Since I’ve been working for the company, I tend to run into people who haven’t heard of Solid Edge, haven’t heard of them in 10 years and/or just assumed that Solid Edge was a low rent copy of Solid Works. Sounds like we have our work cut out for us, right? Solid Edge has been around for about 17 years, and while Edge and Works did look alike 15 years ago, there has been a lot of time for differentiation. The products look different. Edge uses the MS Ribbon, and Works uses something like the Ribbon they worked up themselves.
I love cool design. I love cool manufacturing processes too. It’s fun to do cool design for cool processes. But sometimes the whole system goes wrong. You’ve got to be careful, even when you’re cool. Or maybe especially when you’re cool.
Kim works downtown, and sometimes I go see her for lunch. I swear these thoughts are related. There is a cool Cuban restaurant downtown that we’ve been to a couple of times. I like it there. It has big windows, and they play salsa music too loud, and its right on the street level, so the people watching opportunities are pretty much endless.
The other day at the Cuban restaurant, I noticed that someone did some cool design on their chair backs. Then I noticed that they also used used a laser to cut the cool patterns out of the chair backs, with all those sharp inside corners you can only do with lasers. Some lightning bolt through a fruit with a leaf or something. This design is cool, but it doesn’t have anything to do with this particular Cuban restaurant. That’s when I noticed that about half of the chair backs were missing some pieces. Yes, the patterns were cool, but they didn’t pass the reality test. If you look closely, you notice that there are a couple of long spiky pieces that are only held on by two very small pieces of material. All it takes is one purse strap or a belt loop to get snagged, and (beyond a potentially embarrassing situation), you’re going to have a chair missing half a lightning bolt, and possibly a horrible injury. The fact that some pieces were missing meant that someone somewhere was already aware of the problem. The edges of the broken off pieces were ground smooth, and painted. Read more on Design and Process…
I’m always blown away when I see what other people design with their CAD tools. That was part of the reason I liked working as an independent design consultant. I was always working on something different. Everything from high heels to hand grenades.
Solid Edge has some new case studies out that might be worth reading if you’re trying to get a handle on how some companies are making use of Synchronous Technology. One of my favorites has been the Space Dynamics Laboratory, associated with Utah State University. I wrote an article about John Devitry and his Solid Edge students about a year ago. Read more on Interesting Case Studies…
Evan Yares is a guy I have often quoted over the last several years. He’s now the General Manager of Nanosoft America, but he found time to finish up a series of articles he started to write for 3D CAD World entitled The Failed Promise of Parametric CAD. I take issue with a little bit of what he said but the overall message is something you need to pay attention to. The only problem with what he has to say is that the title of the piece, The Failed Promise of Parametric CAD implies that a system like Solid Edge is something other than parametric. It’s possible for a non-history based CAD system to be parametric. I would have called the articles The Failed Promise of History-Only CAD. You’ll get a lot more perspective on the whole issue if you go back to the beginning and read it all. It’s well worth the read, even beyond the topic at hand. Evan puts a lot of stuff in historical perspective, and digs in behind the hype in most cases.
This is not a weakness of a single CAD brand, but of the entire concept of history-based feature modelers.
Family of Parts gives you control that SW’s Configurations don’t provide.
Last time we created a FoP table, and you get the idea of how you would go about creating a larger family.
One of the things you can do with an FoP is use the table to create a set of independent parts. Then you can control the parts using the table, or you can unlink the parts by deleting them from the table. A big benefit of the Edge system is that you can remove the part from the FoP but keep the part in the assembly, without losing any links to it. Read more on Managing Family of Parts…