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Join us at the annual New York State Regional Users Group meeting

John Pearson - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Designfusion is proud to be a sponsor and major contributor to this year’s New York State RUG meeting. This year’s meeting will be held at the RIT Inn & Conference Center in Rochester NY, on October 7, 2014. All users are invited, even those who live outside of New York State. Designfusion will be presenting at 8 of the 35 planned seminars.  Our focus this year is Solid Edge and Teamcenter Administration, however there are plenty of other presentations for all attending, as you can see from the agenda below.




Not only is this a great learning opportunity, but it’s also a chance to meet and network with other users and some of the people who support your Siemens’ PLM software.

There is a small fee to attend this event, and you must register in advance. You can do this online at  This site will provide you with all the details of the conference and directions to RIT Inn &

Conference Center. We hope to see you there, and don’t forget to drop by the Designfusion booth in the sponsor’s area.

How to video: Frame Design

Manny Marquez - Tuesday, September 02, 2014
Check out our latest Solid Edge tutorial by Manny Marquez.

For more videos take a look at the Designfusion youtube channel here

How to reattach a bolt circle and its dependent dimensions (Draft environment)

Frederic Menage - Thursday, July 31, 2014


Draft annotations and dimensions rely heavily on their support geometry. Since it is possible with Solid Edge to attach dimensions to center marks, center lines and bolt circles; you have to know how to reattach those elements when the support geometry is replaced by another one.


So, as usual, you have modified your 3D model and the draft file needs to be updated. After updating the view, a dialog called the ‘dimension tracker’ automatically opens (default setting).

First, you can classify the changes by clicking on the ‘reason’ column header. The changes and auto-reattachments can be validated and cleared (‘Clear Selected’ button) and you can then focus on the detached elements.

The Bolt Circle Example

The first thing you need to do is select the bolt circle itself (not the dependent center marks). It should highlight as shown in the image below and a quickbar should appear.

The two circles shown in red are still used as a reference (Note: the bolt circle was created using the 3 points technique). One of the three gray dots doesn't have a red circle attached to it. You need to reattach that third grey dot (beside #4) to the circle with the detached center mark.

By left-clicking on that grey dot (handle) and dragging to the circle (hole beside #4), you can “fix” the bolt circle. You can see (on the image below) how all the holes on the bolt circle are now shown in red when it is selected.

Notice how the dimension tracker is now showing only one detached element.

It is also necessary to reattach the center mark itself. Start by selecting the detached center mark as shown in the image below.

You can see that the bolt circle doesn't highlight (it is different from center marks that are correctly attached). Select the grey dot at the center of the bolt circle and drag it on the bolt circle itself (avoid other center marks and other keypoints). Selecting the detached centermark should now give you this result (bolt circle shown in red).

The second step is to reattach the center mark itself to the hole. Simply drag it (left click on gray dot at center) on top of the circle with no centermark.


What is important here is that we did not have to delete and recreate any object. We updated our drawing by simply reattaching the handles to the appropriate references.

Common Mistakes made by novice, or self-taught users – Part 3 of 3

Cory Goulden - Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The area of major concern I see (and coincidentally usually by users that are self-taught) is that the user will rely on the tutorials to learn how to create models and drawings. There is more to 3D models though as models interact with each other.


A model is not just a shape. There are inter-dependencies that exist between the drawing and the model, that model and any assembly that may contain this model, and more advanced methods of creating links associatively.


Once this is understood ask yourself “What would happen if I used Windows Explorer and dragged something to a different folder?” Well, the part would be relocated. If that is what you wanted to do congratulations…or is it? I thought we were also concerned with these interdependencies? New users need to know how to properly accomplish common tasks so I will discuss this in this segment.


Also we have a 3D model. A picture is worth a thousand words right? Well maybe sharing a drawing is worth a thousand words but what is a 3D model worth? Maybe we can also share this information a lot easier than you might have thought.


There is an App for That

Solid Edge comes with an application called Revision Manager. This program is located under All Programs>Solid Edge ST6> and it is a component of a program called “View and Markup”. Under this program you can open files in two ways. We will look at Revision manager.


