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How to copy a whole set of files from a project

Dominic Benoit - Tuesday, March 08, 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.


Solid Edge and Keyshot : how does it work? Chapter 2

- Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Here is the conclusion of the article on the interaction between Solid Edge and Keyshot.Make sure to read Chapter 1 first!


To simplify the text, SE = Solid Edge and KS = Keyshot…

  • 1. Take advantage of Keyshot’s behavior


We saw that KS reads SE files and reproduces the assembly / sub-assembly / part structure tree.Keyshot also adds another level based on the SE Face Styles used in the CAD model, most of these colors were added with SE’s Part Painter tool.


This will allow you to « cheat » easily the look of parts without the need to double part count or any other acrobatics. Note that multi-body SE files don’t change KS’ behavior.

  • 2. How about a concrete example?


We want to show a single part with machined faces. To do this in Keyshot, first use Solid Edge Part Painter and apply different face styles to the machined faces, prior to send to KS. The actual color doesn’t matter but remember that KS has a powerful search and select tool that can read Face Styles’ names.Use it to your advantage!


Example: First steps in Solid Edge: on the left side, a single part containing multi-bodies on which we used the Part Painter. On the right side, also a single part containing multi-bodies but they have a single color.



Let’s see how the structure looks like when you send the model to Keyshot:



We can clearly see the « main » structure (one top-assembly, two parts). We also see the additional level KS created, based on the Face Styles used in SE. The left side multi-body partshows each face style used under the « Material » column (Grip, Orange, Blue, etc). The right-side multi-body part only shows a single level since we used a single face style for both bodies in SE (Teal).



Keyshot will be able to apply a material to each face sets shown in the « Material » column. Because of this, the right-side part is condemned to use a single color.Keyshot 6 Pro offers a way to split bodies and faces (see below) but you’re stuck if you don’t have this version of KS.As it stands right now, the right-side part bodies can only have the same color.


Example: We applied some materials to the left-side part. It contains multi-bodies but we also used Part Paitner on some faces.By using the right technique, we were able to apply a “machined” material to one of the face of the cube, as well as a textured black rubber grip on the orange handle.



  • 3.I still want to split bodies on the right-side part to apply different colors. What can I do?


The answer depends on which Keyshot version you are using!

  • a.Keyshot for Solid Edge (SE Classic or Premium)
  • i.Go in SE, using Part Painter apply a different face style to each face you want to individually control.Use different colors for each face sets as they   will be grouped in KS.Update your render.

  • b.Keyshot Pro 5 and previous
  • i.There are no other solutions than editing the source geometry file.If your source files are Solid Edge, or can be edited by SE, use the Part Painter technique defined above.

  • c.Keyshot Pro 6
  • i.Use the brand new « Geometry Editor » tool which allows you to split elements (face, bodies, tesselation triangles) directly in your KS session.This tool is really cool and will save you tons of time! We can also change the face vector, for example, to control grain direction.


Using KS 6 Pro Geometry Editor, we choose which operation we want to execute:



We graphically choose which body or face we want to split from the main group:



Hit “Done” and we can now apply different materials on each body:



  • ii.Please note that this process will break the « Live Linking » with the Solid Edge model.You will be prompted with a warning message.If you want to maintain the live link with the SE model, use the Part Painter method instead.



I hope this will help you better control your renderings and make you more efficient. Don’t hesitate to send me your questions and comments.Happy Rendering!


Solid Edge and Keyshot : how does it work? Chapter 1

- Tuesday, February 16, 2016


In this article, I will focus on the Solid Edge / Keyshot interaction and their capability to update a render rather than starting from scratch after a CAD change.Wheter you use the Keyshot for Solid Edge version (Classic and Premium licenses) or the Keyshot Pro version, you need to understand how these two applications work with each other.You’ll be able to use this behavior to your advantage.


In order to simplify the text, SE = Solid Edge and KS = Keyshot.

  • 1. « Live Linking » option


Make sure that this mandatory option is enabled in Keyshot.Go in the menus « Edit -> Preferences », select the « Advanced » section and validate that “Enabled Live Linking” is checked on.



  • 2. Keyshot and Solid Edge’s face styles


Keyshot reads Solid Edge’s face styles in its own fashion.Keyshot will maintain the assembly / sub-assembly / part structure you already defined in SE, but i twill also add another level.This additional level is related to the face colors (SE Face Styles), so it’s closely tied to SE’s Part Painter tool and how you used it.


