Welcome to TPM's Three Minute Thursday. In Tricks of Mating Part Three (here's part one, and part two for reference), I showed the power of magnetic mates in applications like facility layout. Today I'll show how to leverage magnetic mates for rapid assembly and repositioning and applications without ground planes.
Working With Magnetic Mates in SOLIDWORKS
If you're not familiar with magnetic mates, they're used to quickly snap components into place. They also allow you to simply pull parts away and snap them into a different location. This flexibility makes them an amazing tool when frequent reuse and repositioning is required.
Let's first look at the component setup within the parts, or sub assemblies. The asset publisher is used to prepare the model for use with magnetic mates. We identify a ground plane and all connection points. A ground plane is required here, even if it won't be used to snap to a ground plane in the assembly. I'll define connections on both the top and bottom of every post location since I'll be stacking these parts. Each connection point is defined using an edge vertex or sketch point for the location -- along with a face or plane to define the orientation. That's really it for the setup.
Now these components immediately begin seeking connections to other components when they get dragged within an assembly, and it can be a new assembly or existing assemblies, so I'll begin a new assembly and test these parts. I don't need to define a ground plane within my assembly because I want the parts only to snap to each other and not to a common ground. I'll simply add some parts and snap them into position. I hold down the ctrl key and drag a part to create and position another instance of that component. I can drag them away and reposition very quickly.
Magnetic mates can also be locked and unlocked to hold position. When placing the component, use the in context toolbar to lock or right-click the magnetic mate in the mates folder to lock or unlock. There's also a few settings under Performance to adjust the experience.
The proximity setting adjusts how close you need to get to connection points to get them to snap in. Pre alignment enables the dragged part to preview connection point orientation before releasing the snap. Simply adjust these settings along with the mate animation speed, and then magnetic mates will behave according to your preferences.
For applications that demand rapid placement and easy repositioning, I highly recommend the Magic of Magnetic Mates. Thanks for joining TPM's Three Minute Thursday!