Revision Manager will open a file so you can see the tree structure that any model file has. This is the preferred method to relocate files, repair links, rename file, and so on. Below is an example of what you might see. From there you can RMB on a part and select the action you would like to perform. This tool can not only do simple tasks but it has some advanced functions as well.




First point covered. Please use Revision Manager and save yourself the anguish of breaking links all the time and becoming frustrated, relocating files and getting errors about “File cannot be found” and so on. This subject is an imperative one that is covered in Fundamentals training. If you missed it or forgot about it now might be a good time for review.


All In One

So we have made a change to the file using Revision Manager, now you would like to open it up in Solid Edge. Sometimes, I see even experienced users make this mistake, they will close Revision Manager and open SE and then re-open the file. No Need. In the image above you will notice an icon that has the name “Editor”. If you were to hit this button the model you have open in Revision Manager will open in SE. Pretty handy command.




Now you save the time and clicks of closing and opening another application, browsing to the file and waiting for it to reload.


It Is Always Polite To Share

Another thing you can do is send a lightweight version of this file to someone to view who does not have Solid Edge. How you say? The icon next to “Editor” states “View and Markup”. I will give you one guess what it does. When you hit this button, the View and Markup environment opens. I am only going to cover a very brief overview. If you would like to know more try to attend one of Designfusion’s Productivity Summits.




Here you will get a view of your model. Markups, notes, and even the ability to email to another person can be done. If an email is sent, using “Send to Mail Recipient” the link to download the Xpresreview program for free will be included in the body of the email. Yup I said FREE! It will also be a unique file format that should be allowed through most email filters. The file size is also reduced.




So in summary there might be a few items you may want to review. Mind you these subjects are covered in our Fundamentals course. A few snags you may commonly run into if you are trying to learn on your own that cost time and energy. Hopefully I have offered something of value.


Happy Edging!

Common Mistakes made by novice, or self-taught users – Part 2 of 3

Manny Marquez - Wednesday, June 25, 2014
When talking to customers and looking over their models for unrelated issues, I occasionally recognize simple mistakes made on the part, that normally consist on how the part was initially created. Typically, I will explain to them why the part should be modeled in a specific way, or (best practices).

The way a part is modeled plays a big role on the downstream process, usually when trying to modify the model in “ordered”.


Here are the focus areas for today’s post.

Part modeling 101

  •     • Planes
  •     • Sketching
  •     • Base feature
  •     • Treatment Features

Correct plane selection.

1. A reference plane is a flat surface that is typically used for drawing 2D profiles in 3D space; this will be your foundation for your model.


2. It is always a good practice to have the part center to all base plane on X,Y,Z. in this instance (B) would be the correct method.

Choose the correct reference plane.
The following example illustrates the results of using different reference planes to draw the first profile. For this sample,
using the “xy top” plane (A) the result is a part which is easiest to visualize in the isometric view (ctrl + I). 

4. You can also think of consumer products, how you can better visualize the product, again the example (A) is the best to comprehend it in your mind. 

Correct sketching method

5. Sketching to a correct scale.
Below is a shape of a profile, I have placed a green dotted (reference) line on (X) 7.5 and(Y) 3.5 to indicate overall length and to visualize the scale. When you start placing dimensions, that’s when you realized how small or big your sketch is.

6. It is always a good practice to draw a line to actual length or approximate of the base profile. So as you start to sketch your profile, it will not deviate when you are entering true values.

Below is the same sketch out of scale, placed dimensions, enter true values. See how your sketch starts to look more like a maze. Not a good practice!

Below is a sketch scaled properly with correct dimensions.


Base features

7. Consider these questions when starting a new model:

What is the best profile for the first feature on the part?
Which reference plane should it be drawn on?
Are there symmetric features on the part? 

When constructing a 3D model, it is helpful to evaluate the basic shape of the part, and develop a plan as to how you want to construct the model. 
The first feature created for a part or sheet metal model is called the base feature.

Choose the best profile for the base feature.


8. Profile C would be the best choice. It defines the basic length and width of the model and includes the tapered end. Two additional protrusion features complete the basic shape of the part. A hole feature, a cutout feature, and a round feature complete the part. 

