Archive for October, 2012partner


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

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.