North America's Leading Siemens PLM Partner

Designfusion Blog

The right tool for the right job (part 1)

Dominic Benoit - Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Often times we are being asked: “Can Solid Edge do the programming for the machine that is going to produce the parts? ” My answer always comes to the principle that every pieces of software has its speciality. For example, when it concerns sheet metal parts, it will be cut on a continuous cutting technology (Laser, plasma, milling) or on a punching machine. As we can assume, each type of machine has in strength. Some technologies are better for thick material while others are very fast on thin parts. Some have a large size stationary table; other like the punching machines have a moving table and other can only hold one piece at a time. Here I refer to wood panel machining center with a wide array of tool type (saws, drills, mills and even label printer) and can machine on several faces of a part. This quick overview is just illustrating the range of specialisation that is involved when we think of programming a part to produce.

 

Solid Edge is an engineering and drawing platform. Programming software is essential in the preparation (offline) of the programs that will run on the machine. Moreover, all machines don’t “speak” the exact same language, even though the G-Code format is standard, taking into account of the level of instruction that the machine manufacturer put in the head (the controller) of the machine. So, every time that a software writes a program for a specific machine, it has to know what instructions the machine is expecting, how it’s expecting it and also, which ones don’t need to be given. This task belongs to the post-processor that goes with the programming software.

 

At the drawing stand point, there is no way we can specify that much information precisely for the manufacturing technique. So, outputting the outer and inner contours of the geometry that need to be cut or engraved is enough. Another article on our blog explains how to use the command that prepares the drawing for manufacturing a sheet metal part (How to save a flat pattern as a .dxf file in Solid Edge).

 

Programming applications all have their level of comprehensiveness of the programming needs particularly if they are developed by a machine manufacturer or by an independent software editor.

 

The programming software that I’m talking about in my article is act/cut, edited by a French company Alma, it is independent of any machine manufacturer. Act/cut’s strength is in its ability to be adapted to communicate with various types of machines within the same environment and in its calculation algorithms for nesting parts.

 

The most common exchange format for manufacturing drawing is of course .dxf. That’s why it seems logic for Solid Edge to export in this type with the command Save as flat. It’s also logical for act/cut to import this format smoothly. Act/cut can also import native CAD files from well-known software thanks to an add-on module.

 

When a .dxf is opened of the Drafter application of act/cut, a filter can be used either by Layer, by color or both Layer/color. This filter allows eliminating undesired elements up-front. For example, 2D drawings often have some dimensions on a specific layer, we don’t want to cut those as part of the piece, and then we remove them right away.

 


 

Fig. 1- Layers filters in act/cut.

 

Some parameters can be setup in act/cut’s resources to indicate in advance which layer or color must be excluded or included and what type of contour are they representing. Does it represent geometry to cut or to engrave or even is construction or cosmetic? This leads to enable batch import of files.

 

For its part, Solid Edge also provides parameters to control layer filtering in the Save as flat command. Once set, these parameters are stored in order to prevent from having to redefine them again each time.

 


 

Fig. 2- Layer filters in Solid Edge.

 

Many other aspects are to be considered in determining what role is played by which software regarding parts fabrication. I’ll cover more in an upcoming article.

 


Moving or Renaming a Subassembly with Revision Manager

John Pearson - Friday, December 18, 2015

For those of you that use revision manager, this may be a non-issue, but some users still have an issue with intelligently moving or renaming subassemblies or parts. So at the risk of over simplifying the issue, I’ve put together a simple example to illustrate how to achieve this task.

 

The scenario: I have created a Test folder representing my server. Inside this folder there are 5 other folders as shown below:

 


 

Folder1, Folder2, and Folder3 each contain a different assembly. These 3 assemblies all use a subassembly that currently resides in the OLD folder. The goal is to move and rename the subassembly from the OLD folder to the New folder, without breaking the links to the 3 assemblies in Folder1, Folder2, and Folder3.

 

To start the process, I open the OLD folder, locate the subassembly, and RMB click on it to select “Open with Revision Manager”.

 


 

Note: I could also open the View and Markup program from the Start Programs menu and then open the file in Revision Manager, from View and Markup.

 


 
 

 

Once in Revision Manager, I highlight the subassembly and its components as shown below.

 


 

Note: If you click on the top left grey square, it will highlight all the occupied rows below it.

 


 

Next, I go to the Tools tab and select the Where Used command, in the Assistants group.

 


 

The Where Used dialog appears and allows me to set up my search scope. In this example, I want to search the TEST folder in my C drive. Notice that I have also toggled on the Include subfolders option, near the bottom of the dialog.

 


 

Note: Under the Process options button, I could filter the type of files that I am searching.

