Archive for the ‘Tech Tips’ Category

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ST5 introduces Multi-body modeling

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

For long time users of Solid Edge, you already know the advantages of the environmental approach to modeling, instead of the toolbox approach used by other CAD packages. In the environmental approach you create individual parts in separate files and assemble them in a separate assembly file, rather than doing everything in a single file. One of the limits of this approach was that you could only design one body inside of the individual part or sheet metal part file. Yes, you could use the Insert Part Copy command to insert another construction body, but this involved additional steps and forethought in the design process. With ST5 this limitation has been removed.

In Solid Edge ST5 you can now design multiple bodies in a single part or sheet metal file. This eliminates the need to use the Insert Part Copy command, and simplifies certain design processes. In the example below, I’ll show how to use the multi-body modeling to create a simple cavity part.

Assume that I need to create a base for a ball or sphere to sit on. I start by opening up the part with the ball. If the ball doesn’t exist yet I can open a new part and create it.

The next step is to create a base to hold this ball. In ST5 I can use the new Add Body command.

I provide a new name for the new body that I am adding, and click OK.

The initial design body turns inactive (transparent) as I design the new active body.

Notice that once I’ve completed the base feature of the new body, the PathFinder lists both bodies.

The next step is to subtract the ball from the block to create the base holder.

I’ll use the Subtract command and follow the steps.


Step 1: Select and accept the target part.

Step 2: Select and accept the tool part.

Design-Body-2 is now a cavity part. I can add features to the part, like a chamfer or round, and paint the part.

I can also publish the parts, using the Multi-body publish command.

I can give the parts unique names and locations and even create an assembly file.

Notice that the newly published parts are linked back to the original part.

Plus an assembly, containing the components, was also created.

This is just one of many examples where the new Multi-body modeling can help you design better. For more information refer to the Solid Edge help documents, or contact us at



Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

A “Quicksheet” is a template of drawing views that are not linked to a model. You can then drag a model from the Library tab or from Windows Explorer onto the template, and the views populate with the model.  If you have standard views on a particular size of drawing, for example, you can have the Draft preconfigured to populate itself based on the model you place on the sheet.

You will to need to set up a Draft sheet (but do not use production drawing as the drafting information will be removed upon save) with your views and other items such as Parts Lists.

1. Go to the SE Application button

2. From the Application menu, choose the “Create Quicksheet Template” command.

3. Save the file to a location and give it a name that easily identifies it.  It is best to place this on a network area other users can get to if it is useful to share the Quicksheet.   It is also best to locate it in a similar area to where the company templates for SE reside.

* Almost all view properties, including general properties, text and color properties, and annotation properties, are maintained. However, some display properties, such as selected parts display, Show Fill Style, and Hidden Edge Style, are not maintained.

Now a Quicksheet template has been created, but how do we use it?

1. Open your Quicksheet template (either through Windows Explorer or if you set up your User Templates and placed the Quicksheets in that location hit New>Quicksheet> and select your Quicksheet).

2. Drag and drop your desired Part or Assy onto the sheet from Windows Explorer or through the Library tab in Solid Edge.

3. Solid Edge will place the geometry and will be ready for the next steps.

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Integrated Modeling in Solid Edge

Monday, November 19th, 2012

With any new technology, you have your early adopters. This is followed by a general acceptance of the new technology, and of course, you always have your hold outs or late adopters.  Solid Edge ST and ST2 appealed to the earlier adopters for synchronous technology. With ST3, ST4 and now ST5, we are seeing most of our customers starting to use synchronous modeling. This of course has led to many questions. The most asked question is; “Should I use synchronous or ordered modeling?” The answer to this is yes.

One of the unique qualities of Solid Edge is that you are not locked into using synchronous or ordered modeling. Integrated modeling allows you to use both synchronous features and ordered features within the same part or sheet metal model. As a rule of thumb, I encourage users to start with synchronous modeling. If they run into some issues that can’t be addressed with synchronous features, they can switch to the ordered paradigm to complete
the model. Let me illustrate this with the following example:

I wish to model the sheet metal cover shown in the following image.

