North America's Leading Siemens PLM Partner

Designfusion Blog

How to Export Quality Images in Drafting

Stephen Rose - Tuesday, January 03, 2017



  • This FAQ explains the steps to generate quality shaded image views in drafting, including the use of translucency. 




  • Understanding of Modeling and Drafting environments in NX


Step By Step Process…

  • 1.Generate your solid body, or load an existing solid part, and adjust translucency as required.
  • 2.Switch to the Drafting environment and generate a sheet.
  • 3.On the top ribbon select the <File> Tab, then choose Preferences -> Drafting



  • 4.Under the <View > expandable menu select <Workflow>, then scroll down until you see the Visual Settings group in the right-hand pane.In that group check <þ> Use translucency and <þ> Use Line Antialiasing then select <OK>.(n.b. See end of document for anti-alias impacts)
  • 5.Place a view of your choice on the sheet drawing (the default will be a wire-frame view.



  • 6.Select the drafting view boundary, right-click and choose Settings
  • .
  • 7.For best results, in the left-hand pane, under the <Common> expandable menu select <Configuration> , and in the Settings group in the right-hand pane set preference to Exact Representation, rather than Lightweight.You can specify the curve tolerance here also.



  • 8.Now scroll down further in the left-hand pane and select <Shading>, and in the Format Group in the right-hand pane change the Rendering style from Wireframe, to Fully Shaded.Make any other adjustments needed for surface Shininess, then in the Tolerance group select one of the default Tolerances, or chose Customize to edit manually.Then click <OK>.



  • 9.You will then see results similar to this:



  • 10.You can then set other view dependent preferences if you want hidden lines, or smooth lines, shown different than the default setting.      Default


      Smooth Edges lightened


      Hidden lines processed


  • 11.Once your views are set you can use File->Export->pdf, you can use File->Print to a pdf, (with Export shaded views as wireframe left Unchecked), or you can File->Plot to plot to a suitable configured printer--or even plot out to a graphics format such as TIFF.


n.b.Out of the Box the Graphic Plotting format resolution is set quite low.If you need a higher resolution you can go into the plotter administration and change the values.

  • 12.To set these Graphic Formats resolutions go to File->Utilities->Printer Administration, you are then prompted to Edit the printer setup or Create a new one.(See the Plotter Setup documentation for this initial setup.)Once you are in the Edit menu, you will see the <Graphics Default> tab, under that tab are the types of graphic formats for plotting to. You can edit each of their default resolutions here.



Anti-Alias Notes in Drafting Mode:


Anti-alias choices can make an impact on how well your shaded surface edges show up on the drawings.The two pictures directly below show the Drafting Preference setting “Use Anti-Aliasing”



Use Anti-Alias Unchecked (OFF)               Use Anti-Alias Unchecked (ON)


Adjusting Full-Scene Antialiasing toggle, can also sometimes improve results.


ST9 Assembly In context Contour Flange

Manny Marquez - Thursday, October 13, 2016


Check out our other videos here

Moldwizard Series

Stephen Rose - Thursday, October 06, 2016

Check out our 3 part MoldWizard Series


Part 1:



Part 2:



Part 3:




Ways to help with Keyshot

Cory Goulden - Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Have you have ever been asked to create an image or snapshot for any reason and the model that you created in SE does not have the level of detail required? Maybe there are holes in a sheet that are not there (for performance reasons for example). Maybe a hose is just a tube but you want it to appear to have a ribbed type look to it? Keyshot might be the solution.


We, as CAD designers, make a cognitive decision to keep things simple as best we can. Let’s take a look at how we can utilize Keyshot to do some of the heavy lifting in this case.


We can start with a simple tube in Solid Edge. We need to produce a picture of this tube but it needs to look corrugated. Quickly we can take it into Keyshot. This is where the fun starts.


              Start                                                                                                    Finish



This is easily accomplished by using the thread face style in Solid Edge and then going into Keyshot.



What’s that? Too easy or doesn’t look good enough. Okay we can apply a hard black plastic to it in Keyshot. That makes the cylinder look good but we need to apply a texture to it. On the left hand side of the Keyshot menu under the textures tab you can select the “Horizontal_Tubes_Normal”. As usual with Keyshot it is as simple as dragging and dropping onto our model. Next go to the right side menus of Keyshot and let’s edit the properties of this texture. From the Project menu under the Materials>Textures tab (As illustrated below) I changed the Scale to .1 and the Bump Height to 2. For this model those sizes give me what I want to see.





This looks great and I did not have to model the corrugation. A mistake some users can make. You may not need the information in the CAD model but you may need to show it in screenshots or documentation. Try doing it in Keyshot. I am sure you will have impressive results!


