Dan Staples: What’s New in ST5

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+

To me, these numbers reflect priorities. After seeing these guys in action, they understand that it is their job to develop software based on the priorities of their customers. It sounds almost naive to do something so straight forward, but forgetting your customers can turn out to be a fatal mistake.

If you’re looking for a list of 1300 enhancements, you’ll probably have to wait for the software. A What’s New document will come with the software and list the new functions. Here on this blog, I’ll go through the ones I think are most important from the ones Dan and Doug showed on Tuesday. After seeing all of this great new stuff, going back to using ST4 may be a bit of a let down. Really looking forward to this new software.

In addition to Solid Edge enhancements, there is a new level of Insight XT for CAD data management. I don’t really have any familiarity with that product, so I won’t comment on its new features here.

Multi-body Modeling

Solid Edge has had multi-body modeling for longer than SolidWorks. They manage it and talk about bodies a little bit differently, working from the belief that you should only have a single design body at a time, but you can have multiple construction bodies. The old multi-body rules are changing in ST5, so now you can have multiple design bodies. Solid Edge uses body activation (much like activating parts in an assembly for editing), instead of the FeatureScope function in SW. It sounds like Solid Edge people have had similar debates about multi-body modeling replacing assembly modeling that SW users have had. The general consensus is that multi-bodies are not a replacement for assemblies. After some of the assemblies enhancements, I just don’t understand why anyone would want to cut out the use of the assembly tools and environment.

One of the nice enhancements that caught my eye was what Solid Edge calls the “non-manifold body” error. In SW, I think we call this same error the “zero-thickness error”. Solid Edge will now allow a function to finish with multiple bodies instead of simply failing, and will highlight the area causing the non-manifold condition on the screen. Also, ST5 will be able to allow an interim non-manifold state when necessary.  The first two are beyond what SW is capable of at this time, and the last is only possible through manual techniques using surface bodies.

Imports of assemblies can be brought in to union into the minimum number of manifold bodies.


Slots in SW were pretty nice when they were added, along with the bi-directional sketch offsets with capped ends. Solid Edge users got jealous, I think, when they saw that. So now the Solid Edge slots capabilities leap-frog SW’s by the use of counterbored slots, and better mating capabilities.

N-Sided Patch

N-sided patch, or bounded surface (Fill in SW) got some enhancements. Curvature continuity all around, guide curve support, chain edge selection. This was probably a bit of catch-up work to keep the Solid Edge functionality in line with SW. The SW Fill surface is one of those things that I believe was pulled from Catia rather than from Parasolid. So the capabilities of the two packages aren’t going to line up as nicely on this tool as they do on some of the others where they both are driven by Parasolid.

And then of course this was the place where Dan talked about “Watch this space” for next year.


A few posts ago, we had problems making a drawing of an imported part, where Solid Edge wouldn’t put automatic hole callouts on imported hole features. Apparently ST5 will change that.  Also, will heal imported geometry.

The new Solution Manager will help you control dimensions and Live Rules selections. You can remove faces from the selection set more easily, and change dimensions from driving to driven more easily.


You can now do steady state heat transfer coupled with static or buckling, better support for iso-line display, better meshing with automatic detail removal, and thickness display for surface meshes. You can also mix mesh types in result display.


Nailboard drawings have improved for wire harness. You can add bends (in the flat). You can add connector drawings.

Table sheets for large number of BOM items.

Alternate position assembly drawings – can show multiple alternate positions.

More hatch control over things like weld beads.

Better dimension alignment on arc radius and angled dimensions.

Better text boxes including Roman numbered lists, copy/paste supports styles and languages.

Primary/Secondary units, tolerance, round off

Tons more, download the presentation from yesterday’s blog post.


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  1. Solid Edge continues to steadily improve. I feel the energy of ST3 with ST5. Can’t wait to get my hands on it!  Thanks to the Solid Edge team for listening to their users and delivering a product that has real usable functionality.  I use Solid Edge everyday and it always puts a smile on my face!


  2. There is an interesting two part article on Solid Edge at 3D Cad Tips…….http://www.3dcadtips.com/why-solid-edge-matters-part-1-a-little-history/

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