Treatment Features

9. A treatment feature is a feature applied to faces and edges of a solid body. The most commonly used treatment features include rounding an edge(s), chamfering an edge(s), adding draft and thin walling a part.
 For best results, add treatment features to your model as late as possible in the design process. 


I hope these simple examples can serve as a quick guide on basic part modeling.

Common mistakes made by novice, or self-taught users – Part 1 of 3

John Pearson - Thursday, June 19, 2014
Over the next few blog articles we will be focusing on some of the more common mistakes made by novice, or self-taught users of Solid Edge. Along with the mistake we will illustrate how to avoid these mistakes or show more efficient ways to use the software. It is our hope that these articles will help you become a better user of Solid Edge and speed up your design process. 

Mistake #1: Not using, or not aware of Direct Editing in Solid Edge Ordered modeling. 

A common question or criticism from users is; “There’s got to be an easier way to move or modify a body in the ordered paradigm?” Often this comes from users who have imported a solid from another CAD package and they want to center it at (0,0,0), or they need to modify the size, etc. Many users are unaware of the Direct Editing tools that were added years ago, in V17. These tools are found on the Home Tab>Modify group, in the Ordered paradigm.

These commands allow you to move, offset, or rotate faces and bodies.

You can also delete faces, regions, holes, and rounds. Plus you can resize holes and rounds, or bends in sheet metal.

Let’s look at an example of how these commands can assist you. Below is an image of an imported part file. Notice there is no history in the PathFinder, and that we are in ordered modelling.

In this example I have to do 3 changes.

1) Make the part 0.125” larger on all sides
2) Rotate the part 90 degrees and center the front face on (0,0,0)
3) Make all the rounds 0.125”

Here are the steps to do these modifications. First I select the Offset Faces command. 

I select the Body option from the selection filter.

I select the body and accept it.

Next I enter in the offset distance and, using my cursor, point and click to define the direction of the offset.

The result is a part 0.125” inches larger on all sides. Notice that an Offset feature has been added to the PathFinder. I could also edit the offset dimension visible on the screen.

Finally I hit Finish to complete the command.

Now I want to rotate and re-position the part. First I select the Rotate Faces command.

I select the Body option from the selection filter.

I select the body and accept it.

Now I need to define an axis of rotation. From the command bar, I select “By Geometry” and then I pick the Y-axis for my axis of rotation. Notice the direction arrow head, showing the positive direction of rotation.

I rotate the body 90 degrees.

Notice the added feature and the editable on screen dimension.

Finally I hit Finish to complete the command. I then select the Move Faces command.

Once again I select the Body option from the selection filter.

I select the body and accept it.

I next have to tell the system how I plan to move the part. In this example I will use the ‘In Plane’ method. I select this from the command bar.

I then select the XY plane, as shown below, telling the system which plane I’m moving in.

I now have to define the start (or from) point and the destination (or to) point. Here I select the midpoint option and select the front midpoint as shown.

For the destination point I select the endpoint option and select the base coordinate system’s origin.

I have now repositioned my part.

Finally I hit Finish to complete the command.

The last step, in this example, is to make sure that my 4 rounds are set to 0.125”. To do this I select the Resize Rounds commands.

I select the 4 rounds from the part.

Notice that the rounds are currently 0.250”.

I enter in 0.125” and click on the Preview button, to get a preview of the changes.

Finally I hit Finish to complete the command.

Notice that the PathFinder has tracked all the changes. These are features that can be edited or deleted if necessary for future changes. The result here is a quickly modified ordered part that was imported from another CAD system. You can also use these commands on ordered parts made inside of Solid Edge. Here I’ve illustrated only a few of the modified commands. To learn how to use all the Direct Edit commands you can view the Help section of Solid Edge or attend one of our Advanced Modelling courses. Visit our technical training page to learn more about our advanced courses.

