22 Replies Latest reply on Jun 1, 2015 9:41 AM by Glenn Schroeder

    Best practices for organizing and cleaning up mates?

    Nathan Rollins

      Hi all,

       

      I have an assembly that has many mates that are gray - not suppressed and not failed or over constrained.  I am pretty sure all of these are external (could not check them all) - meaning that components get assembled to these features in higher level assemblies.

       

      What are these mates called?  (External mates?)

       

      They severely clutter the tree and while working ion the sub-assy, they are completely irrelevant - right?  I would never want to address them if I am not in the upper assy.  At least I cannot think of a case where I would want access to them.  Can their display be shut off?  Dealing with mates in SWX has gotten better over the last four releases since I migrated over from Pro/Easy land... ("Easy" has the <sarcasm> tag for clarification) - but managing mates in SWX still pretty much sucks in comparison - in my opinion.  Functionally, they

      are superior, but trouble shooting and managing... not so much.

       

      Sorry for the rant - any tips on wrangling mates in a big assy?

       

      Thanks!

       

      -Nate

        • Re: Best practices for organizing and cleaning up mates?
          Glenn Schroeder

          Nathan,

           

          Maybe it's just me, but I'm having trouble following you.  Typically when a mate is gray in the tree it's suppressed, either completely or in the active configuration.  I especially don't understand the part about "these features in higher level assemblies".  Are these grayed out mates you're referring to showing up in the main assembly or sub-assembly?  Where are they in the tree, in the main Mates folder right below the list of components, or in the Mates folder for the individual component or sub-assembly?

           

          Glenn

            • Re: Best practices for organizing and cleaning up mates?
              Nathan Rollins

              Hi Glenn,

               

              My "higher level assy" comment was an assumption that I made too quickly.  It sounded good at the time - the short investigation I did at the time showed a purple dashed line of the face it was looking for that I thought belonged to a component that was mated to it in a higher level - indeed, it was, but that is not the reason for the mate to be gray.  The mates I am speaking of are not suppressed.  I think Jamil has identified what I am seeing - the "External" note in the mate - for whatever reason - refers to the fact that the original component was deleted.  I though that when I deleted a part from an assy, the mates got deleted with it.  Maybe there's a setting that prevents that?  When the software hangs on to all of the mates of deleted components, the mates "folder" can get awfully lengthy.  Is there a good reason to keep these un-needed mates?  Is there a way to have them deleted when their component gets deleted?  Here are some screen shots - to prove I am not crazy...

               

              Thanks for replying!

               

               

               

            • Re: Best practices for organizing and cleaning up mates?
              Jamil Snead

              I don't believe there are such things as external mates as you describe. Any mates that happen at a higher level assembly should not show up in the subassembly. If you have mates that are gray but can't be unsuppressed then they may belong to parts that are suppressed, or to entities that no longer exist. Regarding the latter, one would expect this to cause a mate error, which does happen sometimes. However I just discovered that if you are in a top assembly and you mate to a part in a subassembly, then delete that part from the subassembly, the mate will remain in the top assembly and be grayed out and not show any error. So this could be happening to you. To help figure it out you can right click on the mate and Edit Feature. Then it may say the following:

              **Suppressed**... - This means it is a mate to a suppressed part

              **External**... - This means it is a mate to a part in a suppressed subassembly or it is a mate to a part that has been deleted from a subassembly.

               

              If you are sure that the mate is not needed in any other configurations of the current assembly then I'd just delete it.

                • Re: Best practices for organizing and cleaning up mates?
                  Nathan Rollins

                  Jamil,

                   

                  I think you are exactly right - The component was deleted.  I never knew "external" was a synonym for "deleted"...  Only in Solidworkspeak...

                   

                  The good thing is I can multi-select the gray mates and "batch delete" - or better "externalize" them  :^)

                   

                  I still wonder what the reason is for the software to keep them.  Aren't they completely useless?  Maybe if I assembled a new component in the deleted one's place and wanted to repair the mate...  But in that case I would use "Replace Component" - right?

                   

                  Silly until proven otherwise.

                   

                  Thanks again for your relentless help.

                   

                  -Nate

                    • Re: Best practices for organizing and cleaning up mates?
                      Peter De Vlieger

                      Nathan Rollins wrote:

                      ...  I never knew "external" was a synonym for "deleted"... ...

                       

                      Not a synonym at all. The clue lays in what Jamil correctly put forward, namely

                      "...**Suppressed**... - This means it is a mate to a suppressed part...."

                      and

                      "...**External**... - This means it is a mate to a part in a suppressed subassembly..."

                       

                      Although it's surpressed in this configuration of an ASM it could very well be that it is needed when in a different config state .

                       

                      Surpressed doesn't equal to deleted which means that unless you are absolutely positively utterly sure that there's no way that the mate in question could be of any value in any configuration then you should leave well enough alone, especially if there's any chance that other people will have to work with the ASM in question.

                       

                      Just my two cents

                       

                      Have a nice one

                      Peter

                        • Re: Best practices for organizing and cleaning up mates?
                          Nathan Rollins

                          Peter - I'm getting it now!  Thanks for your furthered explanation

                           

                          I am wondering if SWX treats suppressed items as if they are deleted - they just don't exist in the database WRT the processing.  So, if the reference does not exist, it could be suppressed or deleted and the sw cannot know which - by design.  That is good knowlege to understand, I guess.

                           

                          **Suppressed** is known because the reference exists in the same database, but **External** is unknown because the database (assy) cannot be expected to keep track of all the links - think of a screw and all the assemblies it could be referenced by.

                           

                          Thanks !

                           

                          -Nate

                    • Re: Best practices for organizing and cleaning up mates?
                      Mike Helsinger

                      Another strategy for you - Folders

                       

                      If your assembly has many components with loads of mates and you want to organize your tree, select groups of mates, and right click to create a folder.  This can be done with mates, with components in your assembly, or with features in your parts.  You can then name your folders to keep them orderly, a folder of hardware or fasteners for example.

                       

                      Also in case you hadn't seen before, if you are concerned with the mates for a particular component they are default ordered under that component's Mates subfolder.

                      • Re: Best practices for organizing and cleaning up mates?
                        John Stoltzfus

                        Thanks for your rant, learning new tips is always a good thing.