We’ll go deeper into this topic in the next chapter.


Example: The geometry below comes from a single part file containing multi-bodies. Using the right technique, we were able to apply a machined texture to one a face on the cube and a textured rubber material on the orange handle.



  • 3.How should I prepare my Solid Edge model before sending to Keyshot?

  • a.Only the displayed geometry will be sent to KS. Make sure to show or hide the correct geometry before you launch KS.You can also display construction surfaces, they will go in KS.However, other construction elements like curves, sketches and PMIs will not go through.

  • b.Add required « scene » elements.Keyshot supplies a « ground floor » but do you need some walls, roof or other additional elements that will enhance your render? Add them in the CAD if you can before sending to KS.

  • 4. My Solid Edge model changed, what should I do with my Keyshot render?


There are two ways to update an existing KS render when the SE model changed.Note that saving is independent in both applications, so make sure to save your files in both SE and KS.

  • a.If you didn’t close your applications …

  • i. There is a « Keyshot Update » button in SE.This button is enabled only if SE and KS sessions were not closed.Simply click the button and the KS model will update.



  • b.If you closed your applications…

    • i.The « Keyshot Update » button will be disabled but the update feature is still available! First, open your BIP file in Keyshot.Then, open your SE model and hit “Keyshot Render”.

  • ii.Keyshot will recognize if the SE model was used in the KS session.You will see the following dialog box.You’ll have the option to update the current KS sessions (select Yes) or create a new render session (select No).



  • 5.I’m updating an existing render file, what should I expect?

  • a.Keyshot looks into what changed in the SE model and updates only what is required in KS. What changed in SE will be updated (dimensions, color, location, display state, etc).What didn’t change in SE will not be affected in KS.

  • b.Example 1: We applied a Material to a part in KS.We change the Face Style (color) in SE, then we update the render. Result: The part color will be extracted from the SE Face Style.

  • c.Example 2: We applied a Material to a part in KS. We make some changes in SE but we don’T change the part’s face style, then we update the render.Result : The part will maintain its association with the KS material and not change color.

  • d.Example 3: We moved a part in Keyshot. We make some changes on the SE geometry (dimensions, features, etc) which doesn’t affect the part’s face style, then we update the render.Result: The part will maintain its “overridden” location in KS but its geometry will be updated.


Come back here to see the next chapter on the Solid Edge / Keyshot interaction. Don’t hesitate to submit your questions or comments.Happy rendering!



Common mistakes in Rendering

- Tuesday, February 09, 2016

In this article, I’d like to expose common mistakes made by users when rendering their products. I saw too many bad images on web sites or other marketing documentation to state that modern rendering technology solved all problems.You have the tools to create really nice images; it’s up to you to use them to your advantage!


Everyone has a different level of artistic sense.It will obviously influence the result but I hope that by following these simple rules, you will create remarkable imagery.So, whether you’re the next Picasso or can’t draw a stick figure, you won’t have any excuses anymore.

  • 1.Starting point

Where should I begin?An interesting model will be easier to work with, of course, but we can still make a rectangular welded frame interesting.First : what NOT to do…



Dont’ laugh!I still see these kinds of images in some Case Studies! A Solid Edge direct screen capture can still be acceptable in many cases but you need to make some sort of effort…


  • a.Hide construction elements (coordinate systems, reference planes, sketches, PMI, etc) unless they are absolutely necessary. A simple right-click in     the graphics zone will help you do this in seconds.
  • b.Crop the image so you don’t see the Edgebar, the Quick View Cube and how many Internet Explorer tabs you have opened.Focus on your product!
  • c.Use gradient background.Many of you miss the old Solid Edge V12 background but still…
  • d.Activate the high-quality display parameters. Raise the Sharpness and “anti-aliasing” levels.Activate floor reflection unless it causes distractions.Enable Perspective angle set to 35mm first, then tweak if required. Don’t hesitate to explore settings and save a 3D View Style to reuse later.



Let’s see what Solid Edge can look like, even without Keyshot:



Much better, isn’t it?


  • 2.Shifting in second gear!

