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Designfusion Blog

Creating holes around a tube in a helical pattern

John Pearson - Thursday, May 10, 2018

Recently I had an interesting demo, where I was asked to model a tube with helically patterned holes. I was sure that we could do it, but I was surprised at the simplicity of it. But as I always say, everything is simple if you know what you are doing. Needless to say, the prospect was amazed at the speed with which we made his part and, I’m pleased to say, has become a customer. So, I thought I’d share this knowledge with our blog readers and I hope you find it beneficial.

 

Here is the image of the finished model.

 


 

To create the model, I first created the tube and placed the first hole.

 


 

Next, I created a tangent plane aligned with the center of the hole.

 


 

I then calculated the wrapped distance. By this I mean the perimeter length that I wanted to wrap the first helical curve.

 


 

In this example, I wanted the holes to wrap a quarter way around the tube. Remember that the arc length dimension (X) can be achieved by using the Smart Dimension command and selecting the length option.

 


 

Next, I created an angled line on the tangent plane, where the distance between the top and bottom of the line, equals the wrapped distance from the previous step.

 


 

I then wrapped the line, to the surface of the tube, using the Wrap Sketch command.

 



 

Note: Another way to create this curve is to use the Helical Curve command.

 

 

Now a curve existed along which I could create a pattern. I first selected the hole and then selected the Pattern Along a Curve command. To get the correct orientation of the holes, I used the Chord Length option.

 


 

Before accepting the pattern, I clicked on the Advanced Options.

 


 

I selected the Follow Using Surface and Curve Position options, and then selected the outer cylindrical face, as the surface to follow.

 


  •  
  • Finally, I used the Circular Pattern command to pattern the results around the tube.
 

  •  
  • As you can see, this resulted in the correct orientation of the holes as they wrapped around the tube.

 

Again, knowledge of the advanced options was the key to achieving this pattern. If you need to learn about advance modeling techniques, you may want to attend one of our 3-day Advance Modeling courses. To learn more about this, and other course offerings, please visit our training page, on our website, at http://www.designfusion.ca//technical-training.html, or contact your Account Manager for details.

 

Tips to improve the performance of Solid Edge

John Pearson - Tuesday, April 10, 2018
  •  

We are regularly asked how to improve the performance of Solid Edge. The vast majority of performance issues can be improved by doing one of the following:

 

 

  • - Improve the performance of your computer
  • - Check your Solid Edge data for errors
  • - Take the Advanced Assembly course
  •  

Let’s look at these different topics in some detail.

 

 

Improve the performance of your computer

 

A slow computer equates to slow program performance. Below are some tips that have proven successful with our customer base. Before doing these on your computer, please check with your IT department or get your manager’s approval.

  •  
  • 1.Clean out your windows temp folder.
  •  

To do this, you want to delete all the files in the C:\Users\[username]\AppData\ Local\Temp folder. Where [username] is the name that you use to log in to windows. You will need administrator privileges.

 

 


 

Note: If you can't find the AppData folder, you have to go to the View tab and select Options. In the Folder Options dialog, go to the View tab and make sure that you toggle on the Show hidden files, folders, and drives option.

 


 

Select all the files in the temp folder using the Ctrl+A keys, and then hit the Delete key. You’ll be prompted with the following message:

 


 

Click Yes. Don’t worry, Windows will not let you delete any files that it still needs. If Windows still requires a file, you will get the following message:

 


 

Toggle on the “Do this for all current items” option and click Skip.

 

 

If Windows still requires a folder, you will get the following message:

 


 

Toggle on the “Do this for all current items” option and click Skip.

 

Note: Once this task is complete, I would suggest that you also empty your Recycle Bin.

  •  
  • 2.Defrag your hard drives.

 

Windows will automatically defrag on a regular basis. However, Windows defragging is fairly tame or unaggressive. Check with your IT department, they may have a more robust defrag application which will yield better results.

  •  
  • 3.Get rid of malware.

 

If you’re connected to the Internet, there are many ways that your computer can get infected with malware. Most companies have installed software to protect against malware, but this is only effective if you keep it up to date, and run regular scans.

  •  
  • 4.Keep your drivers up to date.

 

This becomes obvious when new versions of software are installed. Especially with graphic performance. Keeping your graphic card, and hardware, drivers up to date will eliminate most of these issues.

  •  
  • 5.Check network connectivity.

 

If you’re running across a network to access your licenses, data, macros, or any other related files, you want to ensure that the network speed is optimized. This should be done by an experienced IT professional. If you would like to attempt it yourself, there are numerous sites on the Internet that can assist you in checking and optimizing your network connectivity.

