Synchronous Technology

Direct Vs History Debate

3d cad software

3d cad softwareThis is a follow up report from the web event led by Design World which I announced in an earlier blog post.

There must have been some last minute changes in the Design World Direct Vs History debate, because Autodesk didn’t have a representative participate. Chad Jackson instead rounded out the panel in the role of industry wonk.¬† So we had Chad, Dan Staples, and Brian Thompson from PTC.

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Melling Tool uses Solid Edge


MellingOnce in a while I like to put up these case study things just to show what actual customers are doing.

Today we have Melling Tool, who make automotive oil pumps. The pumps are designed in NX, but the fixtures are designed in Solid Edge. Melling’s two fixture designers have previous experience in AutoCAD and SolidWorks, but they have made the switch to Solid Edge with Synchronous Technology, and they aren’t looking back.

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The Failed Promise of History-Only CAD


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.

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Can a History-Based Move Face Command Match Synchronous Technology?

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.

SNAG-00001. 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?…

Watch a Cynic’s Eyes Begin to Open

It has been a while since anyone considered me a Synchronous Technology cynic, although that’s initially exactly what I was. ST1 came out in about 2006, and it was preceded by an incredible hype parade. It was the first real news anyone had heard from Solid Edge in years. We didn’t even know what it was, but most of the professional¬† (and semi-pro and amateur) CAD press had a lot to say about it. I visited Huntsville and got to ask questions and play with the software, but I was still unimpressed.

When ST3 hit the shelves and they united Synch and Ordered modeling, the lights suddenly came on, and I got it. Read more on Watch a Cynic’s Eyes Begin to Open…

How To Buy Solid Edge

If I were to ask you where I should go if I wanted to buy a license of Solid Edge, what would you tell me? The criticism that Solid Edge resellers are fairly well concealed is one that I’ve heard more than once.

The text book answer is that you should go to the Find a Partner page for Siemens PLM. (Solid Edge calls their resellers “partners” or “reseller partners”.) That page will help you apply several different criteria to find a company that can help you out with your Solid Edge needs.

To help make resellers a little more visible in the community, I’ve started a simple list on the left side of this blog that shows some of the more active English-speaking Solid Edge resellers. (Limited to English only because this blog is in English). If I’ve left anyone out (looking at you, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa) leave a comment, and I’ll add you to my list. Read more on How To Buy Solid Edge…

Mixing Synchronous and History

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…

What Sets Solid Edge Apart from SolidWorks?

The first question I’ve got to answer here is what is so different between Edge and Works that it would cause people to entertain the idea of changing? Aren’t they just about the same thing? After all, you’ve got a big investment in your CAD tools. Not just in money, but in time, experience, and a certain emotional stake. Why should you change?

I’d like to think I have some qualifications to answer that question, mainly because I had all of those investments as well, and I went ahead and made the change. My career was pretty heavily invested in the SolidWorks way of doing things, but over time, it became apparent to me that I was going to have to change. In hindsight, this makes me chuckle a little bit. SW2008 had some changes I didn’t speak well of, and a certain set of people accused me of being resistant to change, or something to that effect. I made the point that not all changes are equally good. Read more on What Sets Solid Edge Apart from SolidWorks?…

Is Solid Edge the Best CAD Program You’ve Never Heard Of?

I’ve heard a few people ask this question with more than a little irony in their tone. Solid Edge is certainly an underrated CAD package. Not so much because of the legacy, but because of the last several years of development effort. It’s also difficult for Solid Edge to get much traction with Synchronous Technology because Solid Edge itself has been old news for a long time. Synchronous Technology might have made a bigger splash had it been associated with something new (and news worthy) like Spaceclaim, even though I don’t think Spaceclaim is half the software that Solid Edge is.

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