Solid Edge with Synchronous Technology, Part 3 (On the Edge Solid Edge Tutorial)

27 Oct, 2008 By: Russell Brook

Change your models as fast as you change your mind.

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

While capturing your design ideas as fast as possible helps you stay ahead of your competition, being able to make fast changes — even unpredicted changes — to your work is just as crucial. In this third article on Solid Edge with Synchronous Technology, I'll describe how you are able to make design changes in seconds, rather than hours.

Flexible editing tools in Synchronous Technology allow you to try out new design ideas easily.

Before I look at how using synchronous technology allows you to change your model as fast as you change your mind, let's look at why existing modeling techniques inhibit your ability to make fast, flexible changes.

Why Do Traditional Modeling Techniques Inhibit Editing?
Today's traditional history-based CAD tools force you to change models in the same way as you create them. That is to say to edit your model you need to step back up the feature tree, but first you need to understand the order and features that were used to construct geometry, costing precious engineering time. And because of this history approach, models have to be constrained a specific way, usually not the way you need to make unanticipated changes, so you end up spending additional time fixing any broken features downstream from the change. The most desirable and natural way to edit is to change the geometry itself, not the underlying constraint system, an unrelated feature, or a parent sketch.

Synchronous Technology eliminates model regeneration during your design stage. You are able to drive geometry by using grab and go tools while live rules and 3D driving dimensions keep model integrity intact.

Although explicit history-less modelers allow you to edit geometry directly, there are no parametric capabilities, weak dimension driven editing, and little in the way of design automation. Synchronous technology directly addresses these shortfalls of traditional modelers, so how do the features in synchronous technology allow you to change your model as fast as you change your mind?

How Does Synchronous Technology Allow You to Edit More Efficiently?
An impressive feature of Synchronous Technology is being able to just grab geometry regardless of creation order and modifying it directly. Models will hold together even though relationships are not specifically defined during the creation or edit process.

Live Rules maintain geometric conditions such as tangency, collinear, and concentricity in real time as you edit geometry.

A unique concept in synchronous technology is Live Rules, this capability automatically finds and maintains geometric conditions while dragging geometry or during a dimensional edit. History-based CAD systems require even the most obvious geometric conditions to be called out with constraints so changes outside that definition can't be done without some rework. With Live Rules the system is smart enough to recognize geometric conditions such as concentric, tangent, symmetric, horizontal, vertical, or co-planar and keep those conditions during edits. Just by grabbing a child feature like a hole, you can move it in into position to meet a pin or shaft, and then have the rest of the model react predictably.

Unlike traditional CAD systems where dimensions can only drive 2D sketch elements, 3D driving dimensions in Solid Edge can be added to any part of a 3D model. With direction control, a value change can move either of the dimensioned elements, giving the ability to control the position of geometry that was created earlier in the process. In many cases dimensions need to be fixed but still allow user change, so a lock option provides just that. To take advantage of engineering calculations, dimensions can be linked to spreadsheets or you can build formulas to relate one dimension to another.

3D driving dimensions provide flexible yet precise ways to drive geometry while allowing parametric control.

A concept of 3D model constraints can be used to modify geometry to make elements perpendicular, tangent, or parallel, and that relationship can be saved to keep your rules. Again because features and geometry are no longer dependent on each other, users can change either element and the other will react accordingly regardless of creation order.

Because historically, changes only flow in one direction (down the feature tree) where certain geometry needs to drive previously created elements in the order of creation, your ability to make modification is restricted. A classic example is where a hole for mounting or receiving a shaft needs to be moved but the model needs to grow in size.

As shown in these images, users can make this change several different ways: move the base shape to move the hole, move the hole directly, or just change the value of a 3D driving dimension.

Using synchronous technology you are able to make changes to your model as fast as you can change your mind by eliminating model regeneration time during your design stage. Solid Edge with Synchronous Technology redefines the rules for editing 3D geometry. Apart from the obvious cost savings, you will cut customer response times, reduce costs for redeveloping designs, and have fewer modification steps, which means there is less chance of introducing more errors.

So far we have looked at how synchronous technology can be used to edit and create native files, but in the real world, not everybody uses the same CAD systems. Synchronous technology is just as relevant to foreign data as with native Solid Edge files. In the next installment I will discuss how synchronous technology helps you to work with others when data has come from a different 3D CAD system than yours. Until then, see you On the Edge next time.

About the Author: Russell Brook

Russell Brook

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