 

 

Check your Solid Edge data for errors

 

We’ve all heard the old saying “garbage in, garbage out”. This also applies to any CAD assembly structure. We receive many assembly based inquiries on our tech line. When there is a perceived performance issue we often obtain a copy of the assembly from the customer. We then attempt to repeat the problem and rectify it or report it to Siemens. The vast majority of issues can be remedied by simply cleaning or fixing the data. Some of the more common issues we discover and fix include:

  •  
  • - Broken links/ missing files
  • - Failed or conflicting relationships
  • - Files that have not been updated
  • - Features with profile problems
  • - Failed features

 

Solid Edge provides several tools to check and repair your assembly data. For example: The Errors command on the Tools tab>Assistants group.

 


 

The Errors command tracks items in parts and assemblies that have failed to re-compute properly, so you can fix them. The Errors command prevents such changes from causing unnoticed problems in your Solid Edge documents, and makes it easier to find, evaluate, and fix the errors.

 

Other commands that are useful for detecting and fixing problems in Solid Edge are:

  •  
  • - Assembly Relationship Manager
  • - Component Tracker
  • - Inter-part Manager
  • - Repair Missing Files
  • - Design Manager (formerly known as Revision Manager)
  • - Drawing View Tracker

 

If you are not aware of these tools, or don’t know how to use them, I strongly suggest that you read up on them in the Solid Edge Help section, or attend an Advanced Assembly course.

 

These issues are unfortunately created by the user, or one of his/her colleagues. They are frustrating to the user and equally frustrating to us, because they are preventable with proper training and proper data management. Which leads me to my last topic.

 

Take the Advanced Assembly course

 

Users who attend this course, will not only learn how to detect and fix common problems, but will learn proper techniques on how to avoid these problems. Furthermore, they are taught many time saving methods and processes which will streamline the creation of assemblies and improve the overall efficiency of working with assemblies. The proper initial creation of an assembly model will save time downstream, when the assembly is used, or revised, by others in your company.Users who have attended this course have far less problems and therefore spend more time modelling.

 

If you would like to learn more about the Advanced Assembly course, please visit our technical training page at http://www.designfusion.ca//technical-training.html, or contact your Account Manager.

 

Assembly Subtract Options

Manny Marquez - Thursday, March 08, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

New Year - New Challenges

John Pearson - Monday, January 15, 2018

 

As we enter into 2018, let me first wish everyone a profitable and happy new year. This is my 31st new year in the CAD/CAM industry, and I have seen incredible advances in the technology. I think it would be safe to say that half of my job is spent keeping up with the technological changes in our industry. Unfortunately, most of our customers are too busy making products, and lack the time to investigate, let alone learn, the latest technology. In fact, many current CAD, and CAM, users are not using the most efficient processes or commands in their systems. Simply because they are not aware of their existence or they lack the time to learn how to use them.

 

Profile of your average user

 

Based on my experience, the average CAD/CAM user has a definite assignment or workload to achieve within a given time period. This time period usually does not allow for any research or self-training. They must complete the task and move on to the next. As a result, users tend to find what works and will continue to use that method. No thought is given to researching better or faster methods. This may work for a period of time, but offers no chance for acceleration of work output.

 

For example; suppose a user has to place ten occurrences of a single component into an assembly, with each component in a different orientation. The user may place and align each component individually, which may take 10 – 20 minutes. If the user is aware of the new Clone Component command, this same task could be done in less than 2 minutes.

 

 

 

Furthermore, the user’s focus is on getting his/her work completed. Which, most managers would agree, is the proper focus. However, certain processes or methods may lead to problems downstream, in other areas of the company. The average user may not realize, nor even care, what happens once the job leaves their desk. But from an upper management level, this could be, and often is, a major concern. If a new or different method could be taught, to the front-end user, it may offer considerable time savings, in other parts of the company.

 

Some users will make the effort to learn and adopt the new technology, on their own. A noble cause, which may not always prove fruitful, and may actually cause greater confusion or frustration for the user. One user may find a more efficient way, but fail to share it with other users. Again, this could cause problems if the other users have to work with a model that has been created in a new way. I’ve had some users tell me that they like a lot of the newer technology, but it will never be adopted where they work.

 

Our role in your company

 

As mentioned above, part of our job is to learn the newest technology. As a Value-Added Reseller, we are constantly providing this knowledge to our customers. Owners, managers, and users often attend our productivity summits, and seminars, to be made aware of the latest enhancements. We also offer numerous courses, to train the users, in the latest and more advanced use of our products. It is estimated that 1 hour of professional training is equivalent to 16 hours of trying to teach yourself. Customers who have attended our courses have always been amazed at the knowledge and practical skills that they can obtain, in a short period of time.

 

Another service, that we provide, is a company wide productivity audit. We go onsite and review your design and manufacturing processes, gathering as much data as possible. We then analyze the data, and formulate a strategy, to streamline your processes, and improve your overall efficiency. This is designed for upper management to ensure that all their departments are working together, for the overall benefit of the company. It places the focus on the company rather than the separate departments, or the individual users. Our customers, that have used this service, have all shown positive results.

