The Productivity Edge

1 Nov, 2002 By: J. Fred White

In order to ensure maximum productivity, the most frequently used commands--such as reference-plane creation, viewing options, profile and sketch creation, editing features, and so on--need to be as functional and intuitive as possible. And as you explore the additions and enhancements from Solid Edge V12 (SE V12) listed below, I think you'll see that sometimes small things make a great difference.

New Multiple Environment Commands
A new Coincident Plane command has been added to the Features toolbar in the Part, Sheet Metal, and Weldment environments, and to the SmartStep ribbon bar when creating features. The Coincident Plane command allows you to define a new reference plane with only one click. The x-axis for the new reference plane is automatically determined based on the geometry you select. You can also reorient the x-axis using three new hot keys: N to use the next linear edge as the basis for the x-axis, B to go back to the previous linear edge, and T to toggle the x-axis direction. The Coincident Plane command is also available on the Assembly Commands toolbar in the Assembly environment. The three-click reference plane definition functionality available in earlier releases with this command is now available with the new Coincident Plane By Axis command. For a more thorough explanation with graphics, see the Coincident Plane command topic in the online Help section.

To ensure backward compatibility with existing custom programs that used the Coincident Plane command, the command ID for the Coincident Plane By Axis command is the same as in previous releases for the Coincident Plane command.

Two new commands and several new options are available for controlling the Clipping Depth for a part or assembly. These options can make it easier to visualize a complex part or assembly.

The Set Clipping Planes command allows you to set the clipping depth in a window. You can restrict the clipping depth to a narrow portion of a complex part or assembly to make it easier to complete the current task. You set the clipping depth by specifying two planes, (A) and (B), which define the extents of the window display. The Clipping command toggles the clipping depth display on and off in the active window, as shown in the two views in Figure 1.

Figure 1. After setting the clipping depth by specifying the two planes that define the extents of the window display, a user can toggle the clipping command on and off to view the object at two different clipping depths.

Additionally, several new options were added to the View tab on the Options dialog box, allowing you to control the display color and behavior of clipping planes.

The view rotation shortcut keys are now available when working with a profile or sketch. They include CTRL+I (isometric), CTRL+F (front), CTRL+R (right), and CTRL+T (top).

A new Sketch View command is available when drawing a profile or sketch. This command rotates the profile or sketch view to a desired position--for instance, keeping the profile plane parallel to the window. This command is also available as a new shortcut key option, CTRL+H.

Several new options were added to the General tab on the Options dialog box. They allow you to create a new window when drawing profiles. When you specify that you do not want to create a new window, you can also specify whether the existing window needs to be reoriented parallel to the profile plane. Selecting not to create a new window improves performance. For detailed information, see the Displaying a Profile Window subheading in the Drawing Profiles topic.

To make it easier to work with imported surface data and construction elements, several new commands are now available on the Constructions toolbar.

  • Trim Surface
  • Copy Surface
  • Extend Surface
  • Surface by Boundary
  • Derived Curve
  • Split Curve
  • Show Non-Stitched Edges

The Lock command, previously available in the Draft environment, has been added to all environments when you are drawing a profile or a sketch.

Five new view commands, available in all 3D environments, enable you to change the Direct View style easily. You can choose from various display modes: visible edges, visible and hidden edges, wire frame, shaded, and shaded with visible edges.

In previous releases, when working with a profile or a sketch, relationship symbols would automatically be hidden when you zoomed out to where the relationship display would overlap. Now, modified based on user input, the display of relationships will no longer be automatically hidden.

You can now choose to create a new profile window or use the existing window when working with profiles and sketches. These new options are on the General tab on the Options dialog box. If you use the existing application window, you can also specify if the orientation of the existing window is parallel to the reference plane.

The display of reference planes, sketches, construction elements, and coordinate systems within Feature PathFinder is now in the sequential order in which they were created. This enhancement makes it easier to evaluate the order in which these elements were constructed and also makes it easier to rearrange the order of these elements when necessary. When you open files created in earlier versions of Solid Edge, the display of these elements within Feature PathFinder will be adjusted to conform to the new scheme.

A new View Transition option has been added to the View tab of the Options dialog box in the Assembly, Part, Sheet Metal, and Weldment environments. This option allows you to control how Solid Edge switches from one view orientation to another. When you set this option, Solid Edge computes several intermediate frames between the first and second orientations to produce the visual effect of flying through the model. These intermediate frames can give you a better understanding of the relationships between orientations and ensure that you select the appropriate view for your work.

Solid Edge has been enhanced to support the display of Solid Edge files as thumbnail images in Microsoft File Explorer. To view Solid Edge files as thumbnail images, click the right mouse button in the background area of the folder view in File Explorer, point to View, and then click Thumbnails.

The Zoom, Pan, and Rotate view functions have been enhanced so that during view manipulations, the middle mouse button is now used for rotation all the time. You can now specify a display color and opacity value, and whether reference planes are shaded with the shading commands, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. A user can now specify a display color, opacity value, and whether reference planes are shaded with the shading commands.

In previous releases of Solid Edge, you could only locate a reference plane when you positioned the cursor over the edge of a reference plane. You can now locate a reference plane when the cursor is within the interior of the reference plane, similar to locating part faces.

The Save and Save All commands are now available in Profile and Sketch in the Part and Sheet Metal environments and in Layout in the Assembly environment. In Part, Sheet Metal, and Weldment, you can now double-click a feature to edit its dimensions. For features that do not have dimensions, you can double-click to edit the feature inputs.

In earlier releases, a Delete Confirmation dialog box was displayed when deleting features, reference planes, parts in assemblies, and so forth. In V12, where the delete operation is supported by the Undo command, the Delete Confirmation dialog box has been eliminated.

These are direct manifestations of Stream technology, the model for CAD productivity in the industry. Stream/XP in V12 is the result of a focused effort, working with customers to find the best possible solution to technical problems. The most apparent benefit to a manufacturing company's bottom line results from increased productivity and quality in the design process.

See you On the Edge next month.

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