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Best Practices for Mates

  • Whenever possible, mate all components to one or two fixed components or references. Long chains of components take longer to solve and are more prone to mate errors.
    Good mate scheme
    Mate scheme to avoid
  • Do not create loops of mates. They lead to mate conflicts when you add subsequent mates.

  • Avoid redundant mates. Although SOLIDWORKS allows some redundant mates (all except distance and angle), these mates take longer to solve and make the mating scheme harder to understand and diagnose if problems occur.
    In this assembly model, the same degree of freedom for the blue 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.
  • 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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