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Symmetry mates and mirrors

Question asked by Dean Baragar on Apr 1, 2014

Currently in Solidworks, when adding a mate, mirror, or pattern, when you select a face or edge, SW uses that part as the component, instead of the mirroring plane, etc.  I find this to be quite annoying and counter-intuitive.  For example, if I want to mate 2 parts symmetrically about a third part's right plane, I need to select the 2 outside faces, then scroll through the feature tree until I find the correct plane.  If I screw up and select the wrong plane (say top, or a different version of the same part), the parts go haywire, and often times causes mating errors.

I think it would make more sense to go through the feature tree and select the "invisible" part of the mate, then select the two visible components.  The same goes with patterning about an axis, or mirroring in an assembly.  You should select the "origin" first, no?

Am I the only one thinking this way, or is there an easier way to do this kind of thing that I'm missing.  I know I can show the plane/axis, etc. but then when you try to select a solid face, if it is anywhere near a plane it will select the plane instead.