If you’re not satisfied with the image quality rendered by Solid Edge alone, level up by sending your model to Keyshot. In Solid Edge, go to the Tools tab and hit “Keyshot Render”.Let’s look at the “as-is” result, created by Keyshot by default:



Again, much better, no?Reasons why this is better are both simple and complex but one of the main reason is the lighting. By default, Keyshot lights up the model using its “Environment”.This is a rectangular high-resolution image wrapped on a sphere surrounding the model. Each pixel of this wrapped image acts as a light source, which gives a natural light and feels similar to what your eyes are used to see.


Moreover, the same environment image is used to generate reflections on the polished material present in the model. A simple change of environment can make a huge difference on the look of a render.Browse the Environment library, select an image you like and drag it in the graphic window of Keyshot.



Many control parameters are available to tweak the environment. See it for yourself in the Project section, Environment tab.For most users, simple parameters like contrast, brightness and rotation angle will be sufficient.Keyshot Pro adds a “HDRI Editor” tool, enabling you to modify the default environments supplied in the library and create your own.

  • 3. More materials, less reflections!


There is a lot to say about Materials in Keyshot.I use the word « Material » because this aspect regroups color, texture, reflection, transparency, refraction and even decals.It’s far from a simple color!Let’s see common mistakes made at the Material level:

  • a. Material mistake #1: Changing idea during the process…
  • The look of a material is strongly influenced by its environment and its camera point of view as well.This is even more obvious for “brushed” textures (stainless steel).Always define the cameras and environment before starting to tweak the materials.If you don’t, chances are you’ll have to start over again if you changed environment and point of view.
  • b. Material mistake #2: Sharp edges…
  • In many industries, we model parts quickly without « removing sharp edges ».This is good for production, not for the CAD guy, but for rendering, it’s almost always preferable to add fillets and radii everywhere.The result will be much better and natural looking reflections than with perfectly sharp edges.
  • c. Material mistake #3: Mirrors… mirrors everywhere!
  • You polished your model and applied mirror-like materials everywhere.This may have been a good idea at the time but your final image will hurt from this decision.One aspect is the render calculation performance going down a bit but mostly, it will be hard to distinguish the model surfaces, parts and even the background.


Let’s look at an example which combines mistakes #2 and #3.Polished material (Roughness is at 0.008) and sharp edge(zero radius):



Let’s add some rounds and fillets. You can do this in the CAD or with Keyshot Pro 6, use the “Rounded Edges” setting located on the bottom of the Scene tab (Project section).We also changed the Roughness value to 0.1 to reduce the mirror effect.See the difference with the image above:



  • 4.Conclusion

Following these simple rules, you’ll be able to create beautiful realistic images of your products… without going to Art School!To conclude, let’s see the same model as our starting point rendered in Keyshot. The left side has sharp edges and polished material everywhere, the right side followed the guidelines. Happy rendering!




Using IFC files with Solid Edge ST8

- Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Solid Edge ST8 can now import and export « IFC » files. This “Industry Foundation Classes” format is actually a neutral 3D file which allows sharing geometry and properties between a CAD tool and “BIM” applications (Building Information Modeling).We could compare an IFC file with a STEP file for example; difference is that the IFC format also contains a suite of properties used in the Construction and Architecture industries.The IFC format is developed by an international committee and is not owned by any CAD vendor in particular, therefore the “neutral” file nickname.


Solid Edge ST8 supports two types of IFC files, IFC2X3 and IFC4. The IFC2X3 type doesn’t contain precise geometry (Brep is NOT supported) and less properties.This type is closer to a STL or JT (without precise geometry) file.Whenever it’s possible, it’s better to use the later IFC4 type.It’s more recent, does support precise geometry (Brep) and can carry more properties.These properties are closely tied to the Construction industry, like electrical consumption for example.The application that reads the IFC4 type will be able to add the geometry to its general layout, automatically going on the correct Field / Building / Story, adding the electrical consumption to the overall building consumption, for example.Please note that you need to install Solid Edge ST8 Maintenance Pack 3 in order to manage these additional properties.

1. Simplification


We strongly suggest simplifying the geometry before exporting the model to the IFC format.While you can always export the model as is, your partners and customers will appreciate the fact you took some time to remove unnecessary details (hardware, internal components, etc.). When your product is positioned into a building, you can remove details without impact.By simplifying geometry, the global performance will be much better and you won’t share all the fabrication details (and intellectual properties) with your customers.