Solid Edge ST7 Addresses the User's Needs

John Pearson - Sunday, June 01, 2014
Over the years I have seen 14 launches of new versions of Solid Edge. Although each release has always added new and powerful features, there are certain releases that really stand out for me. Solid Edge ST7 is one of those releases. This release has added some long overdue functionality that users have been requesting for years. Many users at the recent SEU2014 commented on how great it will be to utilize these new tools, and how beneficial they will be to their overall design process. In this article I’d like to highlight my top 5 most requested enhancements which have been added to Solid Edge ST7.

1) For years I, and many other users, have been requesting a 3D sketching tool. Yes you can create 3D sketches in older versions, but to be efficient you needed to understand how to use the surfacing and curve tools. Solid Edge ST7 finally introduces 3D Sketching. This functionality combines the 3D path creation tool from XpresRoute along with standard sketching commands, to create a very efficient tool to create your 3D sketches. In Synchronous Part and Sheet Metal environments you will see a new 3D Sketching tab.

In the Ordered Part, Sheet Metal, and Assembly environments, a new 3D Sketch command has been added. This command will launch you into a new 3D Sketch mode.

The new 3D sketching will greatly simplify the ability to define paths for sweep operations (as shown below), plus piping and tubing routes, and wire paths.

2) Along with the 3D Sketching, Solid Edge ST7 has added a ‘Fixed Length Curve’ functionality. This allows a curve to stay at a specified length when the location of either end, or the curve path, is changed. This is ideal for flexible hoses or cables of a fixed length.

3) Another long requested enhancement has been the ability to flatten deformation features. Solid Edge ST7 now allows users to create a blank from any 3D model.

The blank is created with the newly added Blank Body command and is available when you are in the Flatten command.

With accuracy control, and several other options, the new Blank Body command provides flatten capabilities that were only previously available through third party packages costing thousands of dollars. This however is not an add-on. It is included with all Classic and Premium licenses.

4) In Solid Edge ST7 they have revamped the measuring tools. Users have complained about the measuring tools for as long as I can remember. This new look provides more intuitive commands and more control over what you are measuring. You can also save some of the results as variables, or cut and paste results from the information dialog box into other command fields. Although this may seem a trivial enhancement, it should prove to be a welcome one for those users who have to do a lot of measuring during the design process.

5) Another vastly improved area in Solid Edge ST7 is a new and improved Hole Wizard. The new Hole command now allows extensive, standards-based hole placements. It supports most international standards including DIN, ISO and ANSI, and is comprehensive and consistent across the Part, Sheet Metal, and Assembly environments.

So these are my top enhancements in Solid Edge ST7. I choose these based on my personal requirements and requests from our customers over my last 11 years of working with Solid Edge. As you can imagine there are many other powerful and efficient tools added to Solid Edge ST7. In fact there are over 1300 customer requests addressed in the new release. If you would like more information on ST7 you can download the What’s new in Solid Edge ST7 fact sheet, or contact us at [email protected]. Although no final date has been confirmed, customers can expect Solid Edge ST7 delivery this summer.

Solid Edge University 2014

John Pearson - Monday, April 28, 2014

Join us at Solid Edge University 2014 and Re-imagine What’s Possible

If you haven’t already registered for this annual event, there is still time to join us in Atlanta from May 12-14, 2014. Designfusion will have 5 members of our team present at this year’s event. Three of them will be presenting as guest speakers. This conference continues to grow each year, and this year is no different. This year users can:

    •      - Obtain New Solid Edge Certification
    •      - Learn about the new capabilities of Solid Edge ST7
  •      - Meet the Solid Edge development team
  •      - Network with peers and Designfusion technical experts
  •      - Attend numerous training sessions, and
  •      - Discover a range of complimentary applications from our best-in-breed technology partners.

Attendees will be welcomed at the Westin Peachtree Plaza, in Atlanta, GA, on Monday May 12 with a Welcome Reception from 6 pm to 8 pm. But the real excitement starts on Tuesday May 13, with the launch of ST7. Below are the tentative schedules for Tuesday and Wednesday.





You can see that, with this jam packed schedule, the learning potential is huge. This is not a marketing conference but a conference designed to educate users. This is why we call it Solid Edge University. So if you haven’t already registered, there’s still time to do so at We hope to see you there.