 

Once my search scope is set up, I click Next. The process runs and reports back to me the Number of documents processed: and the Number of documents found:

 


 

I click Finish, to dismiss the dialog. I am left with a list of where the subassembly and its components are used. Remember this list is only based on my search scope. If the subassembly or its components are used outside of my TEST folder, it will not show up unless I expand my search scope.

 


 

Now I will move and rename my subassembly. To do this I RMB click over the highlighted components and select Set Action to Rename.

 


 

Note: I could also click on the Rename command on the home tab, in the Action group.

 

Notice the New Filename column becomes populated.

 


 

I now either click on the Set Path command, on the Home tab > Action group, or RMB click and select Set Path from the shortcut menu. This launches a browse dialog. From there I select the New folder, which is the location that I want to move the subassembly and its components.

 


 

When I click OK, the New Filename column is updated to the new path.

 


 

Now I can rename the components. In this case, I want to replace the “exp” prefix with a “new: prefix. To do this I select the Replace command from the Home tab>Edit group.

 


 

I set the dialog up to find and replace “exp” with “new”, as shown below.

 


 

Once I completed this process I see the new names, along with the new location, listed in the New Filename column.

 


 

These changes have also occurred in the Where Used section of the Revision Manager.

 


 

Before I tell the system to make these changes, I need to tell it to update all the parent assemblies that use this subassembly and its components. To do this I first highlight all the listed parent assemblies, as shown below.

 


 

Next I either click on the Update command on the Home tab>Action group, or I RMB click and select Set Action to Update from the shortcut menu. This populates the New Filename column in the Where Used section as shown below.

 


 

Now I simply review all my actions and once satisfied I click the Perform Actions command.

 


 

Once the process is complete, I can exit the Revision Manager, and confirm my changes. I confirm that my OLD folder is now empty and that my New folder is populated with the newly named subassembly and its components.

 


 

I can open the assemblies in Solid Edge or Revision Manager to confirm that there are no broken links.

 

Although this was a simple example, you can see how this can be used on a larger scale. Revision Manager is a powerful and reliable tool that helps you manage your data in a non-managed environment. If your data has become too large to easily manage you should consider implementing Teamcenter.

 

Teamcenter is the world's most widely used PLM solution. For manufacturing companies who need to deliver increasingly complex products while maximizing productivity and streamlining global operations, Teamcenter helps increase revenue, get to market faster, reduce costs and improve product quality. Teamcenter simplifies PLM with targeted applications available to do what customers need when they need it. Platform capabilities get customers up and running quickly with a high definition user experience to inform decision-making anytime, anywhere. Applications are built on the PLM platform to help customers grow their deployment strategically over time.

 

For more information on Teamcenter, please visit our website at http://www.designfusion.ca//teamcenter.html or contact us at info@designfusion.com

 


How to: Reverse Engineer a Feature from a Round Surface

Manny Marquez - Tuesday, December 08, 2015

 

More videos here: https://www.youtube.com/EdgeCanada


How to Search the Assembly Pathfinder for a Named Component

John Pearson - Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Solid Edge has a nice tool that can save you a lot of time if you need to isolate specific named parts in a large assembly. This tool is called Quick Query and can be found on the Select Tools tab of the PathFinder.

 


 

Let’s assume that you have to locate a component in a very large assembly. All you have is the component’s name to go by. Here are the steps to use the Quick Query to locate the named component.

 

  •    1.On the Select Tools tab, position your cursor over the Quick Query box, then right-click to display the shortcut menu.

 


 

   2.On the shortcut menu, set the Property option you want. In this example you need to select the Name property.

 


 

   3.On the shortcut menu, set the Condition option you want. You can set the condition to Contains, Is (Exactly), or Is Not.

 


 

   4.On the shortcut menu, click the Scope button to display the Scope dialog box, and then set the scope options you want.

 

 


Note: Solid Edge will remember the settings, so you only have to set them once if you continue to use the same property, condition and scope settings.

  

   5.On the Select Tools tab, type the value property you are searching for in the Quick Query box, and then click the Go button.

 


 

The parts that match the query properties you’ve defined are selected in the assembly window and PathFinder.

 


 

 

Note:Since the condition was set to Contains, it was not necessary to include the file extension. In fact, you do not even have to type the full name.

 

In this example, the Name property was used, but one could also search for components using any of the other properties listed in the quick query shortcut menu.

 

Quick queries are not stored on the Select Tools tab. If you wish to create a permanent query, click on the New Query button, on the Select Tools tab.

 

 

 

The Query dialog box will appear. Here you can define the query scope and criteria, as above, but you can also give the query a name. For example, below is a query, called Conveyor, which searches for the Category property which contains the word Conveyor.

 


 

Using this method saves the query in the assembly file for future reuse.

 


 

Queries can also be saved in the assembly template, so they can be reused in any of your assembly files, created from that template.