I start in the synchronous paradigm and create a tab, for the top of the cover.

I then add 2 synchronous flanges, in one step, to create the back and left side of the cover.

One of the current limitations, in synchronous sheet metal modeling, is that you cannot drive a flange along a circular edge. Realizing this I will hold off creating the front and right sides until the end, when I will use an ordered feature.

I next use 2 bead synchronous features to create the slots at the top of the part.

I then transition to the ordered paradigm to complete the model.

I use the ordered Contour Flange command to create the front and right face of the cover.

The nice thing about this approach is that it still allows me to modify the model using the synchronous Move/Rotate command.

Live Rules and all the other synchronous editing tools still apply to the model.

As I modify the model, synchronous features update instantly, followed by the re-computing of any ordered features.

For those of you who attended our productivity seminars, you saw this demonstrated live. Other users have learned this process in one of our many synchronous modeling courses, offered over the last year.

This is just one of many examples where Integrated Modeling allows you to benefit from the new synchronous technology, while still utilizing some of the tried and true methods of the ordered technology.  As Solid Edge continues to develop the synchronous features, you may find that you’ll use less integrated modeling. But for now this provides you with a reliable and safe platform to further advance your adoption of this amazing new modeling paradigm we call synchronous technology.

If you’d like to learn more about integrated modeling, you can attend one of our synchronous modeling courses. For more information visit our website at New 2013 courses will be added to our schedule soon.


Editing Part/SM Operations in Assembly

Monday, November 5th, 2012
In ST5 you can now perform edit operations, from the assembly environment, without first in-place-activating to enter the model directly.  Things you can do:
  • Locate, select and edit of ordered features
  • Edit synchronous procedural features
  • Delete synchronous face-sets and ordered features
  • Move face-sets (sync feature) in synchronous parts
Let’s take a look!
Firstly, ordered features are now selectable via the Face Priority select option. (remember hotkey combo is CTL + Spacebar)
Notice in the example below that “Protrusion 1” is available from the Quickpick options in assembly now.
Once selected, “Protrusion 1” has its options displayed for going directly into the features parameters.
Select whatever you would like to edit and SE will take you directly there.  Once complete, just close and return.  This will take you back to where you were in the assembly.
This saves time from previous versions by allowing you to go directly to what you want to modify and brings you back to the assembly reducing the number of mouse clicks.
Editing synchronous procedural features from the assembly level does not in-place-activate the user into the part.  Procedural features are things such as Patterns, Thin wall, Helix, Hem, Dimple, Louver, Drawn cutout, Bead, Gusset, and Etch.  These are editable directly in the assembly.
Using Face Select again, “Louver 1” is selected.
The handle for the procedural features shows up.  If selected we are presented with the following options.
Also, if we were to select the adjacent lover we would be presented with the following options:
Notice that the option to edit the pattern is there.  I know what the usual next question would be “How would I know how to edit the parent of the pattern?”.  Notice the option for “Louver 14”.  If you were to select it, you would be presented with the same options as previously mentioned.
We select “Pattern 1” and now we can modify the parameters that define the pattern.
Once selected, click on the PMI callout “Pattern 2 x 4” and we will get the following options:
Notice we have not left the Assembly environment.
One thing to note about this type of editing: Procedural Feature profile editing requires in-place-activating first.  Also, there is no access to the profile handle from within the assembly.
Happy Edging!
If you would like to learn more about “What’s New in ST5”, stay tuned for our new Update Training course.  For information related to training from Designfusion follow this link: ( conditions

Understanding the Steering Wheel

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Many traditional users have expressed some concern over the use of the steering wheel in synchronous technology. They find it complicated or cumbersome to use. However, once they receive proper training they all agree that it is a powerful and useful tool that is really quite easy to use.

