A lot of people are finding themselves in the position of looking for a new CAD package these days. The market is stirring itself up, there are new offerings, and the old offerings are just that – old. Not that there’s anything wrong with old. I’m creeping up on it myself.
The last major release of Solid Edge was called ST6. It was announced in the summer time, and was available for download by the end of July. One of the great things about ST6 is that the documentation is all online. It’s also available on your local computer, but the great thing about being online is that you don’t have to have the software installed to be able to read the documentation. Also, you can read the docs from anywhere you have a signal. I was at the dentist office in the waiting room, and instead of wasting time, I was able to read up on a feature I wanted to learn – on my cell phone. This is not CAD-in-the-cloud, it’s making documentation freely available to as wide an audience as possible.If you want to read the whole list, here’s an official 92 page PDF with all the details. Read more on What Kind of New Stuff Comes in a Solid Edge Release?…
Since joining the Solid Edge team, the status of this blog has been up in the air. However, the powers that be have decided to migrate some of the better posts from this blog to the official Solid Edge Community blog area. This will happen over time, and this blog will also be laid to rest, like the Dezignstuff blog. So all my new blog content will be on the Community blog. Here is a link for the new blog area. I should mention that the GTAC area for subscription users is also being consolidated into the new Community. This will bring the user interaction mostly under a common banner.
Solid Edge has authorized a few tidbits to be released about ST6. Naturally they are saving the most interesting things for later, but these will whet your appetite a little and tide you over until Solid Edge University.
In the world of software, it seems there is always a push to move “forward”. After you’ve seen what’s next in the next version, your first question is what comes next in the version after that. While we haven’t really seen what’s next in ST6 yet, reports are coming in talking about drawings, surfacing, and assemblies. This is all great stuff. Really, I’m encouraged to see a CAD vendor who is interested in putting CAD functionality into their product. Call me old fashioned and quaint, but I like my CAD to be CAD.
Draw the centerline of the slot, then invoke the Slot command (under Hole). From there you can select some options, including raised or counterbored slots, round or square corners. This tool works great for regular parts and sheet metal. It even does some odd stuff you might never do, as shown below. The upper slot is a raised counterbore (kind of odd name) through slot, and the bottom one is blind. Not that it’s machinable, just that the capability is there. This was all from a single command. Read more on ST5 What’s New: Slots and Holes…
I was glad to download and install ST5 on my computer yesterday. It has been available for a couple of days, but I’ve been out of the office. My first impression of the download and install routine with Solid Edge was pretty good. The one hitch that I came across was that it looks like you aren’t allowed to have multiple versions of Solid Edge on one computer at the same time. Dave Ault mentioned that there is a way to make it happen, but it may not be an officially supported method. I’ll want to find out more about that. It would be nice to be able to run multiple versions, especially for comparison.
The first thing that I want to play with is arguably one of the most important changes in ST5 – multi-body. For one thing, there has been this perception that SW has had an advantage over SE in multi-body modeling, and I’ll want to look into that to see if this new version turns the tables at all. If you are a current Solid Edge user, maybe you don’t make much use of the existing multi-body capabilities, and it might take some time for these new tools to catch on. There are a lot of uses for multi-bodies that don’t include trying to do assembly-type work in a single part. More on that later.
Solid Edge has had multi-body modeling for a long time. In fact, SE has had it longer than SW. SE handles multi-bodies differently, however. Solid Edge uses the concept of Design and Reference bodies, where design bodies can be activated or deactivated, and only design bodies count toward part mass. ST5 adds the ability to have multiple design bodies. Body activation is a concept that doesn’t exist in SW. It’s like having the Merge option automatically on or off. Solid Edge’s implementation of bodies goes further, and some of the implications I’m not sure that I understand yet. Read more on First Hands On with ST5 – Multi-Body…
The tweet says it all. I could repeat it, but that would be silly. After SEU, using ST4 to start a new project seemed like a waste of time, and I didn’t want to get software that was “almost” ready, so the modeling project idea was put on hold to wait for ST5’s release. Plus, this has been a rough couple of weeks for me, between the Derecho and 6 1/2 days without electricity in 100+ temps and then the death of my grandmother. So if things have seemed a bit quiet around here, that’s why. But don’t worry, it will all pick up again once we’ve got ST5 in hand. I’ve got a copy of the ST5 release notes document, but no authorization yet to write anything public from it. I know, it’s me, I should just do it and apologize later, right?
Dan Staples and Doug Stainbrook showed the What’s New for ST5 as a part of Tuesday morning’s session. While all of the presentations on Tuesday were informative, I heard a few people express the opinion that the What’s New was one of the highlights of the whole event, and they thought more time should have been devoted to that. There were some 1300 individual enhancements to the software, divided into four categories:
- Part Modeling: 220+
- Assembly Modeling: 350+
- Drafting: 570+
- Other: 200+