An overview of Sensors in Solid Edge

Manny Marquez - Thursday, April 24, 2014

During a benchmark last week I demonstrated sensors. It had been a very long time since I have used that functionality and after seeing the usefulness it could provide for a prospect I decided to write a review for the blog. One such use is when constructing parts and assemblies, you often need to keep track of critical design parameters.

For instance, when designing a shield or shroud that encloses a rotating part, you must maintain enough

clearance for maintenance and operational purposes. You can use sensors to define and keep track

of design parameters for your parts and assemblies.

Types of sensors:

          • • Minimum distance sensors
      • • General variable sensors
      • • Sheet metal sensors
      • • Surface area sensors
      • • Custom sensors
A Sensor Assistant keeps track of sensor alarms that have been triggered by changes
to the model. It quickly accesses the affected sensor definition information so you can
review it and fix the alarm or the model as needed.

You can activate or deactivate the Sensor Assistant and alarm notification
in the graphic window using the Show Sensor Indicator option on the Helpers
tab of the tools options dialog box. This does not affect the operation
of the sensors themselves.

Alarm Types

Displays a bitmap indicating the type of sensor alarm:

  • A sensor violation alarm indicates a design threshold has been exceeded 
  • A sensor warning alarm indicates an element has been deleted:
  • Click the alarm hyperlink to jump to the specific sensor definition information.

We will be using a sample model from the training folder in solid edge.

1. Open the sheet metal assembly located in C:\Program Files\Solid Edge ST6\Training \ (seaabbf.asm) folder.

Minimum distance sensors

Minimum distance sensors are used to track the minimum distance between any two elements.
For example, you can track the minimum distance between two part faces in an assembly.
You define a minimum distance sensor similar to how you measure the minimum distance
between two elements with the Minimum Distance command in the assembly from one part to another.

2. Click on the command, and then select one surface of the chassis part and the other surface from powsup.par part.

3. Enter the name of sensor and values as shown.


Once done with creating this sensor, we will get back to this sensor on how to trigger the alarm.

Variables Sensors

You can use a general variable sensor to track variables, such as driving and driven dimensions. Let's say that your company only has machines that cuts or bends to a specific size. Ideally you want a safe guard so that you don’t design a part you can’t manufacture or don’t carry stock of that size. In this example we will track the overall height of the part being designed.

5. Edit the Chassis in place.

6. Select the variable sensor. Enter a name for the sensor, then select 552.61 cell. Click on the add variable icon then add values as shown below.

Observe the threshold and sensor range and compare that to the gauge and description. This should give you an idea on how the sensor will alert when it has been triggered.

Sheet Metal Sensor

You can use sheet metal sensors to track design parameters, such as the minimum distance between particular types of sheet metal features and part edges. You can create your own sheet metal sensors from scratch, or you can select from a list of predefined examples. Let’s say that we need to make sure a cutout does not get to close the outside edge, for reason that the heat sink will get hot and damage the component. Sheet metal sensors are available only in sheet metal documents.

7. Click on the sheet metal sensor; make sure to select the Face on the options on ribbon bar. Select surface on part as shown.

8. Select cutouts on (edge set 1) and exterior edges from (edge set 2). Set threshold at 20, therefore if a hole gets 20mm of an edge, a sensor will be triggered.


Notice the two sensors now; we are done creating this sensor, we will get back to this sensor on how to trigger the alarm.

Surface Area Sensor

You can use a surface area sensor to monitor a surface or a set of surfaces. Also you can monitor both the positive and negative surface area. A negative surface area sensor monitors the "holes" or internal boundaries in a surface.For instance, you may need to track the total area for a series of ventilation holes and cutouts in a surface.

10. Click on surface area sensor icon; select the negative area with face option then click on surface of part as shown.

11. Enter sensor name, with indicated values, again study the current value to the threshold and sensor range. Notice on the airflow gage how much it’s left to trigger the alarm.

Done with creating this sensor, we will get back to this sensor on how to trigger the alarm.

Custom Sensor

You can use a custom sensor to monitor any numeric result that is calculated from a custom program. For example, you could create a custom program that assigns a manufacturing cost to each feature type used for creating sheet metal parts. The program would then monitor the part features and give you the part cost of the completed model.