 

Benefits of these services

 

In past articles I have discussed the return on investment (ROI) for professional training. I won’t repeat that discussion here, other than to say that the ROI on professional training is faster than most expect. We’ve had some situations where the ROI is a week or two. But what is possibly more important is the overall benefits of professional training. One just has to do a web search, on the “benefits of professional training”, to view a myriad of articles on this topic. Many articles list the following benefits:

 

  • - Keep up with industry changes
  • - Be in touch with all the latest technological advancements
  • - Stay ahead of your competition
  • - Be able to see, and correct, weaknesses and skill gaps
  • - Maintain knowledge and skill
  • - Advance employee skills
  • - Provide an incentive to learn and upgrade skills
  • - Increase job satisfaction levels
  • - Provide internal promotion opportunities for your staff
  • - Attract new talent
  •  

Although most managers agree, they are reluctant to send their staff for training, due to cost in time and money. Designfusion courses are designed to pack as much knowledge as possible into manageable time slots. Our courses range from 2 days to 5 days in duration. The increase in productivity, following these courses, quickly makes up the time and cost invested.

 

The benefits of the productivity audit are similar to training benefits, but with on overall company perspective. These include:

  •  
  • - Ability to determine, and correct, weaknesses and skill gaps
  • - Ensure that your technology is being used correctly and efficiently
  • - Eliminate duplication between departments
  • - Streamline company processes to improve overall efficiency
  • - Improve co-operation and communication between departments

 

Both training and productivity audits involve an investment in time and money. But the results have, and will continue to provide a fast ROI and significant improvement in efficiency throughout your design, engineering, and manufacturing departments.

 

Conclusion

 

“The only way to predict the future is to have power to shape the future” (A quote from Eric Hoffer).

 

When it comes to the CAD/CAM industry, knowledge is power. If you want to have the power to shape your company’s future, you need the knowledge of the latest technology. Only then can you accurately decide how to use the new technology. At Designfusion, this knowledge is one of our products. By attending our productivity summits, or purchasing one of our above-mentioned services, we will provide this knowledge to you. You won’t have to search for the knowledge, read numerous articles, or attempt to interpret technical documentation. We provide it, explain it, and teach it, to you and your users. With a relatively small investment in time and money, you can make 2018 a most productive and efficient year, for you company.

 

If you are interested in these or other services, please visit out Services page at http://www.designfusion.ca//services.html, or contact your Account Manager for more details.

 

Hidden Gems in ST10

John Pearson - Tuesday, July 11, 2017

 

As I write this article, Solid Edge ST10 has been released, but is not yet available for download. Many of the mainstream CAD publications have already published articles, singing the praises of the new Generative Design and Convergent Modeling. They also highlighted the Simulation enhancements, new Solid Edge Technical Documentation, and the 3D Printing tools. Each major enhancement is article worthy on its own. However, some very powerful enhancements have been omitted or just glossed over by these articles. Often, it’s the less popular enhancements that excite the long-time users. I call these the hidden gems. I’d like to introduce you to 6 of these hidden gems in Solid Edge ST10.

 

 

Hidden Gem 1: The new Scale Body command.

 

In the past, to scale a body you had to use the Offset Command, in the Modify group, or synchronous moves. This often would confuse newer users, and many have asked for a simpler scale body command. Solid Edge ST10 has delivered on this request. The new command allows for uniform, and non-uniform scaling. You can select any scale point that you desire, and you can scale multiple bodies at the same time.

 

 

 


 

Note: Non-uniform scaling has options to scale along x, y, and z.

 

 

Hidden Gem 2: Expose corner gap in Sheet Metal commands

 

Another popular request was for Solid Edge to allow users corner gap control in the Bend Corner commands and the Contour Flange command. In ST10 the gap corner values can now be controlled in the 2 and 3 Bend Corner commands, and the Contour Flange command. The value can be changed by using the scroll wheel.

 


 

 

The Variable Table supports the bend corner gap value for ordered sheet metal parts only.

 

 

Hidden Gem 3: The new Clone Component command

 

A couple of releases ago, Solid Edge introduced the Duplicate Component command. In ST10 they are introducing a new Clone Component command. The Clone Component command allows the user to place multiple occurrences of one or more components at different locations in an assembly. Which sounds like what the Duplicate Command does in Solid Edge. The differences are as follows:

  •  
  • - Clone Component placement is based on geometry recognition. Duplicate uses a target part or coordinate system to orient a component.
  •  
  • - The Duplicate command groups the duplicated components as patterns. The Clone Component command will place the components in an assembly group if the “Group cloned components” option is checked on. However, the components are placed individually and not as a pattern.
  •  

  •  
  • - Cloned components have an option to be placed with assembly relationships. Duplicate Component command does not create relationships.

 

These differences allow the user greater flexibility and independent control when placing multiple components into an assembly.

