Solid DNA blog

Blog about stuff on Solid Edge CAD software

Synchronous Technology – Birth of a part (part2)

Ok, finally I get this part 2 out of the garage.

I have made an effort to make it more technical, hope I am on the right path.

I first started with an eight minute video showing the whole process of creating a part, assembling a part and then drafting a part.

Overall design process video

In addition, you could look at this link

Build synchronous part

The same part is model using traditional and synchronous method.

Step one – Plane

Three types of planes exist:

  • Base
  • Global
  • Local


Base planes are three-ortogonal planes positioned at the origin of the part. They represent top, front and side views.

If you start drawing in space or hit F3, the base plane that is near our point of view will be selected and become active.

If you wish to keep the same point of view, use the quick pick to select the appropriate plane.

Video of quick pick


PlaneIf none of the base plane meets your needs, simply create a new one. New planes will be call «Global» because they are not attach to a position in space and they do not reference any geometry.

Creation of planes is greatly simplified. Since each plane can be controlled around six axes, we only need four-commands instead of eight.

  • Coincident (coplanar)
  • Normal to curve
  • By 3 point
  • Tangent

Plane tour video

Global planes can be placed using  «Geometric Tolerance»  found in the relate command

 Synchronous Control  Or use the steering wheel


Any other planar face on a model can be used as a reference plane. When doing so  users create a local plane. Local plane has no entry in the history of the part.

To separate a feature from its local plane users must use the «detach» command. Users can then select the face that needs to be detached. Detached faces become independent of any plane.

Detach video

Detach faces can be reattached.

Users decide if material is «ADD» or «SUBSTRACT».

Notice also when a dimension is separate, user has the possibility to reattach the dimension by simply dragging it onto the new element.

Add subtrac video


In the first video, only the top and side face of the cylinder are detached.

Second video, by selecting the original feature, i make sure that all faces of the cylinder are detach and copy.

Step two – Sketch

Sketch tools are the same as in previous versions. The «Home» tab of the interface contains most of the Draw toolcommands.

For those who came from an environment that  is oriented toward skeleton modeling, the «Sketching» tab might be their reference when transitioning to SEwST.

Let me take a brief look for those who initiated themselves to Solid Edge…

The «Draw» group is where sketch tools are located. Some of the symbos will be familiar to you.

For those who came from the AutoCAD world, a special set of tools are available to help you make the transition.

Those tools are part of the philosophy:

«Evolve to 3D»

«Evolve to 3D four step»

Autocad tools

Command search For tools/functions, in which you might not be familiar,with, at the bottom of the work space there is the «Commad finder»

Simply enter the name of the command with which you are familar and Solid Edge will propose to you the equivalent.

Offset tools provide the ability to create different types of slots.

Slot Tool – Video

Another interesting tool is the «Reposition Origin».

This allows users to modify on the fly, in the sketch plane, the origin of the sketch and the direction of the X positive. This will be useful for those who like to layout prior to commit to 3D.

Best way to represent this tool, think about the WCS.

Grid video

Changing the grid orientation does not change the orientation of existing geometry.  It allows the user to manage more than one Horizontal/vertical orientation, making it easier to constrain an element

H-V same plane

If you play too much with the grid orientation there is always the reset origin button to  retrieve its original position.

Grid reset

Here are a few options related to the grid.

Grid option

Do not forget the intrinsic philosophy behind SEwST, the steering wheel is still present in the 2D. Again think about WCS.

2D move video

Step three – Constraint

Constraint gives mechanical relations between 2D geometry.


For those who work with a 3D modeler, there is not much to say about those.

However, for those who came from pure 2D, you will encounter a cultural shock. Number one reason pure 2D software does not manage those relations.

If you would like to take advantage of those constraints, you can download the free 2D module of Solid Edge.

Free solid Edge  2D

I could trace parallels between pure 2D software and the sketcher found in 3D product versus linear modeling and non-linear modeling (Parametric versus Synchronous modeling).

Ok let’s get back to a more technical writing..:):)

One of the most important things to do when working with Solid Edge is READ.

related 2d

Here is a brief description of the geometric constraints.

CG01-Connect CG06-Symétrie

CG02-H_V CG07-Cocentrique

CG03-Tangent CG08-Perpendiculaire

CG04-Parallèle CG09-Colinéaire

CG05-Égalité CG10-Lock

CG11- Rigid set

Geometric constraints are working as an action/object. This means that users decide what actions they would like to do then select the object.

If you remember my last post where I talked about cognitive schema, this is part of the whole concept. Since constraints are always available to users, you do not have to select and deselect elements to have the software present constraints.

It makes the process of placing constraints more fluid and helps users better understand their work.

