Posts Tagged ‘Designfusion’

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Accelerate tool design with a few simple surfacing commands

Friday, September 14th, 2012

After completing a 3D model of your design, it may be necessary to design some custom tooling for manufacturing. Solid Edge provides some very simple surfacing commands to aid in the rapid generation of tool design. For example, you may have to design a custom dimple punch or a dimple punch and die set. Let’s assume that you have to design a tool to create the dimple shown here.

For this example, I will just illustrate how you can quickly design the face of the dimple tool. In a new part template, I use the Part-Copy command to insert the sheet metal part containing the dimple.

I will insert this as a construction body.

Notice that I have several other options available to me, if needed, in the Part Copy Parameters dialog.

From the inserted construction body, I can copy the inside faces of the dimple. I select the Copy Faces command from the Surfacing tab > Surfaces group.

I select all the inner faces of the dimple.

I then hide the construction body and I am left with the inside surface.

Next I create a symmetric protrusion which encompasses the surface.

I then select the Boolean command.

With the default subtract option selected; I select the surface as my tool.

I then select the direction that I wish to subtract, or remove the material, from the protrusion.

The protrusion is trimmed from the surface, as shown.

I now have a perfectly matched solid to the inner dimple face. I can now model the rest of the tool.

Using the same procedure I could create a matching die if necessary.

Many users are unaware of the powerful surfacing commands in Solid Edge. As shown above, these simple yet powerful commands can significantly accelerate your design process. If you would like to learn more about surfacing, we offer training in our advanced modeling class ( or you could try the self-paced training course online at

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Using Goal Seek to aid in model design

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

The Goal Seek command is one of the calculation tools available for engineering problem solving. It is available in the 3D environments and while drawing 2D geometry in a 2D Model sheet, a drawing sheet, a profile, or a sketch.

The Goal Seek command automates engineering calculations, which can be based on dimensioned geometry, to achieve a specific design goal. Goal seeking finds a specific value for a dependent variable (dependent by formula, for example) by adjusting the value of another variable, until it returns the result you want. Goal seeking shows you the effect on the geometry and it will also update the Variable Table with the new value.

The following is just one example of how to use the Goal Seek command to aid in model creation. This example illustrates how to use the Goal Seek command to help design a sheet metal cover.

Note:  For this example, we have to create a hole pattern, on the top of the cover, to allow for air flow. From previous analysis it’s been determined that we need a minimum open area of 6000 mm². To achieve this we will start by creating a circular cutout and rectangular pattern.

I first create and position a 10 mm radius circle, as shown below, to create our initial cutout.

While still in the sketch environment, I select the Area command, from the Inspect tab > Evaluate group.

I then click in the area of the circle.

I accept the Area by selecting the green checkmark on the command bar.

Next I open the Variable table and locate the Area variable and rename it to Cutout_Area.


I also locate the 10 mm variable for the circle radius and rename it to Cutout_Rad.

I then close the Variable table and complete the cutout using the Through All extent option.

Next I create a Rectangular Pattern, as shown below, using the Fit option with the following values:

  • X: = 10
  • Y: = 5
  • Width: = 170 mm
  • Height: = 65 mm


The completed pattern should look like the image below.

To prepare to use Goal Seeking I need to create some User Variables. First, I find the X and Y occurrence variables and rename them to X_count and Y_count.

Next I create a Total_Area variable by clicking in an empty row and selecting the area type, from the pull down scroll, as shown below.

I then type in the name Total_Area and tab over to the Formula column. In the Formula column enter the following formula:



Note:  I have now created a variable to calculate the total open area created by the pattern. I can now use this variable to help adjust the cutout radius to obtain the desired area of 6000 mm².

To do this I select Goal Seek from the Inspect tab > Evaluate group.

The Goal Seek command bar will appear.

I select the Goal Variable, which is the Total_Area.

I then select the variable that I will allow to change to obtain the Goal variable, which is the Cutout_Rad.

Now I enter in my target value of 6000 mm². (I just have to enter in 6000)

Note:  Goal Seek will now run through a series of iterations, where it will adjust the cutout radius, until it obtains the target value. When it is complete, it will show you the finished model, and post the number of iterations it used and the total elapsed time it took, in the bottom on the Status bar.

If I open the Variable table and view the User Variables, I can see that the radius of the cutout is changed from 10 mm to 12.36 mm, and our total area is now 6000 mm².

Using the Goal Seek command allowed me to determine the optimal radius for my holes without having to do any advanced calculations.

For more practice, try the Solid Edge tutorial on ‘Using Engineering Calculation Tools in Solid Edge.

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Solid Edge University 2012 spotlights ST5

Thursday, June 14th, 2012trademarks

Nashville, Tennessee, was the site of this year’s Solid Edge University convention. User’s got their first real look at ST5, which will be released next month. Dan Staples, Director of Solid Edge Product Development, introduced ST5 to a large and enthusiastic crowd. Now that the synchronous paradigm has been implemented, the focus seems to be on implementing as many user requests as possible.


The new functionality in ST5 benefits all users, whether they work in the ordered or synchronous paradigms. To see what’s new in ST5 visit the Solid Edge ST5 web page.

 After Dan’s presentation, users had a selection of breakout sessions that they could attend. These sessions included closer looks at what was new in ST5, sessions on how customers use Solid Edge, knowledge enhancements sessions, and round table sessions. The round table sessions allowed users to tell the planners and developers what improvements they liked and what else they’d like to see added to the software.

Our own John Pearson presented a session on the Draft environment and improving the speed of drawing creation in Solid Edge. John was amazed at how many users attended his session and extremely pleased at the number of users that approached him afterwards to thank him, and mention how much they had learned.


For those of you who were unable to attend John’s presentation, you can click here to download the PowerPoint and accompanying help documentation.

