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SolidWorks mechanical mates overview

When we talk about designing large component assembly we need to define the position of the part in that design. The position is fixed or with a minimum DOF ( Degree of Freedom). While part assembling on software the designer knows which component is assembling when and how. In actual practice, the same track is followed by the worker. When will the first part is attaching to the main body.

The main reason for designing the assembly on the software is to know the clearances between the components. Secondly, the overall visualization of the assembly, like how it is going to look after manufacturing and assembly. Thirdly, the steps or the sequence in which the parts are attaching to the main body.

However, while designing the assembly on SolidWorks the parts are having some degree of freedom. These degrees of freedom are not suitable while assembling the components. To restrain this degree of freedom mates are used. The mate is a feature available in the designing software. It is used while fixing some degree of freedom with respect to other components.

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The term “Mates” means connecting or connecting mechanically.

Mates in Solidworks

To apply the mechanical mates we need to open parts in the design assembly. There using the mate option we can connect the two or more parts using the mates option. In mates option, we have many options available like Standard, Advanced, Mechanical, and Analysis. Out of these mate options, we generally use Standard mates and mechanical mates.

Types of mates option

  • Standard Mates
  • Advanced Mates
  • Mechanical Mates

Standard Mates

  • Coincident
  • parallel
  • Perpendicular
  • Tangent
  • Concentric
  • Lock
  • Distance
  • Angle
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Advanced Mates

  • Profile center
  • Symmetric
  • Width
  • Path Mate
  • Liner/ Liner Coupler
  • distance and angle

Mechanical Mates

  • Cam
  • Slot
  • Hinge
  • Gear
  • Rack Pinion
  • Screw
  • Universal Joint

Mechanical Mates

Mechanical mates are used when the assembly is used for motion study and the parts need to follow certain motions. In mechanical mates, we can see the following mate types Cam, Slots, Hinge, Gear, Rack Pinion, Screw, and Universal joint. These available mate types follow the main principle of the mentioned names.

  • Cam mate type we need to define the Cam path and Cam follower. Similar to the Cam mechanism where the follower follows the cam profile or the profile path. Likewise, the same standard principle is following in other mate types.

  • Slot mate type the rod will be in equidistance to the top and bottom surface of the slot and will not exceed the curved surface of the slot.
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  • Hinge mate type, the center hole is concentric in nature and longitudinal displacement fixed.

  • Gear mate type the tooths of the gears are in tangency with each other and rotational motion is applied to the driving gear.

  • Rack and Pinion mate type is used when the assembly follows rack and pinion gear motion.

  • Universal Joint mate

It is our presence of mind and understanding of which mate type is applicable when and where.

After assigning the mates we can change the mates by going to the design tree and in the mates dropdown. We can delete the mates make changes and change the mate reference by right-clicking on the specific mates and clicking on edit features.