Note: you need to run the CustomSensorRegistration.exe from the custom sensor folder.

12. Select custom sensor then click on GetMass.

13. Note: If you did not add a material type, you will get this message. Simply go to the material table and add a material. See below.

14. Enter the sensors name and fill in the indicated values as shown below. The current value is 8.18 lbs, we set a threshold of 10 lbs and range between 5 lbs to 15 lbs. If the part goes over 11 lbs the sensor will set a warning alarm.


Let's put all sensors to the test, starting with the clearance sensor, this will allow us to have a minimum distance from other parts on the assembly For example, if you don’t want the heat sink to get any closer to the side wall for it want allow proper flow.

16. Edit in place chassis.psm part. Select Hole 5, then click on dynamic edit, select dimension 62.50 and enter new value of 80. Since the sensor is a Assembly part, you need to (close and re-run) notice the sensor violation alarm indicates a threshold has been exceeded. (If don’t see indication, select on the tools tab click update all links)

17. Click on sensor violation alarm, for sensor details.

In real scenarios you will determine what actionsare needed to resolve the violation by making changes to the model.

In the following scenario we will only be triggering off the sensors to show sensor violations.

18. The following sensors will take place on the part environment (chassis.psm); we will trigger the Height sensor this time. Select the (contour flange 1) then click on dynamic edit. Enter 200mm value to see violation. Click on update all links.

19. We will trigger the holes to edge sensor now, select on the (Cutout 1) click on dynamic edit. Select dimension 30 enter new 15 value then enter.

20. Next will be the Airflow sensor, select on the (Cutout 1) click on dynamic edit. Click on the 94 dimension, enter 90.

21. The final sensor to trigger is weight, Select the (contour flange 1), then click on dynamic edit. Select value 250, and then enter 400.


I hope this simple example on sensors gave you an insight on the usefulness of sensors during design.

Until next time!

Regarding Keyshot?…All I can Say is WOW!

Cory Goulden - Wednesday, April 09, 2014
I have taken the time to learn the rendering portion of Solid Edge. Although it does a good job I found myself learning a lot of new phrases and terminologies that to me, at least, were very specific to the job of someone who may be rendering as a profession.

I admit I have never really paid much attention to rendering as a mouse jockey in the Cad field. I thought though that we have an opportunity to use the 3D model for yet another purpose and so, as SE as my tool, I trudged forward. I was able to accomplish making renderings for presentations, animations for demos to potential customers and a few other things but it seemed to be a little cumbersome and the learning curve was a bit long. This was good. Not great but good.



Enter a product called Keyshot. Now I am going to do my best to not make this sound like a sales pitch. This product is great, reasonably priced, and learning it is easy enough even I could do it!

A few key points to Keyshot;

The rendering is CPU based. This means a computer that has many cores benefits and does not require much more than that for hardware. It also pauses, renderers in real time, and instantly stops if the CPU/resources are required elsewhere. Start it, go about your business, or go for lunch…whatever. It does a fantastic job at taking care of itself with no interruption to the user.



To apply material to a model you only need to pick the material and drag and drop it onto the part (as illustrated in the picture above. It will also save this setup information and combining this with “Live Linking” Solid Edge models can be changed and the render settings are maintained. As for modifying the model, you can easily move between Solid Edge and Keyshot with the press of a button and all previously setup information will still be there. How great is that?

The ease of use for creating animations is great too. If you just want to tumble a model, explode and rotate, or whatever your needs may be there is a wizard to walk you through the setups. If you want to off that trail you are free to set up anything you want. Keyshot and the 3D models from Solid Edge can provide a symbiotic relationship that will provide great results without changing anything you already have. You can even embed them as HTML in webpages. You can even create iBook widgets!



You want a way to be more productive and have a way to better display why your product is the best choice? There are so many ways people are communicating that we all have to try to present the information in as clean and as effective as possible. Combining Keyshot with Solid Edge will do that for you.

Feel free to contact us regarding any additional questions you may have. We are always here to help.

And, as always, happy Edging!