“But you also said holes in a sheet” is what you are thinking now….I know I know. Great tools here too.


For example, we design holes that have specific purposes. But let’s say we need a perforated sheet. We have a solid sheet in Solid Edge and take in into Keyshot.


First option here is to apply a material type (such as “Aluminum Circular Mesh) to the sheet. This gives us circular cut-outs in the material. Again you might need to adjust the parameters. As you can see, you can see right through it.



You could modify the colours from there is need be.


You could also apply a Texture to an applied material as we did before in the above steps.


This is a simple process to have fast performing models in Solid Edge and also be able to produce what might be required for presentations, documentation, or to others. Keyshot makes it easy!





NX CAM: Eliminate wasted cutting motions on overhanging blank material

John Pearson - Thursday, July 28, 2016


Regular readers of our blog may recall my last NX CAM article, where I stated that many improvements to the software are missed due to lack of upgrade training. I gave several reason for this, which I’ll not repeat. If you’re interested, you can read the article:


Continuing on the theme from that article, I’d like to highlight another recent improvement that may have been overlooked by some users. This improvement focuses on eliminating some wasted cut motions. My old boss, back in my CNC programming days, used to always remind me that machine time was more valuable than my time. It was his way of saying that he wanted us to make our programs as efficient as possible. So I was trained to always look for cutting efficiency. Perhaps that is why this enhancement caught my eye. This was introduced in NX9, so if you haven’t upgraded to NX9 or NX10, you have to do this manually. Let’s first look at the scenario.


I have a part to be machined, along with my defined blank geometry, as shown below.



Let’s assume that I rough out the bottom of the part first, using cavity mill.



Next I’ll want to rough out the top. I define my cavity mill operation and set the containment to use the IPW (in process workpiece). In other words, my blank becomes what was left after the last operation.



The image below shows the blank material after the bottom rough cut.



Prior to NX9, my cutting path would look like the following image.



Notice that the tool roughed the top, but it continued to cut the bottom half which had already been roughed away. In NX9 they added an enhancement which omits cuts that remove insignificant amounts of material from overhanging IPW’s. So in NX9, under the Strategy tab, you will see a new option called Cut Below Overhanging Blank.



If this is turned on, you will get the old pre-NX9 results, as shown above. If it is turned off, your path will generate as shown below.



Notice here that no cutting motions are wasted trying to remove the IPW left behind by the previous operation on the underside of the part. This could add up to some significant machine time savings for your company.


I will continue to highlight some of the newer NX CAM enhancements in future blog articles. But keep in mind that this is a slow way to learn about improvements. For example, had you attended an NX9 upgrade course, you would have learned this enhancement and more, almost 2 years ago. Imagine how much machine time that could have been saved; definitely enough to pay for the course and much more.


New – Standalone Advanced Draft Course

John Pearson - Thursday, July 07, 2016


As Solid Edge’s capabilities expand, so too must we expand our ability to utilize the latest capabilities. With this in mind we have created a new, standalone advanced draft course. We use to teach advanced draft capabilities as part of the advanced modeling course. However, we felt that it wasn’t doing the topic justice. So we have created a 2-day course focused on the Solid Edge Draft environment.


This new course builds on the draft training from the fundamentals course. It takes the user to new and deeper levels of knowledge and expands their capabilities. Upon completion, students will be able to create, and manipulate, draft templates. They will also have a greater understanding of how to manage and manipulate the views, dimensions, annotations, styles, and tables, in the Draft environment. The course content includes:


