Solid Edge

Manipulate the Synchronous Technology Steering Wheel

6 Feb, 2011 By: Russell Brook

On the Edge Solid Edge Tutorial: These techniques will help you manipulate 3D model geometry more easily.

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

Solid Edge with Synchronous Technology can remove the barriers of traditional history-based modeling more predictably than explicit modelers. The Steering Wheel is an integral component of Synchronous Technology, enabling users to directly manipulate 3D model geometry. It's intuitive and easy to use, but there are some powerful options under the skin that you can exploit. Following these techniques will shorten your learning curve and ease your adoption of Synchronous Technology.

Let's start with the anatomy of the Steering Wheel.

 Key components of the Solid Edge Steering Wheel.

  • The origin is used to reposition the Steering Wheel.
  • The major or minor axes and the disc-shaped plane in the center initiate the Move command.
  • The torus is used to rotate geometry.
  • The bearing is used to adjust the orientation of the tool.
  • The plane is used to keep the steering wheel or geometry "on plane" while moving.

Moving faces, the steering wheel is activated by selecting a face or faces to edit. Click on the major axis to easily pull the faces in that direction, without concern for the order in which features were created. Live Rules ensure symmetrical geometry is also modified (look for more on Live Rules in an upcoming edition of this column).
(Top Tip: If you hold Shift and click on the origin before dragging the Steering Wheel, its orientation is preserved while it is moved.)

Move faces with synchronous technology using the Steering Wheel axis.

To rotate a face, select the face to be rotated, then reposition the Steering Wheel by dragging the origin so the torus is perpendicular. The steering wheel snaps to key points and re-orients automatically. Click on the torus to rotate the face. (Top Tip: If you hold Shift and click on the plane it swaps the axis of the Steering Wheel — very handy if it does not orient automatically. Using the Tab key moves focus to the dimension box, allowing you to type in a precise angle if you wish.)

Rotate faces with synchronous technology using the Steering Wheel torus.

Another modifier key can also be used while manipulating geometry. Hold down the Ctrl key while dragging the axis to copy your selected geometry or feature; using key points, you can accurately position the geometry.

Copy geometry with synchronous technology by using the Steering Wheel axis and holding down the Ctrl key.

To move geometry to a precise distance from other geometry or reference point, first index the Steering Wheel your chosen distance from the face being moved.

  • To do this, hold Shift and click on the primary axis, then press the Tab key to switch the focus to the dimension box, type in 6mm (the distance you want the feature to be offset), and click to accept (see Step 1).
  • Now select the primary axis and drag it to the reference key point on adjacent geometry (see Step 2).
  • I've placed a 3D dimension so you can see the new distance is 6mm (see Step 3).

1. Index Steering Wheel a precise distance from face to be moved. 2. Snap to key point of reference geometry. 3. The result: The face of the boss is precisely 6mm from adjacent geometry.

To learn more tricks like these, visit or read more Cadalyst Solid Edge tutorials. Until next time, good luck using Solid Edge.

About the Author: Russell Brook

Russell Brook

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