 

 

Hidden Gem 4: The new One Body Assembly command

 

This is a new command that I know will be well received by several of my customers. The new One Body Assembly command allows users to create a representation of an assembly as a single body.

 

 


 

Some of the benefits of a One Body Assembly are:

  •  
  • - Users can remove hidden or redundant detail.
  •  
  • - It allows data sharing while protecting intellectual property.
  •  
  • - Users can use single bodies for complex supplier parts, reference parts, or layouts.
  •  
  • - Use of single bodies will improve performance in large assemblies.

 

 

Hidden Gem 5: Making the background sheet locatable

 

The background sheet geometry can now be located from the working sheet, for precise positioning of objects during placement and modifications. This new option is turned on in the IntelliSketch group.

 

This allows users to locate and snap to the background sheet geometry, while adhering to IntelliSketch preferences like alignment indicator, key points etc.

 

 


 

Hidden Gem 6: Undo enhancements in Draft.

 

If you’ve ever placed the wrong drawing view(s), you will like this next enhancement. ST10 now allows users to hit Undo for drawing view creation. In the past users would have to delete the views. Now all drawing views, as well as Nailboard creation methods, support the undo functionality. Plus, all types of drawing views like orthographic, pictorial and derived views like detail, section etc. are supported with undo functionality.

 

Furthermore, ST10 now allows Undo for drawing view updates. When the update action is undone, drawing views are put back into their previous state. Updates of dependent objects like tables, dimensions and annotations are also considered for the same undo transaction. Plus, changes made on drawing view properties are also logged for undo as ‘Drawing View Properties’.

 

 

Solid Edge ST10 – A Serious Update

 

As stated in Kyle Maxey’s post on Engineering.com, “ST10 looks to be another quality upgrade”

http://www.engineering.com/DesignSoftware/DesignSoftwareArticles/ArticleID/14891/Solid-Edge-Demands-Attention-With-Serious-Update.aspx

 

ST10 delivers new and innovative tools for the future, yet still continues to enhance existing tools. Designfusion will be showcasing many of these new and improved tools in upcoming events. Our first “What’s New in ST10” event will be in Chicago on August 17, 2017. (Click to register here - Password: ST10). More events will be announced in the near future. We look forward to seeing you at one of these events.

 

Helping fill the gap in skilled labour.

John Pearson - Thursday, July 06, 2017

Over the last several years there have been numerous reports and articles discussing the increasing skilled labour gap, that is being fueled by the retiring baby boomers. The industry leaders have known of this pending problem, yet haven’t seemed to be able to deal with it effectively. Here at Designfusion, with the help from Siemens PLM Software, we are attempting to help reduce the gap by focusing on the next generation of skilled workers.

 


 

To do this, we are offering all High Schools, free Solid Edge Educational software. This includes full blown network licenses of Solid Edge, educational curriculum, web and online support for teachers, and, space permitting, free training for teachers. Plus, any registered student can obtain a free Student version of Solid Edge, even if his or her school is not teaching Solid Edge. To learn more about the free student license you can visit https://www.plm.automation.siemens.com/en_us/academic/resources/solid-edge/index.shtml.

 

How will this help reduce the skilled labour gap? It has been our experience, that by introducing Computer Aided Design (CAD) to high school students, we capture their interest early and increase their chances of having them enroll in design and engineering programs, in college and university. For example, we received a letter from a local Technological Design Teacher, where he writes;

 

After completing a manual drafting unit, I introduce the students to Solid Edge and they are simply amazed at how quickly they can design 3D objects. Once they discover that Solid Edge generates orthographic views and proper dimensions their reactions are absolutely priceless as they all question why we even had to use a T-square in the first place! All of a sudden, they think designing is "cool" and they can't wait to take the software home and show their friends and family. Since using Solid Edge in my classroom I've had visits from guidance counselors and other teachers wondering what all the "buzz" is about.’

 

We have heard similar stories from others teachers. We believe that the “buzz” generated in the High Schools will lead to more students seeking potential careers in the CAD/CAM industry. This not only feeds an industry need, but hopefully, it will also provide future employees for our existing customers.

 


 

But offering this program and getting it accepted by Schools and teachers are two different matters. Sadly, many teachers are unaware or unwilling to accept this amazing offer. For those who are unaware, we are hopefully rectifying that problem with an ongoing campaign to let them know about the Solid Edge Educational offering. For the others, some prefer old, outdated software, because they know how to use and teach it. Others may be close to retirement themselves and do not wish to learn the newest technology. While others may be told what to teach by individuals with higher authority.

