Friday, May 30, 2014

Solid Edge ST7 3D Sketch… Why it isn’t exactly new.

Solid Edge ST7 introduced a new feature called 3D Sketch, but 3D sketching in Solid Edge isn’t exactly new…

Solid Edge has had a couple of add on packages for several years called XpresRoute and Harness which both have a 3D sketch tool included, but it could only be used for those modules.

Also, all of the 3D environments in Solid Edge have had the Keypoint Curve and Curve by Table features which are also a form of 3D sketch but work by defining points to run a curve or sketch elements between, and of course you could always create a couple of intersecting 2D sketches and generating the 3D intersection curve between them but occasionally you would run into situations where a sketch would have to double back on itself causing issues with the intersection curve generation.

So what is new about the ST7 3D sketch?

ST7 3D Sketch is a new environment that creates a “3D Sketches” node in Pathfinder and each 3D Sketch created becomes a feature underneath it.  It contains some of the prior functionality of the 3D sketch tools in the XpresRoute and Harness modules, but also adds some new capabilities such as a  cursor with 3D alignment axis', the new sketch keypoint/dimension feedback, plus a volumetric feedback indicator to let you know if you are drawing within an XY plane or also translating in the Z direction (2D box vs. a 3D box).  Also expanded are the types of elements that can be created, the number of editing tools as well as relationships, and other properties such as Styles/Colors and Intellisketch settings (although 3D capable).

So in conclusion, while the ability to create 3D sketches in ST7 isn’t completely new, the ST7 3D Sketch feature is, and it exposes some prior “add-on” capabilities to the the general application along with some new capabilities that simplify use and provide needed feedback to the user to create fast and accurate 3D sketch geometry easily.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Solid Edge Adminstrator

QUESTION: You have a group of users using Solid Edge, you ask them to all use the same settings for consistency, but there are so many that it's tedious to keep track of and not everybody agrees with all the setting choices so some don't comply... What's an administrator or team leader to do?

ANSWER:  Use the Solid Edge Administrator tool!

The Solid Edge Administrator tool allows someone to create an Options.xml file that will control various setting such as User Templates, Hole Table information, data management settings, etc...  There is actually a long list of items it controls.  You can set defaults that the user can override if desired or you can lock the settings preventing the override.

Once and Options.xml file is created and located on a network share, have every user reference it in their File Location options, and all setting controlled by the Options.xml will be automatically set.

The Solid Edge Administrator tool is not meant to control a single users settings or meant to be used by everybody.  This should only be installed and used by someone who is an administrator or otherwise has the right or need to set the standards that all others must follow.

To use the Solid Edge Administrator tool, you have to install it from your distribution media or downloaded product.  The file is called "SEAdmin.exe" and is located in the folder called "SptTools".  To install, simply copy the file and place it in the Solid Edge installation subfolder "Program" which will typically be "C:\Program Files\Solid Edge STn\Program".
Once installed, simply run it.  It will open in a table format listing the Option on the left followed by Allow Override, and the Value columns.  Make the changes you wish to control and then Save the file to a network share location that all your users have "Read" access to.  If you wish to have multiple Options files, you can give them unique names, it is not important to keep the file named as "Options.xml".

To have your users set this in their Options, have them open their Solid Edge Options and select the File Locations section. Select the line labeled "Solid Edge Admin" and click the Modify button at the top.  In the resulting Browse form, click in the "File name:" field and type the UNC path to the shared folder and option file name, and then the Open button.  Solid Edge will automatically read and change the settings at this point and now the settings are controlled by the options file.  You will notice that any options that are set to not allow override cannot be modified and any that do allow override can be.

Please note that Solid Edge does not check the Options.xml file at anytime after it is initially set.  If the administrator changes the Options.xml file later, each user must go into their File Locations area of the Solid Edge Options and highlight the Solid Edge Admin line and then click the Update button to reread it and apply the new settings.

I hope you find this post useful.