Thursday, September 04, 2008

Solid Edge with Synchronous Technology Delivered!

It is quite obvious from the activity on the Siemens PLM hosted Solid Edge newsgroup that users have downloaded or been shipped their copy of Solid Edge with Synchronous Technology (from now on referred to as "ST"). It is also obvious that existing users of history based modelers must "unlearn" what has been ingrained in them over the years when they start using ST.

What they must "unlearn" is this: There is no magic time machine that will let you go back in history and erase something you did in your past.

Sounds like science fiction doesn't it?

No doubt you've seen the movies where some character goes back in time, steps on some bug, and then returns to the present and finds out they have changed the entire history of human evolution. Then they spend the rest of the movie trying to fix what they unintendedly did. Sound familiar?

This is exactly what we have been doing for the past 20 years in history based modelers... going back in time before the feature we want to remove existed, and erasing it. We then go back to the present to see what our change to history has done (sometimes expected, but often unexpected and we spend the next few hours fixing what we unintendedly did).

ST brings us out of the science fiction and puts us back into reality. To delete a feature, you stay in the present and delete the faces that make up the feature, or you fill in over it. The remaining faces adjacent to the deleted feature fill in to heal the solid or the embedded faces disappear. But nothing unexpected!

Definitely more straight forward and understandable, but for those who have been using the magic time machine, it is a foreign concept. ST is here, it's time to return to reality!

Monday, July 07, 2008


The first full week of July is here. I hope that those who reside in the States had a great holiday weekend. I enjoyed a nice 4th of July weekend with the family which included a trip to an amusement park, watching fireworks, and some grilling. Now it is back to work. For those who do not live in the States, I hope you decided to celibrate it with us anyways (aren't you always looking for an excuse?).

Now that a lot of the media buzz has ended concerning Synchronous Technology, things are kind of boring. Kind of looking forward to the buzzing to start again once it is released and people start writing article about it. I've been doing my testing, and am anxious to hear what others have to say about it.

That's it for now.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Video Screen Capture Software

They say a picture paints a thousand words. So to find out how many words video paints, do we multiply that by the frames per second multiplied by the number of seconds the video runs?

I think we will all agree that seeing a video of something done on the computer with a narrator is much more efficient than looking at static images with a few strings of text attached. I wanted to pass on some free tools that I have found that will allow you to capture your PC screen while your using it and create a playable movie from it.

The first tool is Window Media Encoder ( Works OK, but settings are confusing and best screen capture quality still leaves shaded surfaces banded. Output is a WMV file. This tool has a lot of other capabilities besides just screen capture so if your into encoding other video sources such as from a camera, you might want to check this out.

The other tool is Jing from TechSmith ( Exceptionally easy to use and excellent quality, but I have not yet really got into all the posting options. The file output appears to be a Flash file. They say it is a temporary project, so it may stop working someday, but it's ease of use and good quality make it an acceptable risk. Still trying to figure out how to efficiently view the output file stored on a fileshare though. I've been pulling them up in a web browser.

Hope this helps someone out. I'll post more on Jing when I get it all figured out.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Synchronous Technology

So, on April 22nd, Siemens PLM Software released a bomb on the CAD world about a new modeling paradigm. There looks to be a lot of promise to this new technology, and I have high hopes for it.

One problem I regularly see today with the sketch/feature/history based modelers is that concept modeling and production modeling are at odds.

What I mean by this is:
  • An engineer while in the concept modeling phase is concerned about creating geometry to fill a needed form. They may make many variations of this model, some with minor differences and some with major differences. They do not care about building in design intent or making the model easy to modify, so they use what I term "hack and whack" modeling. What is left when they are done is a model with a feature tree that would put Frankenstein's monster to shame.
  • After the concept phase comes the documentation phase. This is where ease of modification and design intent is a concern. This usually results in a model being remodeled which is of course rework and is never desired.

This problem appears to be solved with Synchronous Technology. The concept model can be "hacked and whacked" into the needed form (with more ease promised) and when it is ready to become a production model, the user can simply apply the needed parameters to preserve the design intent (no remodeling needed). I see this as a huge time saver.

Another issue I regularly see with sketch/feature/history based modelers is that part-time users (a couple days a month) still have difficulty using them for design work due to all the historic and associative relationships to planes, sketches, and other features that the user must be constantly concerned with. If modeling could be made easier and more intuitive as the Synchronous Technology claims to be without reliance on those historic and associative relationships, that would be a huge benefit.

There will apparently be a Solid Edge launch on May 21st. I'm sure the CAD media will be buzzing then.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I'm "Blogging" Down!

I apologize to all whom have been awaiting new content on my blog. I have been preoccupied with other stuff, but am still here. Things I have been working on in the Solid Edge world:
  • Solid Edge V20 implementation - Went extremely smooth with little to no problems.
  • Spec'd a couple of new workstation PCs for the campany - switched from Dell to HP, running the xw4600 and the 8510w.
  • Trialing TeamCenter Engineering - this has been taking all my time.

I will try to post more often.