 

It is for these reasons that I am writing this blog. You the reader can help us get Solid Edge into the schools. If your company uses Solid Edge, share this article with your local High School(s). If possible, offer summers jobs to students who have learned Solid Edge in High School. If you have children attending High School, have them share this article with their technical teacher(s). If you are an educator, please visit the site: https://www.plm.automation.siemens.com/en_us/academic/resources/solid-edge/educators/. Along with a High School program, Solid Edge also offers programs for Middle Schools and for Colleges and Universities. More information on these programs can be obtained from the same link; https://www.plm.automation.siemens.com/en_us/academic/resources/solid-edge/educators/.

 

Some may say that this program is self-serving. That we are simply trying to put our software in front of students to secure future sales. Before questioning our motives, I ask that you do your research. Solid Edge has the newest and most innovative technology on the market today. Our focus has always been on technology, and the industry is noticing. For example, this recent article that appeared on Engineering.com, discusses our advanced technology:


http://www.engineering.com/DesignSoftware/DesignSoftwareArticles/ArticleID/14891/Solid-Edge-Demands-Attention-With-Serious-Update.aspx

 

Furthermore, students seem to prefer learning on Solid Edge:

 

"We did a comparison with Solid Works, and students preferred Solid Edge because they could learn it quicker.":


http://www.engineering.com/DesignSoftware/DesignSoftwareArticles/ArticleID/14773/How-Siemens-Solid-Edge-is-Empowering-a-New-Generation-of-Engineers.aspx

 

We have the technology, we have the tools, and we are willing to give them to High School teachers for free. All they have to do is accept our offer. If you the reader can help get this message across to your local High Schools, we thank you.

 

For more information on any educational offerings from Siemens PLM Software and Designfusion, please contact John Pearson at jpearson@designfusion.com or call us at 416-267-5542 or 1-888-567-3933.

 

 

 

 

Designfusion now offers iMachining for NX

John Pearson - Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Before I discuss this amazing new offering, I want to explain what led us to this new product. As some of you may already know, I started in this industry as a NC programmer, over 30 years ago. I learned to do CAM on a package called Weber, and then the company, that I was working for, turned AutoCAD into a custom 2D CAM package, using LISP. In 1996, I started using my first 3D CAM package, EMS from Intergraph. In 1997, it was purchased by Unigraphics, and shortly thereafter I started using UG v13, which eventually became NX. Since then I have also worked with GibbsCAM, and CAMWorks for Solid Edge, to name a few. Why the history lesson? I feel that it is important to understand the context of what I’m about to discuss.

 

All the CAM products I have used, machine in what I call a traditional CAM approach. That is to say the programmer/operator defines everything in the tool path. He/she selects the tool, feeds and speeds, cutter step over, depth of cut, cut pattern, cut strategy, and so on. To be fair, some packages take all this input and perform cleaner more efficient tool paths. However, the overall process of operator input and control has always been the same.Through the years there have been continuous upgrades and improvements, with the focus being on the improved programmer/operator control.

 

Recently, I was introduced to iMachining for NX, by a colleague of mine. And in my opinion, iMachining is as revolutionary to the Cam world, as Synchronous Technology is to the CAD world. iMachining for NX, combines limited user input, and geometry, with information about the tool, stock material, and the Machine. This is run through its patented Technology Wizard to produce fast and safe CNC programs. “The word fast meaning significantly faster than traditional machining at its best and the word safe meaning without the risk of breaking tools or subjecting the machine to excessive wear, all while maximizing tool life.” Users no longer have to input feed or speed of the cutting tool. Nor do they need to have to worry about step-overs or cut depths. These are all calculated by the system to ensure optimal material removal rate, while extending the cutting tool life.

 

Along with the Technology Wizard, iMachining generates morphing spiral tool paths, allowing a single continuous spiral cut of irregular shapes. When necessary, iMachining uses proprietary constant load one-way tool paths to machine narrow passages, separating channels and tight corners.

 


 

With this new approach, iMachining can deliver some amazing results for you and your company. How amazing?

 


 

These are indeed some amazing claims, but I wanted to know if they were true. So, I put it to the test, using an existing part that I had. This part had a complicated 3D pocket with several islands and a non-planer bottom. I used Cavity Mill to rough out the pocket with a 1” Coated HSS end mill, and a 3/8” Coated HSS end mill. The material was H13 Tool steel and I used feeds and speeds comparable to this type of cut. The total cut time for these 2 tools was 10 hrs. and 45 mins.

 


 

Using iMachining 3D, the Technology Wizard calculated feeds and speeds, depth of cut and step overs for me. The total cut time was 4 hrs. and 18 mins. A savings of 6 hrs. and 27 mins of machine time.

 


 

Now using different tools, I could have reduced the cut times in both systems. But what’s important here is the comparison between the cut times, using the same tools. I also used a relatively safe, default setting for the iMachining tool paths. Now, I did not see the 70 %-time savings in this example, but still an impressive time savings of 60%. It’s also important to note that, at the time of writing this article, I had not had any formal training in iMachining for NX. I based my testing on documentation that came with the software.