The basics of the steering wheel allow the user to move faces in a linear, rotational or freeform move, similar to the Drag Component command in the assembly environment. The primary and secondary axes allow you to perform linear moves. The torus allows you to perform rotational moves. The tool plane allows you to perform freeform planer moves. With a little knowledge you can quickly and easily move or rotate faces or face sets as required. The notes below are what our trainers hand out, in our courses, and illustrate a few simple ways to control and position the steering wheel.

The steering wheel components

Positioning the steering wheel
When you want to rotate the steering wheel 90° on an axis that is NOT defined by the primary axis of the steering wheel, hold down the Shift key and Click the small blue plane inside of the steering wheel.
  • Shift + Click the Tool Plane will flip the steering wheel 90° about the axis NOT aligned with the primary access.

  • You can also Ctrl + Click the primary bearing knob at the end of the primary axis and key-in an angle.

When you want to rotate the steering wheel 90° on an axis that is defined by the primary axis of the steering wheel, pick the bearing knob on the secondary axis of the steering wheel and drag to rotate.
  • The steering wheel will snap to 90°.

  • You may also Shift + Click the bearing knob at the end of the secondary axis and key-in an angle.

Once you get the steering wheel in the desired orientation, Shift + Click the origin of the steering wheel to relocate it.
  • No need to continue to hold down the Shift key after clicking
  • It will not flip orientation.
  • Secondary axis will not realign to an edge

Changing the Primary Axis Vector

You can change the direction of the primary axis by doing one of the following:

  • Click on any of the 4 positional knobs.

  • Click on the primary bearing, hold the LMB down and align with any keypoint.

For more information on the steering will you can check out the online training section on ‘Moving and rotating faces’ at or attend one of our synchronous training courses. If you are a regular follower of this blog, you may recall the article on training, where it mentioned that one hour of instructor lead training is equivalent to 16 hours of trying to teach yourself. For more training information please visit our training site at
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Using a Quick Query in Assembly

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Over the years I have noticed some gems in Solid Edge that I would like to share.  Quick Query I feel is a small but powerful little nugget.   I will list the steps below to perform a quick query in assembly and also try to state some benefits to this.  Trust me it takes longer to explain than to do.

Firstly it is important to note that parts and assemblies have properties embedded in them.  These fields should be used for a multitude of reasons from parts lists to searches.  It would be important for all to understand this before moving on.  Obviously these fields must have information in them in order for Solid Edge to report back anything.

Below I have an example part that exists in the example assembly I will use.

To check the properties

We can check what has been entered by going to the part properties.  Select the Solid Edge application button and go to Properties>File Properties.

You can also look at the property manager, which will be discussed at a later date, or perhaps through automation if you have a custom program to assist in entering this data.


As you can see below we have an entry of “hardware” in the “Category” field.  This is what we will perform a quick query on later.

We now return to the assembly.


Click on the “Select Tools” tab. 

Perform a quick query

RMB in the blank area just below the words in the title bar that say “Select Tools” and the following menu appears.  Note that these options correspond to those fields we had seen in the part properties.  You can set up a search to find these items based on these same categories.


You can see the many choices presented to you for searching.  Any one of them can be used.  For this example we will search the “Category” field.

Let’s set up a Quick Query to find and part in the assembly with the word “hardware” in the “Category” field.  We RMB in the blank area, and select “Category”.  This sets the Quick Query option to search the “Category” field in all parts and select and highlight all that contain the word “hardware”.

Once the text has been entered, press the enter key and you should have all the parts highlighted and selected like below:

Note that the highlighted parts are any that contain the word “hardware” in the “Category” field.  This search went into sub assemblies and patterns to select items.  It would also select different items as long as the field had the word hardware in it.   You could do a “Show Only” or other options for the selected set of parts.

There are many applications for this tool (another time we will discuss a full Query).  Quick Query is very useful.  It can select a set of items so you can do things like double check quantities or locations.  Also, because it shows only items matching the query, it can help determine if an item might also be missing properties.  This is good to know especially if those fields are required for a parts list in draft for example.


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