Day 1


Module 1: Draft Templates 

– Draft Templates

  • Global Settings

  • Background Sheet

  • Boundaries, Title Blocks, and Logos

  • Callouts

  • Working Sheet

  • Saving the template

  •        • Template locations


Module 2: Advanced View Control 

– Advanced View Control

  • DV Wizard saved settings

  • Rapid population of draft template

  • Draft Quality drawing views

  • Drawing View Display Depths

  • Locking a drawing view

  • Modify a drawing view cropping boundary

  • Advanced Detail View option

  • View Alignment of Break Lines

  • Drawing View Styles


Module 3: Advanced View Editing 

– Advanced View Editing

  - View Activation

  - View properties

  - Track Dimension Changes

  - Drawing View Tracker

  - Force Drawing Views to Update


Module 4: Advanced Dimensions 

– Advanced Dimensions

  • Smart Dimension Hot Keys

  • Coordinate Dimension options

  • Symmetric Dimensions

  • Attach Dimensions

  • Add Jogs to Dimension

  • Insert a vertex in a leader

  • Dimension Styles

  • Copy Attributes



Day 2


Module 5: Advanced Annotations 

– Advanced Annotations

  • Advanced control over center lines and center marks

  • Stacked Balloons

  • Special Symbols

  • Reference Text

  • Technical Text note

  • Format Code

  • Annotation Alignment Shape



Module 6: Parts List and Tables 

– Parts List and Tables

  • Parts List Properties in detail

  • Tables Styles

  • Pull Assembly or Model Out of Assembly Context

  • Hole Table

  • FOP Tables

  • User-defined Tables



Module 7: Automated Draft Tools 

– Automated Draft Tools

  • Dimension Alignment

  • Dimension Automatic Arrangement

  • Automatic Centerlines

  • Perspective Views

  • QuickSheet Template

  • Sheet Compare

  • Batch Printing


Module 8: Miscellaneous Tools 

- Layers

  - Blocks

  - Symbols

  - Revision Manager


This advanced knowledge will allow the student to improve on both qualities of, and efficiency in, their draft documents.It significantly advances the capabilities in creating and modifying draft documents, and has been professionally designed to maximize return on investment.


This course, which is unique to Designfusion, adds to our list of courses already offered by our professional trainers. For a complete list of our courses, please visit our technical training page at, For our training schedule, please visit our events page at,


For more information and quotes, contact your Account Manager, or contact us at [email protected].


NX CAM: Options for selecting cut areas

John Pearson - Thursday, May 26, 2016


With the daily grind to meet production schedules, it is often difficult to keep up with all the changes to NX CAM software. I have spoken with many users who are basically still using methods that they learned from their first CAM course(s), despite the fact that there now exist more efficient ways of doing things. The primary reason for this is that they have not received any update training. Some companies expect the users to learn on their own, yet fail to provide time to do so. Others don’t see the value in upgrade training, or insist that their users simply don’t need it. Whatever the excuse, training always seems to be the lowest priority, until issues arise. I have even known companies who have even investigated changing software, when the far less expensive option of training would provide them with all that they need.


With this in mind, I thought it may be ideal to review some of the newer and more efficient ways of doing things in NX CAM. For this blog article I’d like to focus on the new options for cut area selection, added to the fixed and variable contour operations, in NX9. You can now define Cut Areas, for these operations, by selecting a seed face and bounding edges that form a closed loop.


Example 1 : Let’s start by looking at a simple example where I use a seed face inside a single loop. Here I have a Contour Area operation for the part you see below.



I start by selecting the Specify Cut Area option. I then use the new selection method that has been added. This method is labeled as Edge Bounded Region, and is found in the Selection Method list.



With this new option selected, all I have to do is select a seed face, as shown below.



Then I select the bounding edge as shown below.



Tip: To ensure the selection of the tangent curve, I make sure that the selection intent, on the Top Border Bar, is set to Tangent Curves .



I then click on Preview Region, and notice that I have selected this entire region with minimal mouse clicks.



Example 2: This example shows the selection of a single seed face that is found between two containment loops. Using the same part and operation as in Example 1, I start by selecting Specify Cut Area. I select the Edge Bounded Region option from the Selection Method list. This time I select the seed face shown below.



As before, I use the Tangent Curves selection intent to select the top closed loop.



I then select the bottom closed loop.




These two closed loops form the exterior and interior containment loops and when I select Preview Region , I am shown the selected area.



If you expand the Region Options on the Cut Area dialog, you will see 2 other options, the Traverse Interior Edges option, and the Use Tangent Edge Angle option.



The next two examples will look at these options.


Example 3 : Using the Traverse Interior Edges option.


In this example, I expand on Example 1, where I have already selected the faces as shown below.



But in this example, a boss and an additional edge blend has been added to the model.



If I use the same selection method as in Example 1, but also toggle on Traverse Interior Edges, the Preview Region shows me the following selection area.



Example 4 : Using the Use Tangent Edge Angle option.


In this final example, I have modified the part by removing the top edge blend. By removing the edge blend, the normal vectors between the faces now form a 30-degree angle.



I start by selecting Specify Cut Area. I select the Edge Bounded Region option from the Selection Method list. For my seed face I select the bottom face.



For the bounding edge I select the four exterior edges shown below.



Next, I toggle on the Use Tangent Edge Angle option and set the Angle Tolerance to 25.0000, as shown.



When I generate my operation, I notice that the top planar face is ignored. This is because the normal vectors between tangent faces exceed the specified 25-degree Angle Tolerance, therefore the adjacent face is not included in the cut area.



Rule: If the normal vectors between tangent faces equal or exceed the user specified Angle Tolerance, the adjacent face is not added to the contained area to be machined.



