On The Edge Returns

Hello once again, everyone. On The Edge is back. As a Solid Edge employee now, I want to use this site as a place to discuss questions people might have about the software and its capabilities. I want On The Edge to become for Solid Edge what Dezignstuff was in the early daofficiallyys – a great place to discuss technical issues and explore CAD tools.

We will just pick up where we left off, and start making posts about Solid Edge and related stuff. I’m still learning my way through the software, although I’m a bit deeper into it than I was when we left off here last.

So,why are we “officially UNofficial”? I’m part of the big corporate world now, and personal blogs are “off the [corporate] map”. It’s probably fitting that my comfort zone is somewhere outside that of more careful folks. Still I’m just here to explore some CAD software that uses techniques that are more advanced than your basic history modeler. Even after a couple months of more intense use of the software, I’m still not what you’d call an expert. Each blog post will be a bit of a research project.

So, the comments section is open, and you’ll be seeing some new posts here soon. I hope to see some old friends come back, and some new ones introduce themselves. If you want to dive a little deeper into Solid Edge, the “official” community has a blog, a discussion forum, a Q&A area, and a Knowledge Base.

Updated: September 25, 2013 — 10:43 pm


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  1. This is Great news Matt… I’m at the Solid Edge Boston Summit right now but I’ll definitely be stopping by soon.

  2. Welcome back !  Looking forward to the return.

  3. I am just getting started with 3D. I am trying to decide which product to choose. SW being popular I started there and I heard a lot about you via SW posts then learned you had got to SE. Can you point me to posts that give a clear understanding of the pros and cons of parametric, direct, and synchronous methods? Direct editing looks so easy but I am sure there is a trade off somewhere. Parametrics (I did have a little formal training with PTC but never used the product) left me with the impression the designer need to be clairvoyant about the final outcome to take step one, played with SW at a university I was associated with but not real work, now trying DesignSpark as starting point to get my feet wet with 3D and that is going slow. So trying everyone’s free offer may be a long and drawn out process.



    1. Joe that’s a great question.solidworks is a good program but it is based on technology that’s 20 years old.PTC is about the same but the interface is even worse than solidworks .the benefit with solid edge is that it allows you to use the old technology meeting history based modeling, or it will allow you to use not just direct edit, but also all of the other tools associated with synchronous technology that go along with direct in Solid Edge. I’m just replying from my phone right now but when I get back to my workstation I’ll give you a more complete list of links describing the advantages and disadvantages of the 2 systems.

      Great question by the way.

    2. Joe,

      For links, here are some articles that I think help explain why History+Sync Tech is better than just history-based modeling.

      This was my latest attempt to describe synchronous.

      Here’s another one you might be interested in.

      Another combining history and synch.

      Evan Yares wrote a 5 part series on the general topic of why history-based modeling never really fulfilled its promises.






      That ought to get you started with a little light reading. If you have any more questions, please come back.

      1. Matt

        The articles you refer to in your reply to me, did you intend to include a link to articles?

        Joe G

          1. Matt

            This is wonderful stuff. Getting a better feel for the different methods, history, direct, Sync tech. But the other info is priceless. Read everything but the book History of CAD. Finally the reality of 3D CAD systems. My first intro to 3D was PTC ~ late 90’s early 00’s. Not a good beginning. The new VP bought their line hook line and sinker. I think these articles explain very well the claims made when selling 3D back then, and perhaps still by various vendors. As stated in the articles the application guys memorized a design and made it look like magic. Ask one question or for a change and they were clueless. These articles are a must read for anyone getting into 3D especially a manager who is writing the check with thoughts of 90% reduction in effort as we were promised. For months our productivity crashed. The info in these articles suggests avoiding child parent relationships unless really needed. As first present to me this was paramount to use. When ProE was installed I could never locate the crystal ball telling me before I started how I would finish. I never became a user and would always wonder why changes were so difficult. I know technologies have growing pains. One gets run over by a newer one. But when I buy a car I know I will need to refuel, do maintenance, and replace worn tires. Regardless of how good the car is otherwise the customer will be disappointed if you tell him those three things are not required for you product. These articles give the reality. I love the comment about the “infallible power users”, “Nah. I’m just messing with you.”



          2. Joe,

            Cool, glad you liked it. Evan has written some insightful stuff. He’s been involved in the CAD world for a while, and had a certain level of prominence. Definitely interesting stuff.

  4. Hi Matt,

    This is good news!