Solid Edge offers efficient simplification tools at the part level as well as at the assembly level. This allows you to remove faces not required in the final model (chamfers, fillets, internal details, etc.) while keeping a single file per part to maintain.


Solid Edge will export the IFC model in its « as displayed » state. So if non-required parts are displayed, you should hide them before exporting, check the correct option, and the IFC model will look exactly as you want to.Same thing applies to the “Design” or “Simplified” display state of parts.

2. Properties management


Before exporting to IFC format, you need to make sure the properties are defined correctly.This is the primary purpose of this format.If there were no benefit in sharing properties, you could simply use existing neutral 3D formats like STEP and Parasolid.


For type IFC2X3, the list of properties is limited to Author, Organization, Program and Description). We access these properties via the IFC export options.In Solid Edge, select Save As, then the IFC format and the Options button will become available.



Type IFC4 is more recent and can carry as many properties as desired.Again, in the IFC export options, you can select « Include IFC properties ».This enables the link to an Excel spreadsheet used to define properties groups, names, types and values.We can have as many spreadsheets as required.



The default XLSX file supplied with Solid Edge is located in the Program sub-folder of the ST8 installation folder. There are instructions in the first tab and a suite of properties given as an example.We suggest backing up this file and using it as your foundation to define your own list of properties.


Each of the following tabs is used as a property group. Each group contains a list of properties, each with their name, value and type.You can create and remove groups and properties to make sure to cover the needs of each of your projects.For multiple customers with different needs, we suggest to create a spreadsheet for each one of them.You’ll only need to select the appropriate spreadsheet when exporting your model.

  • Portions of the default XLSX file supplied with ST8 MP3:

  • For example, group « Pset(Common) » contains general properties for every basic IFC file. Another groupe like “COBie” (Construction Operations Information Exchange) corresponds to generic properties used in the Construction industry without regards to actual geometry.

3. Export


Once the model is simplified and the properties correctly defined, you just need to hit « Save ».You’ll see file size compression in the process, especially with the older IFC2X3 format.



Solid Edge ST8 can also import IFC files.You will probably see additional assembly levels than the model you exported. Since IFC format is aimed at Construction projects, it will add a couple of levels of sub-assemblies above the actual model.They correspond to Construction Site / Building / Story.This allows architects easier management of building components.


If you import an IFC2X3 type, you won’t be able to select the geometry in Solid Edge.This is because the geometry is faceted data, not precise geometry.You only have the « visual » portion; there is no « mathematical » portion (Brep).Therefore, the IFC2X3 usage is very limited when opened in a CAD tool but you can still use it as a reference. You will not be able to select a keypoint, create a draft, display visible edges or even do a boolean operation.This is similar to the usage of a STL or JT (without precise geometry) in Solid Edge.


If you import an IFC4 type, you will remove the limitations mentioned above. IFC4 contains the “Brep”, so there is precise geometry in the file.You’ll be able to use it as with any other imported CAD format, similar to a STEP or Parasolid.Even the parts’ colors will be imported.


As you see, we strongly suggest using the IFC4 type whenever you can.

5. Conclusion


With a couple of tries, you’ll be able to find the right balance in the level of details (what do you simplify?) and the list of properties to share with your customers and partners. You’ll be able to share your products intelligently with all architects on the planet in a complete and precise fashion.

How to Find the Volume Capacity of Container

John Pearson - Thursday, January 28, 2016

It is sometimes necessary to determine the volume of a container. This is a relatively easy process to do, if you understand a few simple surfacing commands. For this article I will use the Hopper pictured below.



In this example I need to know the volume of sand that this hopper can hold. To determine this, I need to create a construction volume of the inside of the assembly. For this to work efficiently I need to know that the assembly is assembled correctly. In other words, I don’t want any gaps between the seams or joints of the hopper. Once I’m sure that this is true, I use the Create in Place command to create a part within the assembly. I give the part a name like Volume1.prt. The command then places me inside the Volume1.prt with the underlying assembly components visible, but dimmed.



Next I use the Inter-Part Copy command and I get all the inner faces of each part in the assembly.



For example, the Inter-Part Copy command prompts me to pick a part to copy from, so I select the back part, as shown.



