Solid Edge with Synchronous Technology, Part 2 (On the Edge Solid Edge Tutorial)

29 Sep, 2008 By: Russell Brook

Capture ideas as fast as you can imagine them.

Editor's note: This tutorial courtesy of Siemens PLM Software.

In the first article in this series, I said Solid Edge with Synchronous Technology is a ground breaking new way of modeling that will enable you to create your designs faster, edit with unprecedented ease, and work with foreign data as well as talked about why it's so easy to use. In this the second of a five part series, I'll discuss how Solid Edge with Synchronous Technology helps you to capture ideas as fast as you can imagine them.

Solid Edge with Synchronous Technology streamlines part creation and allows you to make flexible yet predictable design changes.

To be able to deliver products to market faster than your competition, you need to be able to work smarter and leaner or throw more resources into developing your products. The latter is not really an option for most companies. With current CAD systems already maxed out in how much you can produce in sensible working hours, another option is to look at available modeling methods. Synchronous Technology allows you to add design intent when you need it and make fast flexible changes as your design evolves. Synchronous technology achieves this by removing the need to preplan designs for future edits and delivers a modeling platform that has been designed give you total editing flexibility without starting from scratch. Before we discover how Solid Edge with Synchronous Technology lets you capture your ideas faster than ever, let us look at some of the problems faced by traditional modelers.

Problems Faced by Traditional Modelers

A typical problem with history-based modelling is failed features.
The main problems faced by history-based modelers when creating designs is that they require a lot of pre-planning to get the model to behave the way you intend and maintain design intent. Initial features have a direct impact on subsequent features. For example, if a feature is edited to such an extent that a face on which later features depend for their position is lost, the subsequent features will fail or at best require some time to fix. Also the order in which you create features directly governs design intent. With hindsight or remodeling a part, conscientious designers can achieve a well behaved model, so long as the change is expected, but it can be really difficult to make unanticipated modifications. In many cases it's quicker to just start again using the experience you have learned from the original attempt.

While history-less systems allow you to make changes easily, they have no parametric capabilities. They do not usually create features nor are they able to maintain (persist) parametric relationships, constraints, or dimensions, making it difficult if not impossible to parametrically drive a design.

Solid Edge with Synchronous Technology eliminates these problems by integrating 2D and 3D commands to streamline model creation, 3D driving dimensions to add design intent when you need it, and features that are not dependent on each other to allow you to create and edit your models with control and flexibility.

How Synchronous Technology Enables You to Design Faster
For a fluid experience, you no longer need to create features using separate steps, i.e., choose a plane to work on, draw a profile, select a side step, and then determine how far to extend the resultant geometry. Instead, 2D sketching tools are unified with 3D modeling commands. This means you can sketch in 3D space adding as much detail as you require, and then pull and push these shapes to create 3D geometry. To help you sketch accurately, Solid Edge uses inferences to automatically select the sketch plan and further helps by providing intuitive alignment indicators, so you can see if your sketch elements are connected, tangential, concentric, etc. to adjacent geometry. After you are finished sketching, any internal volumes are recognized as regions.

Regions identify areas within a sketch that you can to turn into 3D geometry or remove from existing geometry. You can add or remove more regions to your selection. 3D drag handles allow you to set the depth of the material you add or remove. As 3D geometry is created, 2D sketches are consumed by the 3D geometry and — here is a fundamental difference to history-based modelers — to make changes you simply select the geometry you want to edit and move, rotate, or copy it by directly interacting with the 3D geometry. In a history-based system you have to edit the feature then go to the profile step to make your change before letting the model regenerate. Features are created but they are not dependent on each other. More on that later!

With traditional CAD systems, intent can't be captured until geometry exists. The example here shows how the position of a hole in the left image can't be maintained as features are added in the center image.

Maintaining or changing design intent is tricky using a feature-based history tree (frames 1 & 2). Synchronous Technology allows you to add 3D driving dimensions anywhere at any time.

Solid Edge with Synchronous Technology lets you add 3D driving dimensions anywhere at any time, so design requirements can be established as needed. 3D driving dimensions can be locked, dynamic, based on equations, and linked to spreadsheets, so parts can be configured as needed using a wide variety of engineering practices. Should the intent need to be redefined, simply drag and drop a dimension from one part of a model to another. This capability virtually eliminates the need to preplan how models are constructed.

The heart of capturing ideas fast is that Solid Edge with Synchronous Technology stores features in a collection and not in a linear tree like traditional CAD systems. As you know, linear trees force a specific edit order and require model regeneration during any change. With synchronous technology features are no longer dependent on each other so you can organize and edit them easily without destroying design intent. The ability to collect features allows reordering, grouping, and sorting by name or type. You can easily group holes, rounds, or cutouts together regardless of when they were created. You can even reorder holes to the top of the collection. Features can be selected, edited, or deleted with no performance penalty from model regeneration.

To capture your ideas faster, Solid Edge with Synchronous Technology eliminates the need to preplan designs, simplifies 3D creation with unified 2D and 3D commands, controls design intent with 3D driving dimensions, and maintains features without parent/child dependencies to deliver up to 100x faster design experience. All of which can help you deliver product to market faster and deliver more products for no additional cost, and because you are able to try out more product iterations, you can save material costs and improve quality.

In the next article you will discover how live rules, 3D driving dimensions, procedural features, and more help you edit faster so you can changes your models as fast as you change your mind!

Until then see you On the Edge next time!

About the Author: Russell Brook

Russell Brook

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!
Follow Lynn on Twitter Follow Lynn on Twitter

Which factor is most important in your selection of a mouse or other input device for CAD use?
Wireless connectivity
3D capability
Programmability/extra buttons
Size/portability/desktop footprint
I just use whatever came with my workstation/was provided by my employer
Submit Vote

Get Your Free Issue of Cadalyst Magazine!