13 Replies Latest reply on Jan 20, 2012 10:32 PM by Mike Price

    How do you organize mates?

    Gregory Page

      How do you organize mates for a large assembly?  I must be missing somtehing as what I have found in SW is unusable on large assemblies.


      1) How do you get SW to keep mates grouped.  The default I get is a long random list.  I need it to keep the mates the define the location or a part or subassembly with that mate so you can find and edit only those mates.  Mates that position other components to that component/assembly should be kept only with that subordinate component.  I have found the "view mates" under the component/assembly right click, but since that removes the rest of the assembly from the display is it pretty much useless.  Is there a way to get it to only show the mates that actually "define" a components position, supress all the non-related mates, and not remove everything else from the display so you can see the rest of the assembly when editing?


      2) How do you get SW to allow you to change 2 mates simultaniously.  To reverse the orientation of a component I often need to flip the mate sense to two features (such as ref planes) at the same time.  The only way I have found in SW to do this requires deleting one mate, flipping the remaining, then re-creating the temporarily deleted constraint.  Unfortunatly this separates the mates in the long mate list.  I can drag the new mate from the bottom of the list but this is a PITA to have to do all the time.


      3) How do you find what SW thinks it is refering to when it says there are mates to a suppressed component and nothing is suppressed at that assembly level?  It supposedly only shows mates in the list if they are at that assembly level, not within one of the subassemblies, so if nothing is suppressed how can it have a mate to a compressed feature?


      4) Is there any way to temporarily roll-back and assembly (like in Pro-e)?  I can roll back a part feature tree, but not an assembly.  If you suppress all the components instead of rolling back the assembly it often closes those files and I often don't want it to.


      Thanks - Greg

        • Re: How do you organize mates?
          Glenn Schroeder

          Welcome to the Forum.


          1)  I almost never look at that long random list you refer to.  Instead I look at the mates in the folder directly under the component name in the FM tree that lists the mates for that component.  The mates with the ground icon beside them are holding that component in place.


          2) You can't change two mates simultaneously but you don't have to delete one of them in the situation you describe. Suppress one of the mates instead of deleting it.  Re-orient both mates, then un-suppress.


          4)  I'm not familiar with Pro-E but in SW you can RMB on a sub-assembly and suppress it.


          Hope this helps.





          3)  The only thing I can think of is that maybe there is a mate in the top level assembly between one component and an entity (edge, surface, plane, etc.) of a component in a sub-assembly, and that component was suppressed in the sub-assembly after the mate was applied.

          • Re: How do you organize mates?
            Matt Neuman

            Hi Gregory,


            When I'm building an assembly I organize the mates into folders.  After I have created the mates for a part I then highlight all of the mates for that part, right click and pick "Add to New Folder", then name the folder appropriately.  This is a huge help when going back to edit something.

            • Re: How do you organize mates?
              John Stoltzfus

              Good morning Gregory,


              Welcome to the Forum,


              All good information, the most important one for me is what Tom Smith mentioned, "Make more Sub-Assemblies"


              There are many different ways to establish the sub-assembly design intent. 


              What I do here is;


              1.  Two or more components welded, riveted, glued or other permanent application

              2.  Two or more Sub-Assemblies create the bottom level Sub-Assemblies and all the attachment hardware.

                   (This could be one side or one panel of a box)

              3.  Two or more bottom level Sub-Assemblies and all the attachment hardware.

                   (This could be all of the four sides of a box)

              4.  Main Assembly which consists of all four Sub-Assemblies


              Like above there are many different ways to establish the Mates using design intent.


              1.  The way I do is to mate the part by creating a in-place mate using a Skeleton Sketch Part as a ref.

              2.  I use the design intent in a way that I can mate the part using the main planes, (front, top, right)

              3.  Circular components can be mated using only two mates using axis or holes, rather than the standard three

              4.  Try to pick on top planes, faces etc, rather than a point that is kind of hidden.


              Yes, you can create Folders and establish a great feature manager tree, however the best way is to simplify your mates and again it is all about design intent when you start an assembly design, how you start, on which plane, top down, bottom up.


              Just my 2 cents,





                • Re: How do you organize mates?
                  Gregory Page

                  I use plenty of subassemblies.  The main assembly file is a complete vehicle.  Each sub-system is a subassembly (there are only about 15-20 compoents it the top level assembly).  Each component in a sub-system is usually a sub assembly.  Those subassemblies usually have subassemblies.  Last time it asked me if I wanted to expand the lightweight components I think it found 6000 or so actual parts.



                    • Re: How do you organize mates?
                      John Stoltzfus

                      Good morning Greg,




                      You asked how we do it and that is what I tried to layout.


                      If you have 6,000 parts you can have as high as 18,000 mates, unless you have patterns for 1,000 parts, which would take your total of 18,000 down to 15,000 mates etc...., wow, thats a lot of mates, as you know what needs to happen; is to break it down so you see smaller samples.





                  • Re: How do you organize mates?
                    Jason Zaperach

                    I learned 3D in 1999 using Pro/E R18.  Pro/E used the idea of uni-directional mates.  Solidworks uses bi-directional mates.  Both have their advantages and disadvantages.  I like the way Solidworks handles mates the best.  My only gripe is the same as yours.  With Pro/E, you knew what mates constrained the part to the assembly and what mates were used to contrain to the part.  But Solidworks doesn't because they're bi-directional.


                    So, what i like to do, all the time, is to mimic real life.  In other words, build your model like you are building the actual product on your actual workbench.  Base first, then part a, using fastener c, etc.  This way, in your tree, you have a somewhat chronological order of parts assembled.  i then like to keep all my mates in a "chronological" order too.  The first mates under each part's mate folder are used to constrain the part, and all other mates in that folder are mates mated to that part.  In order to realise this in an assembly that was built by someone else, you have to reorder the parts logically, then suppress all parts from the bottom up.  I like for my first part to be mated to the origin with the axes aligned (one mate to restrict all degrees of freedom).


                    Speakingof which, 6 DOF are the order in which I like to have my first three or so mates (i.e. x-translation, y-translation, z-translation, x-rotation, y-rotation and z-rotation).  I let my need to restrict the 6 DOF rule what mates I use.  For example, I use parallel instead of coincidence for restriction of my last DOF.


                    When in doubt, MIMIC REAL LIFE!



                      • Re: How do you organize mates?
                        Mike Price

                        Hi Jason,


                        "So, what i like to do, all the time, is to mimic real life.  In other words, build your model like you are building the actual product on your actual workbench. "


                        ProE somewhat forces you to do this as you have indicated.  While I don't spend much time in assemblies on a day to day basis, I do become frustrated with SW's lumping all the mates for a component all together.  Inventor and even Alibre are also "guilty" of this capability and I have found that it leads to a potentially unstable assembly in all the packages.


                        If I want to "redefine" an assy component in SW, it is not inherently obvious as to how that component is placed (at least to me) and depending on assy practices of others, going behind them makes for hours of trying to figure out what is going on.  Seems like ProE is much easier by RMB the component and selecting "redefine".


                        Maybe SW has a round about way to do this, but I don't know of one..............


                        With regards to the original post, SW doesn't deal well with large assy's, but any package will have a problem beyond a certain number of components.  As mentioned sub-assy's are a good way to minimize the pain.