (all but distance and angle). This mating scheme is harder to understand if problems occur and take more time to solve.

assembly model, the same degree of freedom for the block is defined

In this assembly model, the same degree of freedom for the block is defined using two distance mates, which over defines the model. Even though the mates are geometrically consistent (none of them are being violated), the model is still over defined.

Since three isn’t enough…

Here are some extra tips for ensuring better assembly performance:

  • Drag components to test their available degrees of freedom.
  • Use limit mates sparingly because they take longer to solve.
  • Fix mate errors as soon as they occur. Adding mates never fixes earlier mate problems.
  • Drag components into the approximate correct location and orientation before adding mates because this gives the mate solver application a better chance of snapping components into the right location.
  • If a component is causing problems, it is often easier to delete all its mates and re-create them instead of diagnosing each one. This is especially true with aligned/anti-aligned and dimension direction conflicts (you can flip the direction that a dimension is measuring). Use View Mates or expand the component in the FeatureManager design tree using Tree Display > View Mates and Dependencies to see the mates for components.
  • Whenever possible, fully define the position of each part in the assembly, unless you need that part to move to visualize the assembly motion. Assemblies with many interrelated available degrees of freedom take longer to solve, have less predictable behavior when you drag parts, and are prone to “nuisance” errors (errors that fix themselves when you drag). Drag components to check their remaining degrees of freedom.
  • Whenever possible, create mates in subassemblies rather than the top-level assembly to reduce the rebuild time of the top-level assembly.
  • Dragging a component occasionally snaps it into place and fixes mate errors.
  • Suppressing and unsuppressing mates with errors sometimes fixes mate errors.
  • When you create mates to parts with in-context features (features whose geometry references other components in the assembly), avoid creating circular references.
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Adam Ferrer

Adam Ferrer is a graduate from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Technology in Automotive and Vehicle Engineering Technology degree. He is a Technical Marketing Specialist at Javelin.