Thursday, August 21, 2014

That One Thing in Solid Edge ST7…

Whenever a new version of Solid Edge is released, there is always a multitude of new/enhanced features and I’m usually asked by someone what my favorite one is.  You cannot imagine how hard that is to answer when your looking at hundreds of potential favorites in a given release.  Usually though, I find that it is the simple little things that seem to be my favorite.

In ST7, I would have to say my favorite new feature is the Quick View Cube.

This control sits in the lower right corner of the graphics area and will turn translucent when not in focus of the mouse, however when the mouse is in close proximity it will solidify and the individual control points will become visible.  The Quick View Cubes purpose is to give the user quick access and transitional control to common orthographic and isometric views with a single click of the mouse.  Now this doesn’t sound like a big deal, but I have watched many a user rotate a model with either a 3D Connexion device or mouse and then invoke the Common Views control which would automatically set the model square to the world using the nearest orthographic view and then close the command.  Now, they can either rotate the model with the Quick View Cube, or get it close and square it up with a single click.  Other benefits is that it has the common views printed right on it’s faces and since it always oriented in relation to the model’s orientation, it’s easy to know what common view shortcut command you want to use rather than assuming your picking the right one and finding out after it rotates to the wrong face that you should have used another.

The Quick View Cube has a few setting that can control appearance attributes like whether it is shown at all, size, which corner it is in, color, opacity level, or triad display.  These setting can be accessed by right mouse clicking on the control and selecting “Settings”.

So like I said, it’s the little simple things that I seem to be my favorite because they take something that is seemingly mature and add a new twist to it, which ends up yielding a huge user benefit.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Solid Edge Replace Part Options

If you are not familiar with the Solid Edge Replace Part command, it is an Assembly based command used to do what the name implies… replace a part or sub-assembly with another part or sub-assembly.
In past releases of Solid Edge, the Replace Part command was a solo act that had the ability of replacing a single part or sub-assembly occurrence or all occurrences of that selection with a user specified replacement part or sub-assembly that already existed.
With the release of Solid Edge ST5 and subsequent releases, the Replace Part command was actually expanded into 4 different Replace Part commands, each with their own specific capabilities.

Replace Part

Replace Part is similar to the previous Replace Part command in that it is used to replace a part with one that has already been created, however it was expanded to allow not only the selection of a single occurrence or all occurrences of the selection, but also allows a user to select different parts and/or specified number of occurrences of those selections to replace, however they will all be replaced with a single existing part or sub-assembly that you select.  Once the selection is accepted, you are presented with a Browse dialog used to locate the existing file to be used as the replacement.

Replace Part with Standard Part

Replace Part with Standard Part is a new option that allows replacement of selected parts with a part out of the Standard Parts library.  What makes this unique is that it invokes the Standard Parts selection dialog used to browse the Standard Parts Library.  NOTE: The Standard Parts Library is an optional component that is not installed by default.

Replace Part with New Part

Replace Part with New Part is a new option that allows replacement of selected parts with a part that does not yet exist.  Once the selection is accepted, you are presented with a form to select a template, specify a filename and a storage location.  Selecting the Create Part button will create a new part and add it to the assembly in the same location as the part being replaced.  You can then edit it in the context of the Assembly to create whatever geometry you wish.

Replace Part with Copy

Replace Part with Copy is a new option that allows replacement of selected part with a copy of the selection.  Once the selection is accepted, you are presented with a Save As form to save the copied selection to a new file.  Once the Save As form is dismissed, the selected component is replaced with the new copy.  NOTE:  This is the only Replace command that allows a single part to be replaced, however it will still allow single, multiple, and all occurrences of that part to be replaced with a copy of it.