 

Having verified a significant time savings, is just the first step. There was less user input required and smoother tool paths were generated. The image below shows the tool paths generated, for the 2 cutters, using iMachining for NX. Notice the smooth tangent paths.

 

 


 

Compare these to the following images of the Cavity Mill tool paths. Notice the sharp corners and sudden directional changes, which will add more stress to the cutters, shortening the tool life.

 

 


 

Of course, you can’t rely on one test to judge anything. So, I have included the following examples from the iMachining documentation.

 


 


 


 


 

As you can see, the results are truly impressive. This is an add-on to NX, but the return on investment is exceptional. Imagine how much you could save with significantly reduced machine time, plus your tools will last longer. As your Value-Added Reseller, we see the value that this product brings to NX. It makes a great product even better, but more importantly, it will save you time and money.

By the time this article is posted, our team will be ready to demo this product, to our customers and prospects. You can view the iMachining for NX brochure by clicking on this link (iMachining for NX). If you would like to arrange for a demo of this product, you can contact your Account Manager, or call us at 1-888-567-3933.

 

How to automatically place hole counts

John Pearson - Monday, June 19, 2017

 

We’ve had several calls, on our tech line, asking us if Solid Edge can automatically determine the number of holes in a part, and place that value in a callout. If you are using Solid Edge ST9, and the holes were placed with the hole command, the answer is yes. To achieve this, new Feature Reference Values were added to the Symbols and Values, in Solid Edge ST9.

 

To illustrate how this works, I will use the following draft document as an example:

 


 

I start by selecting the Callout command, from the Annotation group.

 


 

In the Callout Properties dialog, I select the Select Symbols and Values icon.

 


 

I first expand the Values section, and then expand the Feature References section, in the Select Symbols and Values dialog.

 


 

When I scroll down, I notice that 3 new values have been added to the list.

 


 

These new values will provide the quantity count for:

 

%QC – all coplanar holes of the same size and type.

%QP – all parallel holes of the same size and type.

%QA – all holes of the same size and type.

 

Continuing with our example, I highlight the %QC and hit the Select button.

 


 

Notice that a preview is provided, at the bottom of the dialog. I then click the OK button to return to the Callout Properties dialog.

 

Notice that the %QC value is placed in the Callout text field.

 


 

In the Callout text field, I continue by typing a space, the letter x, and another space. I then select the Diameter symbol and the Hole Size feature reference.

 


 

Note: Remember you can save this Callout text for reuse on other Solid Edge documents.

 

I click OK, to dismiss the dialog, and then select the 3 holes, shown below, to place the callouts.

 


 

Notice that only coplanar counts are given. I then repeat this process using %QP, as shown below, I get the following results.

 

 


 

Notice that the counts on the top view are identical, because all the holes reside on parallel planes.

 

 

I then repeat this process using %QA, as shown below, I get the following results.

 


 

Notice that the counts are identical for all 3 callouts, because %QA looks for all the holes in the part, regardless of their orientation.

 

In the previous example, I used the Callout command. I can also place these new values in the Modify Dimension Style dialog box. For example, I could place them in the Smart Depth Tab as shown below:


 

Then, when I use the Feature Callout option in any of the dimension commands, I get the same results as using the Callout command.

 


 

In closing, I’d like to re-emphasize, that these values only work on “like” holes that were created by using the Hole command. They do not work on cutouts. How does Solid Edge define “like” holes? Solid Edge looks at the following settings in the holes:

  •  
  • •Type
  • •Hole Extents
  • •Hole Depth
  • •V bottom angle
  • •Hole Diameter
  • •Chamfers
  • •Counterbores
  •  


     

     

    If these settings are the same for two holes, then they are considered to be like holes.

     

    If this, or any other information, in this article, is unknown to you. You may want to consider attending one of our 2-day Advanced Draft courses. For a complete course syllabus, got to http://www.designfusion.ca//technical-training.html, and scroll down to the Solid Edge Advanced Drafting course description.

     

    More control over the tool axis in NX11.0.1

    John Pearson - Wednesday, May 24, 2017

     

    Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending a Cam Forum for Siemens PLM Software partners. A colleague and I drove down to Troy, Michigan, where we were introduced to new NX CAM functionality in NX11.0.1. We also saw some of the future enhancements coming in NX11.0.2 and beyond. Although there were many enhancements that I could discuss, there was one in particular that I found extremely useful. So rather than give a brief overview of all the enhancements, I will focus on one of my favorite enhancements. Once you’ve loaded NX11.0.1, open the help docs and view the what’s new section, if you’d like an overview of all the enhancements.

     

     

    Interpolate Tool Axis Enhancements

     

    Prior to NX11.0.1, if machining the part below, with the tool shown, you’d have a tool holder collision issue along the wall.

