The whole thrust of this post is that in Solid Edge Synchronous Assemblies, you can design parts in the context of the assembly without creating any of the debilitating effects of references between parts. So you can make design intent go back and forth between parts, which you can’t do in your old CAD system because of “circular references”. You can make references to a part in one assembly, put it in another assembly, and make different references without the dreaded “multiple contexts” error. And you can rename or replace parts with similar parts without having anything going haywire on you.
My last post here talked about Top-Down Design – a big selling point for some CAD software – actually turning out to be a best-practice nightmare. And it is. Besides that, it’s kind of a philosophical brain-bender, but we’ll get to that a little later.
Art Patrick is one of the truly gifted folks in the Solid Edge product management role. After a previous post of stuff from Dan Vinson, Art also sent me a few things. Art is in charge of the Assemblies area of Solid Edge, and if you get the chance to attend one of his presentations at Solid Edge University, it is well worth your time. He knows what he’s talking about and he’s entertaining. Rare combination.
It’s one thing to know about a topic intellectually. It’s another thing altogether to have some hands-on experience with it. This week I’ve spent in training with Solid Edge. It’s entirely humbling, I have to say. Being an expert in one tool does not automatically make you an expert in another. I’ve long acknowledged my SE noob status. But all that experience doesn’t mean it’s even going to be easy to learn another tool. I had to go through the same process as the rest of the students to get the hang of how things work, and how to navigate.
I spent some time this weekend working with the Frames functionality in Solid Edge. I’m not an expert in this kind of work, but I’ve done some similar sort of modeling with SolidWorks Weldments. SolidWorks uses multibodies for their equivalent, and Solid Edge uses an assembly. Without having spent a lot of hours on them it’s difficult to see much of a difference. One difference I can see is that in SolidWorks groups, you can only string together a straight line path – elements that are consecutive end to end, but in Solid Edge you can have 3 elements that meet at a corner, which SolidWorks won’t do. I notice a lot of similarities between the two, but there is the Solid Edge workflow difference, and some sort of thing going on in Solid Edge where there are some sketches that you can’t use for the frame. I was able to trace over the existing sketch with a new 3D sketch, and that worked for the frame. Read more on Solid Edge Frames…
Recently looking through some mobile viewers I came across a CADENAS Gmbh Android app for getting standard CAD models for a number of standard machinery parts. The SolidWorks part of this was very out of date, and didn’t work because it relied on a macro to build the part, and a 2001 macro won’t work in 2013. So since we’ve been talking about standard parts for Solid Edge on this blog recently, I found that CADENAS also has a desktop app for standard models. I had some trouble getting the Java viewer to work in IE 9, but it seemed to work fine in Firefox.
Today I decided to do the Solid Edge tutorial on tubing and piping, using XpresRoute. Picking this up was easy. For simple here-to-there routes, Solid Edge runs the routing lines itself. You can intervene with a 3D sketch tool. The OrientXpress, the big origin axes, enables you to select an axis or plane to draw parallel to. Its far more intuitive than the Tab, Tab, Tab method from that other software. I found the Solid Edge method to be more solid, easier to use, and much more reliable than the other software. It just seems like Solid Edge doesn’t make a big deal about functionality that should just work. Solid Edge provides a bend table for each length of formed tube. Read more on Solid Edge XpresRoute…
The Engineering Reference library is a nice design/modeling assistant for standard engineered components like shafts, cams, spur gears, bevel gears, worm gears, rack and pinion sets, sprockets, springs, pulleys, and structural shapes. Each type of component has the standard design options, plus engineering data such as bending diagram for shafts, velocity and force info for gears, and so on. When you are done with the design options, Solid Edge prompts you to save the new component with a name of your choosing, and places the part into an assembly.
Solid Edge wants to take a look at some examples of users SolidWorks assemblies, for those of you who have any of those and are able to share them. If you would like to contribute, do a Pack And Go to a zip file, and upload the zip file in the box at the bottom left hand side bar (says SolidWorks Example Assemblies). Max upload size 100 mb, zip and rar files only. The assemblies don’t have to be anything special, just representative of your work. I’m sure that confidentiality can be arranged if required. If you have special conditions you’d like to discuss, use skype or email.
To try to keep up some of the momentum that Solid Edge University has produced, I want to start a new modeling project using Solid Edge for most of the parts. I might pick some up from libraries or bring them in as translated parts just to try to cover as many real-life situations as possible. This model needs to have some swoopy stuff, some sheet metal, castings, machined parts, and plastic parts. Maybe some stampings or forged parts, and flexible parts just to round it out. It needs to be an assembly with some motion, and I’d like to drive it or at least part of it with a master model technique. Solid Edge appears to have a couple of methods that could support master model scenarios.
The hard part is going to be to do this project in ST4, after having seen some of the cool stuff in ST5. Read more on Starting a Solid Edge Modeling Project…