  5. Hmmmm… ok so that’s good I suppose but I have to say I dont get it.
    First they close you down against the wishes of the audience and I think SE vars and now they start you up again although you already have a reasonable but fledgling SE blog going on the inside – and which I do visit as I can but haven’t joined – but now its going to lack all the edge as it were that dezignstuff was famous for. That is I guess its going to be much the same as what you already are doing. Does that mean the articles you already have will migrate here rather than these ones going there?. Where do you want the audience to really focus or do you want to divide attention between both? This is a very confused message to send to outsiders particularly after Siemens had such a disappointing misfire of the ST6 launch. Such a mangled marketing opportunity is hard to comprehend. I wonder how long are you going to be here this time.
    Where are Siemens actually going with this and what do they want to achieve in the medium term? Are disaffected SW users of real interest or are we just being messed with until ST7 launches in another near silence and falls flat?? …pardon my hardened attitude. ;)
    You know the SW blog was indirectly promoting the merits of other programs to fed up SW users and yet that was closed down as well. There is a whole heap of criticism that could have been justly dumped on DS for another niggardly release in 2014 and still another delay for SMC that might have had spin off benefits for SE. Siemens need to get their act together once and for all IMO and be consistent otherwise people aren’t going to be bothered. Siemens can conside this a telling off from the people left standing on the drawbridge. Point made I hope.

    1. “‘This is a very confused message to send to outsiders particularly after Siemens had such a disappointing misfire of the ST6 launch. Such a mangled marketing opportunity is hard to comprehend.”

      I love ridiculous comments like this… Neil, it’s ONLY confusing to those who are looking for a fight.   Just because Solid Edge “Marketing” doesn’t satisfy your emotional needs, you get yourself in a snit. Did you ever think it might be YOU.  You’re sounding more and more like Jon Banquer’s sock puppet.  So Neil… just go away, you added nothing to this blog before and it seems you’re only here to pick up where you left off. The last thing the Solid Edge community and this blog needs is another blowhard like Jon Banquer….who thinks his view of the world needs to be catered too… you’re really not that important, so enough already.

      And anyway who cares if you’re not convinced enough to ever use Solid Edge. My guess is you frequent these places to to add to the conversation but to hear yourself act important. Maybe If you spent more time exploring Solid Edge as CAD package then whining about how their marketing doesn’t suit your vision, you’d have something interesting to say… I know that most people come to blogs like this to learn something, and not to hear about one persons hurt feelings.

      So please take your biased personal rants back to the SW world were they’ve REALLY been doing a fine job of marketing. Me thinks most of your bitterness is really directed there, and misplaced here.

      Point is this, if SW is so satisfying, then why even bother coming here… “Siemens needs to get their Act together” REALLY…. says who? The people “standing on the drawbridge” will come when they get beyond their own indifference to Solid Edge. I don’t blame you for being bitter, but I think you need to direct it to where it belongs. And there’s nothing Siemens Marketing can do that can change your situation. It’s not their fault nor their responsibility to soothe your bruised feelings for feeling abandoned by SW.

      When Matt Lombard was looking into Solid Edge he approached it with an open mind. I remember meeting him a few years back, and what I found most endearing with him was not only his willingness to listen to users like myself, but his ability in keeping an open mind to the different approach to using 3D CAD… and Synchronous Technology being the major game changer.  Matt is the type of SW user who is starting to benefit from this approach. Those who feel threatened by it, just make snide remarks about the poor marketing.

      Which is ironic since people like you are the reason I believe Matt has re-started this blog. It’s folks like you, who refuse to go to the Solid Edge Community that this is  blog is looking to reach. Yes the SE community is there to help promote SE and Synch, but more importantly it’s there for users to help users…. and you can’t participate because you have nothing to add and are too close minded to actually learn something. And so you come here to vent your dissatisfaction.

      So maybe this blog will wear you down just enough to refocus your attitude on 3D CAD. Try  posting here If you truly want to further your understanding of SE’s capabilities, instead of coming here and whining about how Siemens Marketing is not treating you and other SW user special. Why not try a different approach… or are you too afraid you’ll learn something?


      1. Bob you are singing way off key there. We’ll just leave it at that.  :)

    2. Neil,

      The first difference between here and the Solid Edge Community blog is that you are here. There are actually a number of people here who have not commented on the official blog. So that’s a good thing. That’s actually the reason this was created in the first place, and the reason it was revived. Outside of Siemens.com we can reach a different audience – people who, like you, probably wouldn’t go to the official site. If you still want to use this space to complain about other CAD programs, that’s not the primary reason why I brought this back, but I probably won’t stop you either.

      I agree that the gap of time when this site was shut down didn’t really help anyone. The truth is that there are different interpretations of the rules, and it took time to work that out. Sometimes bureaucrasies lose sight of the forest for the trees. Anyway, that is behind us now, and I’m just gonna pick up and move forward. If you’re still skeptical of the business and the product, that’s fine, I can use a little counterpoint to help drive the discussion. I wouldn’t expect you to be all smiles. ;0)

  6. Just to clarify IMHO Siemens buried the audience for this blog a while ago. I think reviving it is futile and another misfire. I may look in here from time to time but I’m afraid I won’t be contributing. The momentum is long gone and life moves along. What there was here wasn’t properly tended and any realistically iiterest left before launch day. Rather than having one half alive blog and another half brought back from the dead Siemens should go away and start fresh with a whole new coordinated modern marketing campaign and identity that is going to be a serious challenge in the midrange and get it out there with some fanfare in opposition to the SMC launch. Its called competition. Sorry to be so harsh. Hope you are enjoying SE offices Matt and still getting in some fishing and blue grass music weekends.