     


     

    When situations like this occur, NX now provides a new Control Direction option, when using the Interpolate Vector tool axis option. To access this new option, expand the Tool Axis section, in the operation template. With the Axis option set to Interpolate Vector, click the Edit icon.

     


     

    Notice the new Control Direction option under the Interpolation Method.

     


     

    The U and V option retains the behavior from previous releases. The U option controls the tool axis in the U direction only. The V option controls the tool axis in the V direction only. These two options give the new behavior.

     

    In this example, I’ll select the U from the Control Direction list.

     


     

    Notice the two iso curves. Each iso curve contains a system defined vector at each end. Only one vector is now necessary to define the tool axis along each iso curve.

     


     

    There is another new option, that allows us to select a system defined vector and tell the system not to consider it, when interpolating the tool axis. You do this by selecting the vector, and selecting the new Ignore Point check box. In this example, I first select vector 4, from the list.

     


     

    Note: You may also select the vector by single-clicking in the graphics display. Double-clicking reverses the vector direction.

     

    I then select the Ignore Point check box.

     


     

    I repeat this step for vector 2.

     


     

    Next, I select vector 3 and use the dynamic axis handle to rotate the tool about the YC axis, until the holder no longer collides with the part.

     


     

    The third enhancement becomes apparent will doing this rotation. In previous releases, the tool was rotated about the tool tip resulting in the tool cutting below the part surface. The tool now rotates about the contact point and no longer violates the part. See the image below.

     


     

    When I verify the tool path, I notice that the tool holder no longer collides with the part wall, but the tool axis begins tilting sooner than necessary. This is because NX tilts the tool axis continuously as it interpolates the tool axis between the two U curves.

     


     

    I can add another iso curve to control how long the tool remains vertical before tilting. To do this I return to the Tool Axis section and click Edit again. In the Interpolate Vector dialog, I select the Add New Set icon.

     


     

    Next, I select a point on the edge of the part, in the approximate position shown below.

     


     

    This defines an additional iso curve with a vector that can be used to control the tilt of the tool. By leaving the ZC vector vertical, the tool axis will remain vertical as it approaches the wall until it reaches this curve.

     


     

    This time, when I verify the tool path, the tool axis remains vertical until it reaches the added iso curve. It then begins to tilt as it approaches the next iso curve.

     


     

    As you can see from this example, you can now specify either a U or V control direction and ignore system defined vectors, allowing you to interpolate the tool axis for variable axis operations along U or V iso curves, with as little as a single interpolation vector for each curve. This capability greatly simplifies the task of specifying a constant tool axis orientation along the entire U or V curve.

     

    Working with Large Assemblies – Part 3

    John Pearson - Thursday, April 06, 2017

    In this article, I will continue to focus on some of the Solid Edge tools used to deal with large assemblies. As mentioned in the previous articles, “Working with Large Assemblies – Part 1 and Part 2”, If you are a Solid Edge user, hopefully you are aware of the following tools for dealing with large assemblies:

    •  
    • •Simplified Parts
    • •Simplified Assemblies
    • ○Visible Faces
    • ○Model Command
    • •Selection Tools
    • •Display Tools
    • •Queries
    • •Zones
    • •Configurations
    • •Limited Update
    • •Limited Save
    • •Assembly Open As options
    • •Assemblies made of synchronous parts.
    •  
    • Combine these tools with some best practices and other tips and tricks, and you’ll find that large assemblies behave more efficiently and are more reliable in Solid Edge, than any other mainstream CAD package.
    •  
    • In this article, I’d like to focus on the tools not already covered in the previous articles. To be specific, this article will discuss the following tools:
    •  
    • Selection Tools
    • Queries
    • Limited Update
    • Limited Save
    • Assembly Open As options
    • Assemblies made of synchronous parts.
    •  
    • Each of these tools offer the user improved efficiency and greater performance when working with large assemblies.
    •  
    • Selection Tools
    •  
    • All Solid Edge users know about the Selection Tool, but I have found many users are unaware of the other selection tools available in the assembly environment. If you have a look at the Select group, on the Home tab, you’ll notice that there are numerous selection tools available to assist you.

     

    The following list, briefly describes what each tool does:

     

    Overlapping - Selects elements which are inside or overlapping the fenced area.

     

    Selection Filter - Controls whether elements are selectable based on the element type.

     

    Select Visible Parts - Selects parts that are fully or partially visible in the active window at its current view orientation.

     

    Select Parts Constrained To - Selects parts that are constrained to one or more previously selected parts. This option is available after you select one or more parts.

     

    Select Subassembly Parts - Selects all other occurrences of the currently selected subassembly.

     

    Select All Identical Parts - Selects all the parts in the assembly which are identical to the selected part.

     

    Select Parts by Size - Displays a command bar, which contains a spin box so you can dynamically select a set of parts based on their size.

     


     

    The Part size field valueis based on the size of the parts in the current view where 1 is the smallest part and 100 is the largest.