 Rectangle video

  1. Connections are use to connect the bottom line of the rectangle
  2. Horizontal/Vertical is used to orient the bottom line
  3. Perpendicular is used to set left and right line
  4. Finally, parallel is used to constraint the top line versus the bottom one.

To achieve results many combinations are possible; as long as you are able to manage geometric relations, you have the right combination.


Step four – Dimension


  • Dimension is no longer associated with a flat 2D sketch.
  • Dimensions can be place at any point in time on the model.
  • Dimensions are now part of the PMI process (Product Manufacturing Information)

Two major tools when dimensioning:

  • Smart dimension
  • Point-to-Point dimension (PPD)

Smart dimension regroups 90% of the common dimensions placed. PPD is for what I call special dimensions.

Smart dimension

Smart dimensions help place:

  • Distance/length
  • Horizontal/vertical
  • angle
  • radius/diameter
  • Tangent
  • etc….

The intention of the blog is not to train but to educate so look at this video showing some of those….

Smart dimension video

 Point-to-Point Dimension

Point-to-point dimensions are for those special dimensions. They are five different sets of tools.

  • Distance between
  • Angle between
  • Coordinate dimension
  • Angular coordinate dimension
  • Symmetric diameter

Each of these has two or three methods of placement

dimension 2

Dimension axis is useful when dimensioning complex parts that need to be manufactured on a conventional milling. Machinists often reposition the part in the jaw, the back jaw being the reference (not all the time but mostly).

Again here is brief video…..

PPD video

Step Five – Region

Each time 2D geometry forms a closed area, SEwST will recognize a region. Once the region is recognized, it can be turned into a solid.

There are many ways to delimit a region:

  • Close area from connect element
  • Close area from overlap element
  • Close area from element that touched
  • Nested element

Region video

When sketches are drawn on the surface of a solid, region are also recognized. If we take advantage of the open profile capability of Solid Edge, multiple regions could be recognized with one line only.

Using fewer lines per profile, make managing sketching less complicated. This is an advantage of feature modeling approach versus skeleton modeling approach.

Region on solid

Another advantage of a region is that it can help model a part without having to draw a single line. This is where designers will have to open their minds to new techniques that were inaccessible prior to today.

As 2D restrain our approach parametric was also restraining our way of perceived modeling.

Coffee cup video

The sum of all steps

Like any other object in 3D, users can manipulate sketches.

Once a sketch has been consumed by a feature, he is move to a bucket of consumed sketches.

At any point in time a consumed sketch can be retrieved to be reused.

Sketch copy video

I use the copy option, but since the sketch is no longer needed to control my solid, I could simply move the sketch to the desired position.

I could also use the copy/paste sketch to reinsert it at a different position or place it in a library for further reuse.

Clipboard Paste

name paste

Dimensions used in the sketch are transferred to the solid to the appropriate face giving users the possibility to tweak the solid to accommodate any dimensional changes.


As you can see, I identified five steps in the creation of a solid, could it be 4 or 6 maybe, what is important is that you are aware of those step and each step have their purpose.

Remember when creating solids there are basic steps to follow and the first one, plane and Sketch, is at the base of the food chain.

If you received solid training and the trainer did not make you aware of those, you may not be able to identify the real source of a problem, especially if you build a part under a linear conception.

If you struggle with your sketch perhaps, you should revise your global vision of modeling.

Technique is much more fun when you understand the process that goes under it.

Instead of seeing solid modeling like a big black box, open it and see what is inside.

Next stop, i  will talk (write) about feature.

For a good health, it is recommended that you exercize every day for a minimum of 30 minutes, that’s around 2 1/2 hour a week. Those who train a little bit spend 3 to 5 hours a week.

Envision your CAD department as an Olympic athlete. They have to train harder the first few years to be competitive with others and then they maintain their performance with regular training.

We spend around 2000/2500 hours per year working with a tool that evolves every 6, 8 or 12 months.

Budgeting a day or two for training every 3 to 6 months will give great benefits to our department.

1 Comment »

  1. I notice that when creating the pattern, you created a point first, fixed its location and then snapped the pattern sketch to it.
    Is it possible to simply dimension the pattern sketch to the edge of the part or does it need an entity to snap to?
    Also, does the pattern include the abilty to define offsets as with the normal pattern tool.
    Excellent article by the way – very detailed. Thanks

    Solid DNA
    The rectangular pattern is no longer part of the skecth tool. So in some occasions there is a need to have a point to position one corner of the pattern. In other occasions we can place dimension directly on the occurence of the pattern. For the offset i will have to wait for the release candidate will keep you update on this one.

    Comment by Roger Reid | 9 August 2008 | Reply

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