You don’t start to find the hidden gems until you’re rooting around through the bowels of the settings. These are the kinds of things I really like to find, and can transform your experience with the software. Sometimes I think the people who already know Solid Edge don’t really appreciate what they have, and the people selling it don’t understand what makes it different. Here are a few things I’ve found recently that really set Solid Edge apart:
Seriously? Solid Edge has a document name formula, and its not in the high end file management software? Wow. You can build a formula using the properties in the drop down list. Wouldn’t this save you some time? It would be nice if you could link this to a database to pick up a next number. I realize not every company uses this method to build their part numbers, but just in general, a CAD company that includes this out of the box really should get some recognition for it.
First of all, Edge distinguishes between fillets and rounds where Works does not. Fillets add material and Rounds remove material. Edge has some nice options like All Fillets and All Rounds that get all concave or convex edges in the model.
People complain about in-context all the time. It creates external relationships that you have to manage, even when you don’t use them. It makes file management more difficult. With Synchronous Assemblies in Edge, you don’t have to worry about all that overhead of in-context non-sense, but you still get the advantage of being able to make parts change together.
Even if you prefer working with Ordered features, you gotta admit, synchronous sketches are pretty cool. Working with synchronous sketches means that the sketches are not controlled by history, even if the features you make from them are. This approach takes a lot of the fumbling around with the order of sketches out of the equation. It’s tough to describe why this is such a great thing in just a short sentence. But just think if SolidWorks 3D sketches weren’t such a boondoggle, and you could sketch everything you needed right inside a single 3D sketch. No reordering, no disappearing or suppressed sketches when working on features. Even if you use Solid Edge in Ordered mode for solid features, you still should be using Synchronous for sketches. Period.
Angled Dimension using Smart Dimension
Solid Edge Smart Dimension enables you to create an angle dimension by clicking only the angled line. You can move the cursor to create an angle dim against either a vertical or horizontal line. This is very convenient in cases where you don’t have vertical or horizontal edges, so you don’t have to fool around with dimensioning against construction lines.
PMI Visibility Control
Maybe only ‘Works users can identify with this one. I really like the ability to turn on and off dimensions, and groups of dimensions so easily in the Pathfinder. In ‘Works this is a bit clumsy. I think Edgers take this capability for granted.
Sketch Relationship Capture
SolidWorks has its “inferencing”, but Solid Edge allows you to actually capture design intent from inferences. It’s fast for centers and midpoints and stuff like that. Once I started using this sort of sketch relationship capture, I stopped using clumsy construction lines.
These are just a few of my favorite features so far. Can you guys add to this list?