Different ways to Mate with a SLOT -1

Now we have finished and learned the techniques of making a SLOT, the second question comes up in the mind is “How to Mate with a SLOT”. Again there can be several ways to achieve this and one may adopt the method which he/she finds easy and quick to use. In this chapter let’s discuss about various simple ways of mating with a SLOT.

To use these methods you need a simple plate with a Slot of any size, a cylindrical, rectangular or square part with diameter/width equal to or less than slot width. In this chapter I’m going to use the cylindrical part (pin). I will be covering another discussion on same topic with a square part too.

Start you assembly with the plate inserted as the base part and fixed. You can also use mating techniques to position your plate. Now insert you pin which you want to mate with the slot.


Method 1: With your assembly opened and both the part inserted, select the back face of the plate and bottom face of the pin. Add a coincident mate between them. You can select front and top faces too. This is to set the initial position. Now show on the temporary axis (View > Temporary axis) to display the temporary axis of the pin. Select the side face of the plate and the temporary axis of the pin and give a distance mate. Repeat this with the bottom face. Your pin is now in to the required position.


Method 2: Using the same technique as described in method 1, use the planes instead of the temporary axis of pin to give distance mates with the side and bottom faces of the plate. Your planes may vary from the one shown in the picture.

The difference in the above two methods is that in Method 1 the part is not fully define and its free to revolve on its axis whereas in Method 2, the part gets fully defined.

Method 3: This is a combination of above 2 methods. Add a distance mate using the side face of the plate with the corresponding plane of the pin. Now show up the temporary axis if they are not on. Select either of the temporary axes of the slot and corresponding plane of the pin. Add a coincident mate.

Method 4: If your slot width and diameter of the pin and equal then you can use this method. Add a tangent mate between the side face of the slot and the cylindrical face of the second part. Then add a distance mate with the bottom/side face depending upon the location of your slot with the corresponding plane/temporary axis of the pin.


Method 5: In this method, RMB on the edge of the plate and select “Midpoint”. Then select the corresponding plane of the pin and add a coincident mate. Then add a distance mate with the bottom/side face depending upon the location of your slot with the corresponding plane of the pin.

Method 6: This is tricky method and I prefer to use this method most of the time. Open the plate and edit the slot sketch. Add these two construction lines to your slot sketch. Now in assembly, select to show the slot sketch. Use the planes of the pin and mate them with the corresponding construction line



These are few of the methods which I use for mating with a slot. I would be interesting to hear if you more methods or any other method that you use for mating with the slot.

Author: Deepak Gupta

New Delhi, India

11 thoughts on “Different ways to Mate with a SLOT -1”

  1. i normally add a plane perpendicular to the length of the slot. so basically where you see the straight plane and the round plane connect. from there i add a distance mate with one of the planes of the cylinder.

  2. > “I would be interesting to hear if you more methods or any other method that you use for mating with the slot.”

    Edit slot sketch
    Select lines -> Spline Tools: Fit Spline
    Exit the sketch. The slot is now one continuous surface.

    Use a Tangent Mate on the cylinder.
    With the single, spline-driven slot face, the tangent mate also limits the movement of the cylinder. No distance mates needed. You can add another mate to control the rotation of the cylinder.

    The spline will update when changing the original width/height dims of the slot. This can be very useful when you want to quickly simulate something riding in a curved track.

  3. Sometimes I create an axis first, and then use the axis as the center of the slot when I create the slot. This way, downstream I know I have an axis for mating if/when its needed.

    Also, you can use a symmetric mate to put the pin directly in the center of the slot without adding any manual dimension constraints… a bit more parametric this way.

  4. If you use one of the new slot sketch tools (in version 2009) it will automatically add a temporary axis to the center of the slot. Line that up coincident with the temp axis of the pin and you’re set.

    And if you want more realistic movement freedom from the pin try using the LimitDistance mate.

  5. Pingback: Ryan
  6. I usually mate the axis of the pin to the plane along the center of the slot.

    Another mate that I often use is to add a LIMIT distance mate between the axis and the plane perpendicular to the slot center. I use the values of (slot size/2) and (-slot size/2) for the upper and lower bounds.

    This gives the freedom to allow for movement but also limits the range of motion (nominal) without the use of collision detection.

  7. Thanks for the great article. It is very impressive.
    Do you mind to advise, how difficult is to convert the 2 D design to 3D? Tool design using solid work requires any software customization? Such as library?

  8. @Tool Maker, thanks for your comment.

    Converting a 2d design into 3d is not at all difficult provided what 3d modeling expertise you have (which can enhance once you start using a 3d tool) and kind of complexity you looking to build in 3d models. Using SolidWorks is quite easy and one can train himself/herself in very less time. Also there are lot of websites/blog offering free tutorials.

    Regarding software customization, which is a very vast term I believe; what is your specific need or what exactly you looking from customization of SolidWorks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By submitting a comment here you grant this site a perpetual license to reproduce your submitted words and name in attribution. Please note, comments are moderated to cut spam, so they may not appear instantly when submitted.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.