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Magnetic Mates vs Mate References for Assembly Speed and Convenience

Question asked by Zhen Yan on May 10, 2019
Latest reply on May 11, 2019 by Solid Air

I'm trying to automate a part of cost estimation. Typically, we get an engineering drawing of some structure (handful of parts, beams, plates, tubes, etc) for each job. The SW parts are generated from our templates (SW part files), and then passed onto the person that creates the assembly. We would like to reduce the tediousness of adding mates to each part manually, by introducing magnetic mates/mate references into our templates. Which of these two would work better? Or should I do a mixture of both? I'm a programmer that use SW for hobby and school, so there's also the possibility I'm not making the most out of these features by not setting things up correctly.


Some example assembly configurations: loads are typically placed at the center of the top/bottom faces of a plate. Beams are usually loaded on the top/bottom faces/flanges (I, C, etc), or it could be oriented vertically, could be on top of a plate, or another member.


Magnetic Mates


  • Drag drop anywhere any time in an assembly


  • Could be finicky when there are multiple mates possible and it flickers between them, then adjusting it by dragging creates a new conflicting mate etc ...
  • Seems to only connect specific points. Can't do just a coincident mate between contacting faces


Mate References


  • More flexible, can do coincident mates


  • Can only make them when they're dragged in, or using Assembly>Move>SmartMate (might not be a huge deal)
  • Naming and order of definition might make it less effective