Today the discussion is primarily about my favorite MCAD program Solid Edge. This may change over time as I have switched my Inventor Pro HSM maintenance to Hagerman and with live bodies to support me in Nashville I will be making an effort to learn Inventor. Quite frankly I expect that what I can do in SE Inventor can also do but with much more trouble will be what I find out. My chief complaint with Inventor and one so bad it has no chance of letting me past first base is how it deals with imports. I get a lot of imports to work with and it still blows my mind that in order to assign dimensions to a solid body import into Inventor I have to recreate the sketches and part to drive these things. If I am wrong, and I hope I am would one of you Autodesk types set the record straight here? This is what I have been told and it appears to be true. So unlike SE where I can import anything from anyone and immediately assign dimensions to a solid and drive edits pain-free with direct editing or apply directly dimensions for reference, no recreated sketch or part required. I get inside of Inventor a road block I don’t even attempt to get around because this is impossible to do there. So all the serious work is done in SE and then brought into Inventor so I can use that yummy HSM machining program.
It will be interesting to see what the tech support guy does when I show him how I want Inventor to work by using SE as my benchmark for what I expect to do. Future posts regarding this. Fortunately I am not a VAR so I get to work with reality and not have to pretend Inventor is great just because it is attached to HSM which truly is great. I hope I am going to find out good things with Inventor this next year but I am not optimistic. I get tired of having to learn yet another program just to do the same things I can already do AGAIN but not the same way or as easily when SE works so well.
In the mean time here is a current interesting problem. Hundreds of DWG files from 1999 to 2002 have to be opened and then 3D files generated from them. This is a rack oven for commercial bakeries and the owner has never brought the files forward or indeed even generated anything 3D. The only 3D file I have found to date was an ACIS file for a shipping pallet of all things. Production probably will be resumed on these soon and the owner wants to have current modeling practices put into place and all the files checked for accuracy. So the conversion of everything to 3D where fitup can be assured in cyberspace and not the shop floor first. It amazes me how good some people were with 2D and how things were done. I bypassed the whole 2D thing and went straight into 3D modeling because I had to have solid geometry to feed CNC machines and 2D would not do. But in any case 2D is where I get to start with this project.
The problem on some of the DWG imports is that the dimensions on the DWG file are one half the size and two inches there becomes four inches in the import. This means problems at times importing the line geometry into part or sheet metal file sketches. Inquiries as to how to solve this in a few places never got an answer. This week it became fix this or re-create geometry from scratch and I found the magic bit in SE that does this. Life is funny at times and no doubt people who knew how to do this will crawl out of the woodwork now but finding the answer from them beforehand was difficult to say the least. Follow along with me as I import and fix an example file.
I would write more about Solid Edge the program itself but for two things that stop me. One is I do not intend to do one bit of work for a mediocre outfit like Siemens to sell their product other than what I have been doing. They deserve no help and what I do say is primarily aimed at saving users some part building headaches for their own benefit. I do respect the users in front of the keyboards. The other thing is that I have been using SE for some time now and I have been almost exclusively a Synchronous modeler except for occasional ventures over to Ordered for Sheet Metal for eight versions. When you do the same basic parts it is rare that something new you want to talk about comes up and compels you to write about it. One becomes accustomed to days that go by without problems and work gets done as it should be and I forget for those who do not have this work flow it may not be so. I have yet to see a method of modeling for what I do that is better than direct editing as is found in Solid Edge. Perhaps I will do more in this area this year who knows.