 John and Manny Marquez, from our Chicago office, were able to meet with many of our customers at the conference. The overall feeling around ST5 was very positive and users seemed genuinely excited about this release. We’d like to thank those users who attended the conference and we hope to see many more of our users at next year’s event.

Creating insert notches in sheet metal

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Recently I was asked if Solid Edge had a special command for making insert notches in sheet metal. These notches are used to insert tabs or pins in various assemblies. The image below shows a few examples of the type of notches I refer too.


To create these notches and others like them, I always use the Bead command in the Solid Edge sheet metal environment. Although designed to create beads, it also creates open ended beads, which are notches. To do this you start with a sketch which represents the length of the bead. For example, I may need a 6.35mm (1/4 “) wide notch, so I create a 6.35mm sketch line.

Using the bead command options, I select the overall shape of the notch. For example, I may need a U-shaped notch 6.35mm high and 10mm wide.

Notice that I set a lanced end condition. I could also use a punched end condition which allows me to extend the cutout portion of the notch.

If this is a feature that I will use often, I can save the settings for easy recall in the future.

Once I say OK to the options dialog, I simply select the direction that I wish to apply the notch.

The resulting bead feature can be edited by adjusting the options or editing the sketch. It can also be added to a feature library.

So my answer to the original question:  “Does Solid Edge have a special command for making notches in sheet metal?” is yes. It’s called the Bead Command.

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NX – Modeling a tapered thread

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Currently, the NX Thread command can be used to create a fully modeled straight thread. When this command is run and the Detailed Thread type is selected a fully modeled thread will be created. NX provides Modeling tools which allow users to create fully modeled tapered threads. The Variational Sweep is one of these tools.

1. Create a Datum CSYS on the centerline of the thread at the start location of the tapered thread.

2. Create the following expressions in the Expression editor.

ANGLE will be the included angle of the thread profile. This is typically 60 degrees.

L will be the length of the thread.

P is the thread Pitch which is the distance from thread to thread.

START_DIA is the diameter at the start end of the thread.

TAPER is the taper of the thread.

END_R will be the calculated value L*TAN(TAPER)+STRT_R.

STRT_R will be calculated as START_DIA/2.

All expressions should be created as Length type expressions except for the ANGLE and TAPER variables. These two need to be set to the Angle expression type. If these variables are not created as Angle type expressions they will not be selectable when creating the feature.

3. Start the process by creating a Helix curve.


The Number of Turns will be calculated by dividing the Length by the Pitch or L/P using the defined expressions. The Pitch variable will be specified using the expression P.

4. To create the tapered helix the Radius Method Use Law will be used. When selected the Law Function window will be displayed. At this point select the Linear type.


5. Specify the Start and End radius values by supplying these expression variables.


Note that the tolerance of the helix can greatly influence the accuracy of the thread.

Initially the helix will be created to the model tolerance in effect when created. This can be found at Preferences => Modeling => Distance Tolerance.

If the accuracy needs to be improved after the helix is created a higher tolerance can be specified by editing the helix and changing the tolerance value.

6. After the helix is created select Insert => Sweep => Variational Sweep. Select the helix curve as the path. For Plane Orientation pick the Through Axis option and select the centerline of the helix for the vector. For the Sketch Orientation select the same axis.


7. When OK is pressed a Sketch will be created. At this point create the profile of the thread. Constrain all geometry to the point that was created on the helix curve when the Variational Sweep operation was started. This is an important step.


It is significant that the width of the thread be smaller than the Pitch (P-.01). If this width value is too large then the model will intersect itself as it sweeps along the helix guide curve. This would cause an invalid solid to be created.

8. When the sweep is complete a hollow thread profile will be created as seen below.


9. The thread would be completed by Uniting it to the model of the base of the thread.


This same procedure can be used to create a multi-lead thread. When creating the Variable Sweep Sketch of the thread profile create two threads at half the Pitch in width. See the sketch below along with the picture of the resultant multi-lead thread. The colors of the different leads have been altered for emphasis.

Using tools provided in NX, users can quickly and easily model complex features.

Original article courtesy of Randall Waser, Siemens.

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Simplifying the placement of certain dimensions in Draft

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012trademarks

Recently I had a customer contact our support line, looking for an easier way to place some dimensions. He was self taught on Solid Edge and was attempting to place the following dimensions on a formed tube.


 He had figured out how to do this by creating and using extra sketches, but felt there should be an easier way to achieve his desired results. I walked him through the process, and felt that this would be a good tech tip to share.

To place the 2 dimension shown, do the following:

1. On the Sketching tab, in the IntelliSketch group, make sure that the intersection option is toggled on.


2. From the Home tab, in the Dimension group, select the Distance Between command.


    • - Make sure your option is set to Horizontal/Vertical on the command bar.


    • - Move the cursor over the bottom centerline so it highlights. DO NOT CLICK


    • - Now move the cursor over the angled centerline and hit the ‘I key’ on your keyboard. (I is for intersection)


    •  - Then move the cursor over to the vertical centerline and click.


    • - place the dimension.


Note: Hitting the ‘I key’, tells the system to find and select the intersection point between the 2 highlighted lines. If more than one intersection point is possible, a list window will appear allowing you to select the desired intersection point.

3. From the Home tab, in the Dimension group, select the Angle Between command.


    • - Make sure your option is set to Horizontal/Vertical on the command bar.


    • - Select the horizontal centerline at a non-keypoint.


    •  - Select the vertical centerline at a non-keypoint.


    • - Place the dimension.


Note: the trick here is to not select the lines at keypoints (endpoints or midpoints).

There are several hot keys and various command options, which assist in placing dimensions in sketches and draft files. Take the time to review the help section on each dimension command and you will save yourself a lot of time and frustration.

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