Getting the Most Out of Solid Edge Draft

1 Jul, 2002 By: J. Fred White

Have you noticed the assembly designs created by the top engineers and designers lately? Maybe it's just me, but it seems they are larger and more complex than ever. While this evolution in assembly design/modeling is exciting, the shear size and complexity is enough to cause most to cringe when it's time to create assembly drawings, not to mention the demands placed on the software. Well, Solid Edge is stepping up to the challenge. Several key projects designed to "turbo charge" Draft and take user productivity to the next level make their debut in Solid Edge Version 12 (SE V12). In this issue, we'll review a few of the SE V12 Draft enhancements, and, in future installments, delve into additional detail.

Figure 1. SE V12's Section View ribbon bar allows you to create a section view that displays only the geometry that intersects the cutting plane.

Section Views
A new Section Only option on the Section View ribbon bar allows you to create a section view that displays only the geometry that intersects the cutting plane, as shown in Figure 1. When you select the Section Only option, any parts or features behind the sectioned area are not displayed. This option is extremely useful when creating sections of complex parts or assemblies where displaying the additional geometry behind the cutting plane would be confusing. In Figure 1, Example 1 was created as a full section, and Example 2 was created using the Section Only option. Section views created with the Section Only option process significantly faster than standard ones.

You can also create a section view from an existing one, as shown in Figure 2. While this may not sound very exciting, you will soon realize that the Section Only and Section Full Model options make this a powerful method for controlling the appearance of new section views. For example, when you create Section B-B from Section A-A, there are four output options:

Figure 2. SE V12 introduces the ability to create a section view from an existing section view.

  • (A) The Section Only and Section Full Model options are cleared.
  • (B) The Section Only option is set.
  • (C) The Section Full Model option is set.
  • (D) The Section Only and Section Full Model options are set.

Because Example C and D in Figure 2 are created using the Full Model option, each displays a section view produced from the original source (the entire model)--not just another section cut from an existing section! This option alone is a powerful method for controlling the display of the entire model in the background of a new section.

Coordinate Dimensions
Several enhancements were added to SE V12 to make it easier to place and modify coordinate dimensions. The basics are outlined in this column, but for more in-depth information, refer to the software's Online Help topic "Coordinate Dimensions."

You can now add as many jogs as you need by using the ALT key while placing a coordinate dimension. When adding more than one jog, the cursor snaps into alignment when it passes over the dimension line closest to the element being dimensioned. To add jogs while placing a coordinate dimension, you can select the element you want to dimension with the Select Tool, then hold the ALT key and click to add the jogs. This works similarly to adding and removing vertices on a leader. In addition, you can remove all jogs on a coordinate dimension using the Jog button on the ribbon bar. (Note: the text position will not change when adding, removing, or modifying jogs from an existing coordinate dimension.)

figure Figure 3. SmartDimension supports placing a dimension between two elements and an angular dimension.

Another seemingly small but powerful addition to coordinate dimensions is repositioning. You can reposition an entire group of coordinate dimensions by dragging the track point on the coordinate-dimension origin. And to make it even easier to accurately align the dimension text for a group of coordinate dimensions, several built-in snap alignment positions enable you to align the text when placing or modifying coordinate dimensions.

Users spend a significant amount of time dimensioning a drawing. SmartDimension made huge strides in reducing the time spent dimensioning; it now supports placing a dimension between two elements and an angular dimension. As before, when you select a single element with the SmartDimension command, a dynamic representation of the single element dimension displays. If you want to dimension between two elements, simply select the second element. The second element can be a key point, but the first element cannot. You can then use the Shift key to toggle the dimension between Horizontal/Vertical (A) and Between Two Points (B), as shown in Figure 3.

figure Figure 4. In SE V12, a user can simply press the A key on the keyboard to toggle between a Length or Angle dimension.

Although reducing mouse travel is only one facet of improving user productivity, it is especially important when placement options are available mid-command. While using the SmartDimension command to dimension a linear element, you can now press the A key on the keyboard to toggle between a Length or Angle dimension, as shown in Figure 4. In previous releases you had to click the Length and Angle buttons on the ribbon bar.

For additional examples of SE V12 enhancements to Draft Annotations and Dimensions, such as creating an auxiliary view from an existing auxiliary view and specifying a lowercase x for the multiplication symbol in the Chamfer Dimension command to better comply with DIN and Chinese drafting standards, please review the "What's New" section located on the Sold Edge Help menu.

I am confident you'll find these additions to Solid Edge Draft beneficial to your daily drawing creation demands. See you On The Edge next month.

AutoCAD Tips!

Lynn Allen

Autodesk Technical Evangelist Lynn Allen guides you through a different AutoCAD feature in every edition of her popular "Circles and Lines" tutorial series. For even more AutoCAD how-to, check out Lynn's quick tips in the Cadalyst Video Gallery. Subscribe to Cadalyst's free Tips & Tools Weekly e-newsletter and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!
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