24 Replies Latest reply on Aug 24, 2017 9:05 AM by Matt Peneguy

    Fragile angle mates

    Gary Lucas

      Why are angular mates so fragile and constantly flipping around?  I nearly always do angular mates from reference plane to reference plane, which should be robust as no geometry is involved.  They still unexpectedly flip around in my models which is maddening.

        • Re: Fragile angle mates
          Jim Steinmeyer

          Not a solution but you might find some suggestions here:



          If nothing more it lets you know you are not alone.


          And the chant grows louder......ONE AND TWO, ONE AND TWO, ONE AND TWO

          • Re: Fragile angle mates
            John Stoltzfus

            Change your angle mates to a Sketch and mate coincident to the sketch line...  Angle, Tangent and Limit Mates will flip, not maybe - they will.  Add sketches to your parts that would only be used for mating, the only positive way....

              • Re: Fragile angle mates
                Todd Bush

                Just started to use this a few weeks back. works real nice

                • Re: Fragile angle mates
                  Gary Lucas


                  Seriously?  A function that is basic to the very core of 3D modeling and was introduced probably in one of the first Betas of SW is broken and everyone just accepts it?  I should go through our library of thousands of parts and add sketches in every direction that I might want to angle the part?  I used the reference planes for the angles, NO part geometry. I use reference planes as much as possible in all mates.  This is completely unacceptable.  I'll tell you what I told the service manager at the Ford dealer after the mechanic screwed up my car.

                  "I understand you don't have the balls to solve this problem.  Point out the guy who did this work and I will fire him for you!"

                    • Re: Fragile angle mates
                      John Stoltzfus

                        - There are choices - take your pick...  There are a lot of features, and icons within SolidWorks that are Not robust enough, period.  So we do what we have to do to save our face and that is come up with a workflow that optimizes SW in how we do it.


                      The 2 year old flaying his arms in the middle of the aisle in WalMart - syndrome isn't going to get you anywhere either, so again there's choices, "Dance or get off the floor"


                      Till SW fixes their issues paste the following in every crash report


                      ONE TWO


                      One Two – Me & You

                      One Two – A Dog Named Boo

                      One Two – How do you do

                      One Two – Designing A Shoe

                      One Two – One Eyelet Not Two

                      One Two – Oh!! -The Software Went Boo

                      One Two – When Designing a Shoe

                      One Two – Fix It!!  One & Two

                      One Two – So I can buckle my Shoe

                      One Two – Now What Should I Do??

                      One Two – Can’t Run that’s true

                      One Two – I have No Shoe

                      One Two – Cross eyed – Face Blue

                      One Two – Sputter mutter to You

                      One Two – Come on …  You too

                      One Two – My Shoe where are You?

                      One Two – It Flew, Oh! It flew

                      One Two – Fix The Software So I can Design A shoe, not a train, not a brain, not a drain, not a crane, no no no,  Just a shoe.............................

                      • Re: Fragile angle mates
                        Jim Sculley

                        Are you using Reference Entities for your angle mates? 

                        • Re: Fragile angle mates
                          S. Casale

                          I see that this post has caused you Fragile Anger, Mate.


                          Don't worry it'll get better.

                        • Re: Fragile angle mates
                          Dennis Dohogne

                          That's an excellent tip, John.  And with the things we just learned about Selection Sets I won't have to surf for the controlling sketch!

                        • Re: Fragile angle mates
                          Tom Gagnon

                          Considering my own solution in comparison, John Stoltzfus's sketch based solution sounds more stable in a broader range of contexts. That said..


                          I've stabilized angle mates by sticking to Parallel mates instead. I create a reference plane in the overall assembly, defined by a primary axis, a primary Plane, and an angle value. This reference plane is stable for aligning components in Parallel relation (which can be align-flipped while Perpendicular cannot). I'll create multiple reference planes as needed for drains, blowdown or bleed valves, gussets, or whatever. Even virtual weldment parts can retain relations to the reference planes in its 3D Sketches.


                          Although this is potentially a separate topic (sorry if sidetracked), what bothers me broadly about all relations and mates in general is the invisible natural polarity of entities. A sketch line has a start point and an end point. An axis placed there has a positive and opposite direction as toggled with flipped alignment. When a weldment group is placed on one line in a sketch, and another group is placed on another sketch line, they initially populate in different relation to its start/end from when and how it was drawn, although this object polarity is entirely undetectable until you try it out. I believe that the only exception to invisible polarity is the positive and opposite directions of a reference plane, which may appear blue-ish or magenta-ish depending on which direction you are viewing it from. This is something I haven't concisely summarized into, "follow these steps to reproduce results," but rather a general expectation of the need to adapt with implementation and choose from given options when relevant.

                            • Re: Fragile angle mates
                              Jim Steinmeyer


                              Your mention of bluish and magenta sides of the planes reminds me of my Pro-E days where there was a definite front  and back of the planes. you mated to one side or the other of the plane and there was no  willy- nilly flipping.

                              • Re: Fragile angle mates
                                Jim Sculley

                                Nowhere does this hidden 'polarity' (I use the term 'sense') frustrate me more than with concentric mates.  Clearly SOLIDWORKS has determined a 'sense' for each axis or circular feature you are trying to make concentric.  So, here's a novel idea, why not SHOW IT TO THE USER ON THE SCREEN!  A nice arrow on each component.  Aligned will point them in the same direction, flipped will point them in opposite directions.  They throw ridiculous 3D overlays for every operation under the sun (really, who modifies a feature by imprecisely sliding a dot around on the screen like this)


                                but the sense associated with a circular axis or feature is some sort of deeply held corporate secret, only to be revealed after a proper background check, retinal scan and exchange of double secret handshake.