However you choose to use the queries they will provide quick and accurate search capabilities within your company’s assembly files.

 


How to Manage Dimensions in Draft Part 4

Manny Marquez - Thursday, November 05, 2015


Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3pXCcPMin4

Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVAmo2xrVd0

Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jQKqw0urCk

 

More videos here: https://www.youtube.com/EdgeCanada

 





How to save a flat pattern as a .dxf file in Solid Edge

John Pearson - Monday, October 26, 2015

In this blog, I want to focus on a single command; that being the “Save As Flat” command. I receive many calls from customers who ask how to create DXF files of their flattened parts. They need them to send to their manufacturing software or machine controller. Some have become creative and make a draft of the flat pattern and save that as a DXF file, but there’s an easier and better way. The best way is to use the “Save As Flat” command, using the following steps:


Once you have your sheet metal model created, create your flat pattern.I’m assuming that you already know how to create a flat pattern, so I won’t go into detail here.

 

 


 


Technically you can use the “Save As Flat” command to flatten the part, but I always recommend using the Flat Pattern command, to do this, for 2 reasons. First, you can verify that the flat pattern is feasible, and second, you probably need it anyway for your draft document.

 

Once you’ve created a flat pattern of the model, select the “Save As Flat” command from the pull down Application menu.

 


 

Notice that the “Save As Flat” dialog appears.

 


 

Before saving the file, click on the Options button, at the bottom of the dialog. This will launch the “Save As Flat DXF Options” dialog.

 


 

This dialog allows you to control what is output to the DXF file and how it is output. For example; if your controller does not like the bend centerlines output, you can block this by unchecking them in the Export to DXF column.

 


 

Now the centerlines will not be output to the DXF file when you save it.

 

Notice that there are 3 tabs in the dialog.

 


 

You can control Layers, Bend Data, and Fonts. If you are unsure of the settings you need, check with the machine operator or machine manuals. These settings are here only for controlling what is output into the DXF file. Therefore they have to match what your machine needs in the DXF file. If you want to read more about the options dialog, you can click on the Help button, in the bottom right corner of the dialog.

 

Once you set the options, click OK to return to the “Save As Flat” dialog. Select the folder that you want to save the file in, give the file a name, and make sure the “Save as type:” option is set to AutoCAD (*.dxf), then hit Save.

 


 

You now have a DXF file, of your flat pattern, to use in your manufacturing software or send to your machine controller.


Note: Once you set the options, in the “Save As Flat” dialog, they remain set. However it’s a good idea to document the settings in case your computer fails or you move to a newer version of Solid Edge.

Feel free to experiment with the options settings. Remember these settings only effect what’s output to the DXF file. They have no effect on the Solid Edge file.

 


Solid Edge: A baker’s dozen of Tips and Tricks (Part 3 of 3)

John Pearson - Friday, August 07, 2015

 

  • 9.Configurations for draft
  •  

Much like you create a configuration for your exploded view, you can create configurations for later use in your draft views. To do this you need to first turn off all the components that you wish to exclude from the view. Then create a new configuration of the components you want to show in the draft view. To do this, select the configuration command:

 


 

Click on the New button.

 


 

Enter in the name of this new configuration.

 


 

You can later place this named configuration as a separate view onto a draft sheet.

 

  • 10.Placing configurations in Draft
  •  

When placing an assembly into a draft sheet, using the Drawing View Wizard, you can select from a list of configurations or zones.

 


 

Only the components in that configuration will be visible in the draft view.

 

Note:If you wish to create a parts list of this configuration, you can set the Part List to only show the configuration components. To do this, open the properties of the Parts List and go to the List Control tab. Notice the Configuration option half way down the right side. Expand this and select the desired configuration.

 


 

  • 11.Placing section views in Draft
  •  

To place an assembly section view into a draft view, you must first place the assembly into the view. You then right click on to view and go to the view properties. On the Section tab you will find a list of all the assembly section views. Simply select the desired section view and then update the views to convert the assembly view into the section view.

 


 

  • 12.Drawing View Depth
  •  

By specifying a drawing view display depth for a back clipping plane, you can simplify any type of drawing view so that geometry behind the plane is removed from the view. This feature can be used, for example, to reduce the visible clutter behind a section view or a broken-out section view.

 

The Set Drawing View Depth command is found on the shortcut menu when you RMB click on the view.

 


 

You can type in a back clipping plane depth or use the companion view to set a depth.

 


 

You can remove the drawing view depth by using the Remove defined Depth command on the shortcut menu.

 

  • 13.Dimension Automatic Arrangement

 

Use the Arrange Dimensions command to automatically group, select, and arrange linear dimensions so they don’t overlap drawing view geometry and annotations.