     

    Activate PartAllows you to activate select parts.

     

    Faces Priority - Locates element types such as faces and features first, then other element types, such as parts and features. Used primarily for editing assemblies with synchronous components.

     

    Parts Priority - Locates parts first, then other element types, such as individual faces and features.

     

    Normal Select Mode Same as using the Select Tool.

     

    Add/Remove ModeAllows you to select multiple components. If the component is already selected it removes it from the selection set.

     

    Add Mode - Allows you to select multiple components. Can only add elements to the current selection set.

     

    Remove Mode - Allows you to only remove elements from the current selection set.

     

    Selection Manager ModeUsed to launch the Selection Manager, when an element is selected. See the Selection Manager menu in the Solid Edge Help, for more information about this menu.

     

    Clear Selection - Clears the selection set. You can also press the Esc key, or double-click in the graphics window to clear the current selection.

     

    Once you’ve created your selection set, you can perform tasks like Hide, Show Only, Inactivate, and Activate. Making these tools ideal for working on large assemblies.

     

    Queries

     

    Another method, for finding components, is to use the Query command. The Query command, found on the Select Tools tab of the PathFinder, allows you to search for components base on the component properties.

     


     


     

    Once you’ve used your query to create a selection set, you can perform tasks like Hide, Show Only, Inactivate, and Activate. Making this another excellent tool for working on large assemblies.

     

    Below is a quick list of other points regarding queries:

     

  • • You can define queries in an assembly document that is used as a template.
  •  
  • • You can copy a query from one document and paste it into another document using the commands on the shortcut menu.
  •  
  • • You can use the Query dialog box to specify whether you want to search subassemblies.
  •  
  • • You can also use the Quick Query option, on the Select Tools tab, to find and select parts in an assembly. Quick queries are not stored on the Select Tools tab.
  •  
  • •You can use the commands on the shortcut menu to edit, delete, and rename a query entry in PathFinder.
  •  
  • Assembly Open As options

     

    Over this series of articles, we have discussed how to activate, inactivate, hide, and show components. Above we discussed how to rapidly select components based on various criteria. Solid Edge also offers you a way to define what state you wish to open the assembly in. For example, you can open a large assembly much quicker if all the components are inactive, and even quicker if they are hidden. In the Solid Edge Options > Assembly Open As tab, you can define your definition of small, medium, and large assemblies. You can then define what state the components will be opened in.

     


     

    If necessary, you can override the defined settings when opening an assembly. For example, you can override the assembly size, on the Open dialog.

     


     

    You can even override the component state settings, by expanding the More.. button, on the Open dialog.

     


     

    Limited Update and Limited Save commands

     

    These are 2 relatively new commands, added in Solid Edge ST7. Added specifically for dealing with large assemblies, these commands are defined as follows:

     

    Limited Update - The Limited Update command confines updates to only those documents that, in the current design session, have been modified by you. If other documents have been modified by someone else, those changes can be viewed and updated by using the Component Tracker. The Component Tracker shows the status of these documents and saves can be made that overrides the limited save command if desired.

     

    Limited Save - The Limited Save command changes the behavior of Save when you work in the assembly environment. Selecting the Limited Save command confines the save operation to only those documents that you have opened and have write access to. Limited Save acts on documents in the current assembly structure. Processing is from the active level down. Part copies that reside in parent level assemblies are not updated with Limited Save.

     

    The Limited Update and Limited Save commands enable you to control, update, and save operations, while working in Solid Edge assembly, and while in-place activated. They need to be enabled on the Solid Edge Options > Assembly tab.

     


     

    When either Limited Update or Limited Save are enabled, PathFinder indicates the mode is active using an icon on the top level of the assembly.

     


     

    Before enabling these commands, make sure you read the Solid Edge Help documents, on these commands. They describe them in more detail.

     

    Assemblies made of synchronous parts

     

    There has been a lot written about the power of synchronous technology, in Solid Edge. The rapid modelling, and unprecedented speed of editing, has dominated these articles. But one of the often-overlooked benefits is that synchronous parts use less memory than ordered parts. Some of our customers are reporting up to 30 percent smaller assemblies. The smaller the assembly memory use, the better the overall performance.

     

    Summary

     

    This completes the series of articles on working with large assemblies. I’ve attempted to give you an overview of the more common tools that are available for improving your performance, and efficiency, when working with large assemblies, or any assembly for that matter. But let me emphasize that this was an overview. There are many more tips and tricks, methods, and commands that could have been discussed. For example, the recently added Isolate command, or the Insert Assembly Copy command, to name two. You can research more on this topic in the Solid Edge Help documents or attend one of our Advanced Assembly course. Where we teach all of the methods to deal with large assemblies, plus many more tools for creating, editing, and managing assemblies. The complete course syllabus can be found on our training page, at the following link: http://www.designfusion.ca//technical-training.html.