As you can see, these new options are more efficient than the previous method for selecting a cut area. And this is just one of the many new tools added in recent years. NX CAM continues to improve its technology, but it is up to you, the user, to learn about these improvements. It has been my experience that this does not happen unless the user is allowed the time to learn. The most cost effective way for users to improve is through professional training. Update and custom courses are available through either Siemens Training or through Designfusion. For more information, contact your Account Manager or contact us at [email protected].



How to copy a whole set of files from a project

Dominic Benoit - Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Depending on the folder structure used in your company, links between Solid Edge files can sometimes be spread all over the file system. The task to consolidate all files may seem impossible, but often essential for various reasons. You must already have tried to copy all using Windows Explorer, but you always keep the feeling of having forgotten well-hidden part files.


The Revision Manager is the ideal tool in order for grouping, or even for restructuring files.


Method of grouping: (such as for sending by e-mail)

Only downlinks will be found and copied.

  • 1-Open the general assembly



  • 2-Starting from the left to the right, click the buttons in the following order :
  •    a.Expand All
  •    b.Select All
  •    c.Copy
  •    d.Set Path



  • 3-Select the destination folder. Create one if necessary with the New Folder button.
  • 4-Confirm that all actions are properly prepared.



  • 5-Click Perform actions


Your documents are copied to the specified single folder.


Copying method, keeping the original structure :

Only downlinks will be found and copied.

  •     1-Open the general assembly



  • 2-Starting from the left to the right, click the buttons in the following order :
  •     a.Expand All
  •     b.Select All
  •     c.Copy



  • 3-You must now change the path of your copy:
  • a.Click on Replace 

  • b.Enter the beginning of the path that is common to all files in the Find What box.
  •     i.Ex 1. F:\00_Demos\Quicklooks
  •     ii.Ex 2. F :
  • c.Enter the beginning of the destination path for all files in the Replace with box.
  •     i.Ex 1. G:\Copy
  •     ii.Ex 2. G :
  • d.Click on Replace All



  • 4-Confirm that all actions are properly prepared.



  • 5-Click on Perform Actions.

  • 6-You then have a message offering you to create missing folders in the destination. Answer Yes, the folders will be created as specified in step 4.


Your documents are copied to the specified folder by creating the structure.


Full copy method:


The downlinks and uplinks will be found and copied.

  •     1-Open the general assembly



  • 2-Starting from the left to the right, click the buttons in the following order :
  •     a.Expand All
  •     b.Select All
  •     c.Copy



  • 3-Do a Where Used to find the .DFT documents referring to these 3D models.
  •     a.Tools-> Where Used


  • 4-Identify the folders to crawl for the search.
  •     b.Click Add to include the desired folders in the right column.
  •     c.Click on Process Options to select only the .DFT file type.


  •     d.Click on Next to start the search.
  •     e.Selected AND found files will be listed at the bottom of the screen.
  • 5-Use one of the previously proposed methods to specify the destination of copies.
  • 6-Click in the lower pane, you need to select the .DFT files to apply the same copy / destination strategy.
  •     f.Click on Select By Type.


  •     g.Choose the .DFT files, then OK
  • 7-Click the action button Copy, and use a previously proposed method for specifying the destination of copies.



  • 8-Confirm that all actions are properly prepared.
  • 9-Click on Perform Actions.

  • 10-You then have a message offering you to create missing folders in the destination. Answer Yes, the folders will be created as specified in step 4.


Your documents are copied to the specified folder by duplicating all the structure.



How to control accurately the dimensions and corners of a frame (Assembly environment – Frame environment)

Frederic Menage - Tuesday, March 22, 2016



The frame command is a great time saver when we have to design metallic structures (assembly of standard channels). But we have to know how to efficiently control the location of the cross sections as well as the extremities (corners).


Additional wireframe to control all frame dimensions

Sometimes, we want to offset a cross section to obtain a better alignment but no keypoint on the cross section lets us access the correct location relative to the wireframe. For this reason, it is sometimes required (especially when there are angular members) that we build additional wireframe (in a sketch typically) in order to locate cross sections.



Trimming/extending using other frame members requires several frame features

When we need a good contact between frame member faces, we sometimes need to use the extend/trim option at some extremities. The user should know that trimming/extending using other frame members is only possible if the extrusions belong to different frame features. Also, the ‘auto’ method as well as a quickpick selection of the target face should be used in such a situation.



The Frame command is a complex command that requires some practice. Selection methods are slightly different than your typical Solid Edge command. Also, there are lots of sub-options to discover. Once all this is clarified, you will have no problem designing your frames with ease in a timely manner.


How to Model Flexible Parts

Manny Marquez - Friday, March 11, 2016


Check out our other videos here

Recent Posts