 


 

There are three different ways to arrange dimensions;


  • I.Select a dimension

 


 

  • II.Fence select – drag a fence around the dimensions

 


 

  • III.Select a drawing view will select all dimensions for that view.

 


 

Note:This automatic arrangement command now makes it easy for you to use the Retrieve Dimensions command and quickly arrange the retrieved dimensions.

Thus ends our baker’s dozen tips and tricks. If all or most of these are new to you, consider upgrading your skills by attending one of our training courses. Here’s the link to the standard courses we offer; http://www.designfusion.ca//technical-training.html. We can also arrange custom training to meet your company’s needs. For more information contact your Account Rep or contact us at info@designfusion.com

 


Solid Edge: A baker’s dozen of Tips and Tricks (Part 2 of 3)

John Pearson - Tuesday, July 21, 2015

 

  • 5.Direct editing tool in the ordered paradigm.
  •  

The direct editing commands in Solid Edge allow you to modify models imported from other applications that do not have a feature tree, or to modify native Solid Edge design models without accessing the current feature tree.

 

 

 

Notice that in the Move Faces, Offset faces, and Rotate Faces, there is a select option to select the body.

 

 

 

This allows you to move, offset, or rotate the entire body.


  • 6.Flash Fit, for bolts and screws
  •  

When using the FlashFit option to place assembly relationships, you can select the bottom cylindrical edge of the bolt head and the top cylindrical edge of the hole to fully position the fastener, like the insert relationship.

 

     

 

Resultant relationships are Mate and Axial Align with rotation locked.

  


 

Note: To select the cylindrical edges you have to have the Circular Edges option turned on in the Assembly Relationship options.

 

 

 

  • 7.Capture Fit
  •  

Ideal for hardware or commonly used components, capture fit remembers what relationships and geometry you used to originally place your component. When you place the component again it will prompt you only for the target geometry.

 

To use capture fit you must first place the component into an assembly using the assembly relationships that you plan to capture. Then select the Capture Fit command and save the relationships in the dialog.

 

 

 

  • 8.Section views in assemblies
  •  

In the assembly environment, the Section command is found on the PMI tab.

 

 

 

The steps are similar to constructing a cutout feature for a part.

 

•Plane Step

•Draw Profile Step

•Side Step

•Extent Step

•Select Parts Step

 

For the last step you have options on how to determine which parts are to be sectioned.

 

 

 

When you are finished, you are left with a visual section view.

 

 

 

Note:You can hide and show the section view by toggling it on and off in the PathFinder.

 

 


Solid Edge: A baker’s dozen of Tips and Tricks (Part 1 of 3)

John Pearson - Thursday, July 02, 2015

 

Recently Designfusion held their annual Productivity Summit at the Microsoft office, in Mississauga. As part of the summit I presented a “Tips and Tricks” session that was well received. I promised that I would share these in a future blog article. So here is a baker’s dozen of tips and tricks:


    • 1.Holding down the Shift Key when using the Rectangle by Center command will create a square. (Added in ST7)

 

 

 

  • 2.Auto dimensioning done the correct way.
  •  

The biggest complaint with auto dimensioning is “I have to delete more dimensions than I would normally place”. However, if you use these settings Solid Edge will only place keyed in dimensions.


 


  •  
  • 3.Controlling rotation point
  •  
  • In the Select mode, Middle Mouse Button (MMB) click, in an empty screen space, to clear the small white select symbol attached to the cursor. The cursor will now appear with no symbols attached.

 

 

 

  • Move the cursor to one of the following positions and hold down the MMB to rotate:
  •  
  • I.Hold the MMB down on a vertex to rotate about the vertex.

 

 

 

  • II.Hold the MMB down on a linear edge to rotate about the linear edge.

 

 

 

  • III.Hold the MMB down on a face to rotate about the point on a face.

 

 

 

  • IV.Hold the MMB down on a circular arc or conic-shaped edge to rotate about the axis of the circular arc or conic-shaped edge.

 

 

 

  • 4.Clipping planes
  •  

I.Choose View tab→Clip group→Set Planes.

 

 

 

II.Select a planar face or reference plane, position the cursor to define the first clipping plane (A), and then click.


III.Position the cursor to define the second clipping plane (B), and then click.

 

 

 

IV.Click Finish.

 

 

 

Note: When you set the Dynamic Clipping option on the command bar, the clipping depth updates dynamically as you move the cursor during the Set Plane 2 Step. When you clear the Dynamic Clipping option the clipping depth updates when you click to define the second clipping plane.


Note: You can turn the clipped display on and off using the ‘Clipping On’ command, located below the Set Planes command, or use the Hot Keys (Ctrl + D).

 

 


Transfer of loads from Motion analysis to FEA study within Solid Edge

Frederic Menage - Thursday, June 11, 2015

 

 

Check out our other videos : youtube.com/designfusion