    1. …and Bob just so you dont think I am picking on Siemens exclusively I have to say DS have all but killed off what SW had going as well and thats going to be pretty hard to revive … very quiet these days… even had to prise the What’s New out of them. As long as SE can regroup and pitch it right they are in there with prospects.

      1. Neil,

        I’m not saying you are exclusively beating on Siemens. What I don’t understand is your harping on their failure to market this product properly. As a 12+ year Solid Edge user I can pretty much say they NEVER have. But I chose Soild Edge over SW and AutoCAD not based on their marketing but their product. If I did I would have followed the crowd and went with SW. I also liked that Unigraphics owned the Kernel that SE ran on.

        I’m sure your frustrations are real, but I just feel that you tarnish SE to those who worry more about how a product is marketed versus how productive the product is. I’ve never lost work because of the CAD Package I was using, so the decision was not based on what others felt my needs were but my own.

        So all I’m asking is let’s hear what you want from a CAD package and not their marketing department…. On that there’s little to argue with.


  7. ok after a few days thinking about it I will soften it and say this.

    In the real world I dont think it works for Siemens to come out and say were closing this blog down and taking it inside after deliberately courting SW refugees (I presume they thought the numbers werent there and they were focused on immediate results) and now to jump out 3 months later with a ‘hi we’re back and we will carry on like before’. I think that just assumes too much of the audience. That opportunity Siemens had they blew for their vars and their curious visitors basically. They could have tuned the content here, made good use of cross over Matt in a crossover zone and made it part of a long term strategy but no they canned it and then made a poor job of tying any interest generated in with the launch of ST6. It just seems too well mercinary. I think they need to look ahead to the next marketing crossover point and do it right this time rather than turn up on the doorstep like an old no hoper boyfriend. In the words of the movie ‘that was then, this is now’. In the future is really where its at.

    ok so I will push off and leave you to it.

    1. Neil,

      Like the old saying goes  Do not fault the children for “the sins of their father”. you will not get any Solid Edge user to disagree that Siemens is a tough company to deal with. And they control way too much of the Marketing and advertising $ to let Karsten Newbury and Chuck Grindstaff the freedoms they would love to have in promoting Solid Edge. Just look at the Solid Edge Community and how poorly it is designed for the CAD market because this is dictated by Siemens Corp. IT dept in Germany and not Siemens PLM or Solid Edge.

      I imagine that Matt’s OntheEdge blog didn’t meet with his “non-compete” clause until someone back in Germany signed off on it. So it’s reasonable that they shut it down, rather then cross some arcane line in the rules.  But getting this back up and running in 3 months is pretty good.  I also believe they didn’t make a big fuss over it because they felt that the Solid Edge Community would suffice. But they underestimated the peculiar personalities of those who enjoy these 3rd party blogs. But again Siemens underestimating the Solid Edge user and their customers is notorious…. I guess when you have 375,000 employees the bureaucracy is just too damn entrenched and nobody wants to give up control.

      Now how they’re doing with the roll out of ST6 is interesting. It’s a tough economy, and Siemens Corp. is laying off people, however I don’t believe Siemens PLM is. But they are also being pushed for profitability…. 12% from what I’ve read. http://tinyurl.com/kruwkad

      Anyway “In the future is were it’s at” is were it’s at!  ST6 is a marvelous product with many new features. I was at their Boston Productivity Summit last Thursday and learned that within the Assembly environment you can now make Boolean Edit to a part by using the other parts bodies/surfaces on the fly. No need to be in the Part Environment and bring this geometry in… you just do it right from the Assembly. This, along many other major improvements in how SE handles parts and assemblies is very exciting stuff.



      Well here’s a real world example of using the Boolean Subtract Feature within the Solid Edge Assembly environment. A new customer has asked us to look into using our Heat Sealing Technology to make their Sleep Apnea Mask cushions. So we imported their file then made a Tool Base. Then we simply used the Subtract Feature in Assembly to edit the Tool Base and created a feature in the part without ever opening it.  Pretty cool and fast. But if I needed a Tolerance on this cut, I could use the NEW Emboss feature within the Part Environment. Emboss is an unfortunate term because it does way more. Watch the second half of the video as I make the same cut but with a .005″ tolerance… How much time would this have taken using other CAD packages?

      watch here: http://screencast.com/t/OYiUpckcXk

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