                                • Re: Fragile angle mates
                                  Dwight Livingston


                                  Good post. Polarity shows up sometimes in fillets, where the ends finish in opposite directions, though the geometry is symmetrical.


                                • Re: Fragile angle mates
                                  Dennis Dohogne

                                  We share your frustration, Gary, and it isn't for our lack of asking.  I had posted this in the Top Ten wish list in late 2016.  It garnered a good amount of votes, but the important thing was to get it on the list as a defacto enhancement request and to generate some discussion about the issue.


                                  Provide Controls to Prevent Tangent and Other Mates from Flipping

                                  Created on Oct 14, 2016 12:14 PM by Dennis Dohogne - Last Modified: Oct 14, 2016 12:14 PM

                                  Current State

                                  Cam, Tangent, and even Parallel mates can flip on us.  The new flipped position is technically accurate, i.e., the things might still be legitimately tangent, but on the wrong side.  Either we deal with this by suppressing the mate and moving things closer to where they should be before unsuppressing the mate OR we have to get pretty darn creative to add other mates to limit the motion to keep the offending mate from flipping.  Often these other mates, such as limit mates, introduce their own instabilities.  We've learned this rule of thumb: Limit your use of Limit Mates.

                                  Future State

                                  Once we get a mate arranged the way we want it would be nice to have a control we can apply for that mate to keep it from flipping.  This could perhaps be keeping unit normals aligned/anti-alingned, or perhaps offer a built in travel limit.

                                  Why this is important to the customers?

                                  As we use SOLIDWORKS to make ever more complicated machines we need to be able to trust the constructions we've made to stay properly arranged.  Cam and Tangent mates are notorious for flipping to the point of us exercising great restraint on their use.  By preventing these flips we can more quickly and reliably make our machines move as they should.  Ultimately this will improve productivity.

                                  Competitor’s solution :  Unknown


                                  What's that you say?  You searched for this and couldn't find it?  Well that's because the tremendous amount of great content generated for those wish lists gets blocked just before SWX World, never to be seen againWhat a crying shame!

                                  Will the Top Ten List be handled differently this year?

                                  Need Help Creating an Unrestricted Top Ten List

                                  What are Your Suggestions for making Top Ten Voting Easier?

                                  Grab the Top Ten Stuff You're Interested in Before it Disappears

                                    • Re: Fragile angle mates
                                      Andrew Troup

                                      I'm having all the problems mentioned (and thanks to Jim Sculley for the timely tip on reference entities)

                                      And more to boot: lately, when using 2016 SP5 (which I am forced to do for some clients who do not share Dassault's enthusiasm for updating early and often) I am finding that angle mates cannot even be created, in situations where there is no valid reason (perpendicular and parallel mates still work, and the component can be dragged to any intermediate angle).


                                      I concur with those who say Solidworks should, as a first priority, fix stuff which does not work as documented, consistently and reliably, and only consider "updating" functionality once the previous functionality is fully debugged.

                                      And SP5 should be fully sorted, any year and every year. (There are several key areas of 2016 which regularly fail, such as renaming files with in-context references in Solidworks Explorer, an acknowledged and unaddressed bug)

                                      If SP5 is not good to go, users need to get a refund of their uprgrade/service fee.

                                    • Re: Fragile angle mates
                                      Gary Lucas

                                      How about a HOLIDAY?  Pull all the SW programmers off creating any new features until you actually FIX THE EXISTING ONES!!!!!

                                      Routing plastic pipe today, because that's what we do like all day every day.  This is driving me insane.  I should bill you for the lost time!  Pipes, elbows, tees, valves just flipping all over the place.  I use what should be very robust methods, relations between reference planes, serial relations from one fitting to the next, only one part referenced to the assembly reference planes.  This should be bulletproof in a program that has been on the market this long.


                                      Lean in close so you can hear this:  WE PAY FOR YOU TO FIX THIS STUFF THROUGH YOUR MAINTENANCE FEES!!

                                        • Re: Fragile angle mates
                                          John Stoltzfus

                                          Gary Lucas wrote:

                                          Lean in close so you can hear this: WE PAY FOR YOU TO FIX THIS STUFF THROUGH YOUR MAINTENANCE FEES!!

                                          Really - I thought the subscription covers only the marketing drive for the next best thing that doesn't work till 2-3 years and SP20 later..

                                          • Re: Fragile angle mates
                                            Matt Peneguy

                                            Our group is so frustrated with this and other issues that we are looking into the Skeleton Sketch Part method that John Stoltzfus has been helping us with.  It has been around for a number of years and appears to be a stable way to handle this type of thing.  Sketch relations seem more robust and predictable than mates.  Maybe there should be a stability rating, rated by the users, for new or troublesome features in SolidWorks.  So, when you are working on a project you could look at the list and be sure you avoid using the new or troublesome features.  And if you are experimenting with a new method or have a project at home you are working on, you could test some of these features.  Of course all of this should be happening internally at Dassault, but we may as well admit that we are their Beta testers...

                                            Maybe we should start a thread "Unstable or Broken Features" in the meantime?

                                            ONE and TWO