SOLIDWORKS 2017 sees the introduction of Magnetic Mates! When first previewed at SOLIDWORKS World 2016 it was simply introduced as Magnetic Mates. However right through Beta and now with SP0 it is grouped in the What’s New document under Facility Layout! Facility Layout tools are being promoted – “use special tools and workflows when you work with very large models such as plant layouts”
But I thinks this under values perhaps what is the best use for Magnetic Mates. And that would be, it’s times saving ability when used to Mate multiple simple parts!
Magnetic Mates work by snapping connection points together, These connecting points can be added to either Parts and Assemblies. Connecting points are created by the use of the new Asset Publisher, Tools>Asset Publisher The Asset Publisher is used to create a Ground Plane and the Connecting Points. The assigned ground plane snaps the “asset” to a corresponding plane when inserted into a Assembly. Connecting points can be named and are generated when selecting a vertex, a linear edge (at the midpoint) or a circular edge (at the centre point). A face is required (per connection selected) to provide the direction for snapping the assets together. Any number of connecting points can be created per part or assembly (“asset”) It is in the Assembly that we see the real gain in time saving with reduced mouse selections! When a part is selected (Left click), the connecting points (of the “assets”) are displayed as purple (magenta) globes.By dragging the “asset” near another “asset” a linking elastic band determines the connection. Parts automatic rotate to align, as per the direction face made in the Asset Publisher. Once a band appears the “asset” can be released. It will then “magnetically” snap together! The part (in this case) shows in the FeatureTree as being fixed. However they are Magnetic Mates! Like real magnets if you select the asset and drag, the mate releases! Interesting there is a ON/OFF function. Tools>Magnetic Mates ON/OFF If changed to OFF, it currently allows the magnetic mate to be broken but not reattached! Ideally when selected OFF it would “fix” the assets in there current location I was unsure of Magnetic Mates until I started having a closer look at them! I think they have some good uses, especially with simple assemblies which uses the same part multiple times!
Which leads to another handy new feature, Group Component Instances, to use within Assemblies in SOLIDWORKS 2017.
Group Component Instances can be selected under Tree Display (right-click the top-level assembly) and select. Group Component Instances automatically group the same components with the same configuration into a folder-like structure. Grouping can greatly condense the length of the FeatureManager design tree Whilst I’m playing with the Domino’s (sorry about that pun), there is a very useful new enhancement to Configurations. Previous to SOLIDWORKS 2017 configurations were listed as you created them (History-Based)
Now in the ConfigurationManager, by right-click the top-level configuration you can select Tree Order. The tree Order can then be sorted by History, Numerical, Literal (alphabetical) or by Manual (Drag & Drop) The Tree Order selected in a Part (or Sub-Assembly level) ConfigurationManager is reflected in the drop down selection menu of the part, in the Assembly
Don’t let that take away from the uses of Magnetic Mates, or the ability to customise Configurations and the new feature of Group Component Instances in SOLIDWORKS 2017.
Let me leave you with a quick display of Magnetic Mates .