Direct Editing with Solid Edge (On the Edge Solid Edge Tutorial)

31 Jul, 2007 By: Russell Brook

Edit imported models using this easy to use tool.

As more companies operate within global supply chains, their need for design collaboration has never been greater. Many companies operating within an OEM supply chain don't have control over which is used to create design system data. UGS Solid Edge's Direct Editing function allows users to edit imported geometry, including complex Solid Edge parts and UGS NX parts, from any system quickly and easily.

Last month, I describe how you can use Solid Edge's auto constrain feature to quickly add parametric assembly relationships to imported assembly files. This month, I'll discuss Direct Editing, which lets you directly modify geometry in 3D part models.

A Solution for Imported Models
If you work with partners within an OEM supply chain, you have a couple of options (unless you're a large corporation who can dictate the CAD system used by your suppliers). You could buy all the CAD systems used by your partners. But this would be quite expensive, and you'd have to learn how to use each of them. You can also work with the imported data, but making any changes to it can be very costly, time-consuming, and sometimes impossible.

Alternatively, Solid Edge can help as it can read Parasolid, NX, and UGS I-DEAS data directly; translate neutral file formats such as STEP, IGES, and ACIS; and read Pro/ENGINEER, Inventor, and SolidWorks using migration tools. It will help you to reduce your costs while collaborating with OEM supply chain partners. With Direct Editing, you can then manipulate existing 3D topology regardless of where it came from. For example, you may need to alter draft angle, reposition a rib, and realign a hole with adjacent components.

Solid Edge's Direct Editing capabilities let you work with data from your partners, no matter which system it came from.

Direct Editing doesn't rely on any parametric history to work. As its name suggests, Direct Editing lets you directly reposition or change geometry on imported data. More importantly, all edits subsequently maintain parametric values, making changes at a later time even faster. Direct Editing can also speed editing of complex Solid Edge models and aid interoperability with UGS NX.

You can directly manipulate complex Solid Edge models. For example, imagine having to change a feature modeled early in the component design, such as moving a hole or resizing it. To accomplish this correctly, you'd have to roll back your design, edit the hole, and then wait for the model to recompute all subsequent features. If there are any features that are affected by this change, they could fail, so you must fix them. This scenario can occur with all history-based modeling systems. With Direct Editing, you can simply pick the topology that requires change and then make the change, without rolling the model back or waiting for the model to recompute.

Direct Editing lets you make fast changes to complex Solid Edge models late in your design cycle, without regard to model history.

In addition to subtle design changes, you can also make more drastic changes, such as moving bodies or faces of a part, adding draft angle by rotating a face, resizing holes and rounds, and even deleting various entities and regions. You can adjust sheet-metal components' bend angles and radiuses.

Direct editing also works within assemblies. For example, if two adjacent features in separate parts in an assembly must be aligned, you can move features and faces associatively to key points on adjacent parts. When direct edits are performed, parameters are added to the topology, even on dumb solids. So, as you edit, you add fully parametric intelligence to the model.

Solid Edge and UGS NX already have powerful interoperability capabilities between both products, provided though PLMXML and topology binding. Direct Editing also lets you change 3D NX models, such as altering a hole size or radius on the job.

Direct Editing lets you change UGS NX models within Solid Edge.

Direct Editing Commands
Direct Editing is available in assembly, part, and sheet-metal design. It offers the following powerful geometry manipulation functionality, all of which are capable of editing Solid Edge models, NX, and translated data. A separate feature will be added to the feature tree every time one of these features is used, along with parametric information. The Direct Edit feature will override any parameter or position of an existing feature when used on a Solid Edge native model.

Direct Move Command. This command lets you move bodies, faces of a part model, and sheet-metal models. Topology can be changed in the context of an assembly. These edits are associative from one component to another. You can select edges of other components as a path to move a feature along and use key points to associatively set the position.

Effortlessly align holes between adjacent components using Direct Move.

Quickly change feature parameters on your designs.

Direct Rotate Command. This command lets you rotate bodies or faces on parts or sheet-metal. Typical use is for imported data where, for example, draft angles must be added but rounds exist. With Direct Rotate, you can rotate the faces and all the rounds recompute properly, even though they have no history tree.

Efficiently rotate faces or change draft angle using Direct Rotate.

Direct Resize Hole Command. This command lets you change the diameter of holes, for both native Solid Edge models and imported geometry.

Quickly change hole sizes.

Direct Resize Round Command. This command lets you change the radius of a round for native Solid Edge models and imported geometry. For sheet-metal models, a separate command lets you directly edit of a bend radius.

Resizing rounds is quick and easy using Direct Editing.

Direct Change Bend Radius Command. This command lets you change the bend radius of a sheet-metal model for both native Solid Edge models and imported geometry.

Make changes to sheet-metal bend radius, even when it's imported from another system.

Direct Change Bend Angle Command. This command lets you to change the bend angle of a sheet-metal model for both native Solid Edge models and imported geometry.

Quickly change bend angles on imported data with the Direct Change Bend Angle command.

Direct Off-Set. This command allows you to directly offset geometry on imported or native Solid Edge files. Adjacent face extensions are handled automatically. The results offset the face along with any adjacent topology such as rounds, keeping the model intact. Direct offset works associatively in assembly, part, and sheet metal.

Direct Offset repositions a feature and also moves adjoining fillets and rounds.

Enhanced Commands
The next set of commands are enhanced from the Simplify command set to support the design model and to simplify a model. Because these commands support two environments within part and sheet metal (Simplify and Design), a feature is added into the feature tree in pathfinder to whichever of these is being edited at the time. The difference is that the simplified version affects the display when in assembly or draft, and the as designed version affects the topology by overriding any previous parameter or topology.

Reduce component complexity without sacrificing design detail, using simplified components.

Delete Holes to Support Design Models. This function enables the Delete Holes command found on the Simplify toolbar for general use on design bodies. The main use for this command is for direct modeling in which users can easily delete holes in imported models.

Holes can be easily deleted if they are no longer required using Delete Hole capability.

Delete Region to Support Design Models. This function enables the delete region command found on the Simplify toolbar for general use on design bodies.

Delete Rounds to Support Design Models. This function enables the delete rounds command found on the Simplify toolbar for general use on design bodies. A second enhancement has been made to the command to allow you to delete rounds less that a specified value.

This wraps up this month's column, see you "On the Edge" next month.

About the Author: Russell Brook

Russell Brook

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