I’m someone who has written a fair number of “Best Practice” lists. My CAD Administration book in particular was full of recommendations for everything from installing software to surfacing design. People assume that a best practice list is really a set of rules, but those people are wrong. Best practice is really a set of suggestions that are meant to serve the lowest common denominator in an engineering office. It’s a flexible attempt to standardize practices when you have people in your office who aren’t expert level.
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.
During the years that I’ve worked with CAD, there was one thing that I found that just terrified a lot of users and even CAD managers: In-context design. It’s true that people fear what they don’t understand, and this falls into that category to some extent. The real root of the problem, though, is that people just don’t trust it. And this is one case in which understanding it may make you trust it even less. Like what’s really in a hot dog? It may or may not be appetizing as it is, but knowing what’s in it will certainly not make you feel better about it.
I posted on Resilient Modeling less than a year ago, after Solid Edge University 2013. Dick Gebhard is the main guy behind this idea. He has constructed it such that it’s mainly CAD-neutral, but it turns out that it works best in Synchronous Technology. The concept does work well with history-based systems, in fact, its intended to make your history-based models more usable.
There is an on-going discussion about whether a history-based “move face” feature can be as effective as the Synchronous Technology Steering Wheel.
Let’s take a couple of specific examples.
1. Starting with the end of a block with rounds and an angled face. It doesn’t matter if this part is native or imported, just that the history-based move face feature is the only thing used to make the edit.
Solid Edge accomplishes the task easily. And it offers several options for the results, including changing the angles of the sides, not changing the angles of the sides, lifting the flat face up (adding sides). Read more on Can a History-Based Move Face Command Match Synchronous Technology?…
Sometimes I think the Synchronous message gets a little bit garbled. We get so caught up in stressing the strengths of Synchronous Technology and dinging history-based modeling that we tend to forget what we are really promoting is not one method, but a combination of the two. It’s true. History-based modeling has strengths, although they might not be strengths you recognize. To me, the most important strength of history-based modeling is the ability to remember topology that gets eliminated by subsequent features. The most limiting weaknesses of history-based modeling are that the design intent is hard to change and that parent/child relationships make feature failures common, and force the concept of “rebuild time” which users of direct editing methods haven’t even heard of. Read more on Mixing Synchronous and History…
This is one of those things I’m wondering about. In SolidWorks, I’ve written pages and pages talking about potential best practice approaches. It really gets tiring. And then I argue that in Solid Edge, you don’t have to worry about best practice. But then I heard Matt Johnson was presenting at his Ohio user group on Solid Edge best practice. It’s really hard not being an expert.