I’m then prompted to select what I want to copy. I set the selection filter to Face and select the inside face of the part.



I accept this selection and I am left with the inside face construction surface.



I then repeat these steps for all of the components in the assembly. Once completed, I hide the assembly components by using the Hide Previous Level command. This is found on the View tab, in the Show group. I am left with all the inside faces of the hopper.



Note: If your assembly components are aligned properly these faces can be capped and stitched into a solid. Poor alignment may leave gaps and require more work to stitch the surfaces together.


Next I will use the Bounded command, from the Surfacing tab, to create end caps on this surface model.



I select the four top edges to form a closed loop and accept them to create a flat surface at the top.



I then repeat this step to create a bounded surface on the bottom. Note, the order in which I create the surfaces is not important, but I must have all the surfaces created before proceeding to the next step.



To turn this into a solid, I will use the Stitched command, found on the Surfacing tab.



I accept the defaults when the Stitched Surface Options dialog appears and hit OK.



I select all the surfaces and click Preview.



If I have aligned my components, and extracted the correct surfaces, I should receive this message.



I hit OK, and I’m left with a solid body representing the inside of the hopper.



To find the volume, of this solid body, I go to the Inspect tab and click on the Physical Properties command.



When the dialog appears, I make sure to click on the Update button, at the bottom. Since I haven’t assigned a material, I get this warning message.



Since I don’t care about the mass of the solid, I hit OK and the system gives me the volume of the solid.



I now have the capacity volume of this hopper. I can save this part with the assembly, but have it not appear in the draft files, or bill of materials, by setting omission options in the occurrence properties.


If techniques shown in this blog are unknown to you, I suggest you attend some of our advanced courses. Surfacing is taught in the Advanced Modeling course and Physical Properties and occurrence properties are taught in the Advanced Assembly course. For more information visit our website at or contact us at [email protected].


The right tool for the right job (part 2)

Dominic Benoit - Tuesday, January 26, 2016

In the first part of the article “The right tool for the right job”, I started illustrating one of the aspects where the drawing and the programming software reach each other. In the following, I’ll point out some other elements that belong to each application type.


Once opened in the Drafter application of act/cut, the drawing can be modified, corrected and rotated by the user in order to match the horizontal orientation of the part with the horizontal direction of the plate. It’s particularly useful for the parts with brushed finish or that will be cut in a plate with a pattern. If it contains doubled or overlapped lines those will be eliminated and if the endpoints are not connected, it will become apparent.



Fig. 3- act/cut shows a red X where the contour is not closed.


For a subcontracting company who receives all sorts of drawings, it is essential to be able to make the necessary corrections to ensure manufacturability of the parts and avoid returning the drawings to the sender to offer faster delivery. The tools are in place in the Drafter of act/cut to repair typical imperfections.


For a continuous cutting technology, act/cut will determine a cutting direction according to the machining operation (left or right kerf compensation). To achieve this, the external contour of the piece must form a continuous chain. Solid Edge meanwhile provides no indication of the direction of the profile chain. This information is required especially for the continuous cutting technology.


On a counterpart, the Solid Edge user can determine the orientation of the flat pattern when he uses the Flatten command. Solid Edge will output a clean geometry, without doubled or overlapped lines nor disconnected junctions.


After orienting the part in act/cut, the programmer can decide to authorize the part to be rotated in the nest to improve part placement or prevent it from rotating to respect the grain direction of the sheet.



Fig. 4- Nesting authorization settings in act/cut.


For better cutting finish, some machine can adjust their speed based on the size of the contour to cut (diameter or perimeter), it means that each contour within a part will be using different cutting parameters. For that reason, the act/cut user must use auto-tool allocation to apply proper parameter to each contour.



Fig. 5- The colors indicate that act/cut recognized the machining parameters according to the size of the contours.


After the parts are all prepared, they will be regrouped per material/thickness in a Launching order in which one can specify the quantity of each part to produce and also the selection of sheet size available to nest. Following this, the optimal toolpath is generated and the nc program is being written for the complete nest.


As you may notice, whether in the drawing or in the programming software, a lot of tools exist to ensure a good integration of the various platforms with each their speciality. Should you be a manufacturer with your own cutting machine or you outsource the task, being aware of the parameters and the needs of each other’s platform will help streamline the exchange process.


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 or contact us at [email protected]


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