Oftentimes, when users work with assemblies, common geometry must be utilized for piecing components together. There are several shortcuts and tools available in the SOLIDWORKS software to make this mating process easier. But a shortcut I feel is underutilized is Multiple mate mode.
Multiple mate mode is a shortcut located in the Mate PropertyManager. It is initiated by clicking the icon depicted below:
In the following example, the assembly’s components have been added, but have yet to be mated together. All the components, excluding the base, will be placed concentrically in the upper cylindrical cavity of the base. To achieve this design intent in an effective manner, Multiple mate mode will be used.
In Multiple mate mode, the first selection is for the common reference. This geometry selection will act as the reference to which all other components relate.
Now is time to select the geometry of the free components. We will see that as the components are selected, they will move to coincide with the primary selection. The new position of these components may not be desirable at first, but that can always be corrected by adding additional mates or manually dragging components to new positions.
Now, a couple of options available in Multiple mate mode include “Create multi-mate folder” and “Link dimensions”.
The “Create multi-mate folder” option will group all new mates in a sub-folder located in the main Mates folder.
The “Create multi-mate folder” option will automatically place the mates into a subfolder located in the Mates folder.
The “Link dimensions” option is only valid for use with Distance and Angle type mates.
So, the Multiple mate mode in SolidWorks is a handy shortcut that allows users to set one reference figure as a common geometric entity for use in multiple mates. Additionally, this shortcut provides users the option for grouping their newly developed mates in a subfolder for easy organization. In the case of distance and angle mate types, an additional option exists to link those dimensions together.
Cameron Hosimer, CSWE
Computer Aided Technology, Inc.