So, You Say You’ve Never Tried Solid Edge Synchronous?

So how do YOU want to work?

So choose, hammer or nailer.


Wandering through the SE forum today and ran across this.

While I think the presentation is a somewhat corny and the items covered a bit rudimentary it got me to thinking of a few things regarding Synchronous Tech or ST as it is better known. For those of you who are not familiar with it ST is the very best direct editing method out there in the mid range MCAD program world. I forget that many have no idea of the power there and since I have been using ST since ST1 this power has become commonplace to me. I am accustomed to doing this and quite frankly any other way has become alien to me. I came here because I wanted to be freed from the shackles of straight parametric modeling and this is the simple part that opened my eyes just before the release of ST1.

Using a straight parametric modeler and having no idea direct editing even existed back in 2008 seeing this way of working was a real epiphany. It was like a whole world of possibility opened up before me even though I did not know specifically how it was going to do so. In truth it was like the very first time I was shown how to make crude forming jigs for bending rods to make trusses with. It opened the door for all kinds of things that were far more complicated but based on the same principle. Both put power in my hands. Admittedly it was not until ST4 that the program conquered some serious problems but since then any owner of SE was crazy to not work with ST.

When I bought into Autodesk’s Inventor Pro HSM it was strictly for the machining program. CAMWorks for SE was a nightmare and I wanted shed of cumbersome tool path creation for simple intuitive and powerful which HSM was. Limited in what it would do but a world beater in three axis milling it was for me. But this machining program came with the CAD equivalent of CW4SE called Inventor and it was clunky and convoluted and difficult to use. So much so that after a few fairly serious attempts I just quit trying. After all why would I inflict such a cumbersome work flow on myself if it was not essential to do so.

In time this led to a conversation I had with an Inventor guru. He was asking me why I had bad things to say about Inventor when it had direct editing too. Which it did to some degree and I guess if it was all new to you it seemed just peachy. This was his problem and I had to explain to him that while both SE and Inventor had forms of direct editing SE’s was far more because of the intelligence that came with it, the range of things that could be done with it and the ability to work with imported files from other CAD programs when imported. I could work with them just like it was a native file. Inventor direct editing is just as sucky as their convoluted user interface and work flow. He was not interested in viewing the numerous ST videos on this topic would be my guess because after telling him about ST he never got back to me.

Running a user group meeting a few years back in Huntsville there was an SE dude there who was giving a demo. At the end of the demo two shocking things were made evident. One was that when asked who was using ST out of a room of SE users only one raised his hand. There were also three UAH students there and they were very intrigued with the idea of ST which their college instructor did not cover. Really? College students being taught SE but not SE ST? A college level course being taught to students who were theoretically being prepared to work in the real world and it did not incorporate ST? The professional users in attendance basically said they were all to busy to learn the new way. To busy to learn how to save time and become more efficient from that day on was my interpretation of the end result of their mindsets. Insofar as the college professor at UAH all I can say is tenured laziness bordering on incompetence since he could not be bothered to learn and teach the most powerful tool in the SE tool box. His students were shocked this ST thing existed and I was shocked they did not know.

To this day since I have been accustomed to the power of ST for so long, indeed it is the only way I have worked for years now, I forget that many for whatever reason have no idea what they are missing.

SE requires a different mindset to be successful and the biggest hurdle I have seen is people have to think in terms of manipulating faces or face sets rather than driving every single thing and edit with dimension driven sketches and planes. It was amusing to see die-hard parametric SE users slowly assimilated into the ST world. It was hard for some to let go of the old way which after all did work but when they were curious enough to finally try they to a man became advocates for ST.

So why if you are an SE user have you not made a concerted effort to learn to work with the greater efficiency ST brings to the table? Why would you prefer a hammer when on the shelf next to it is an air nailer and you already own the air compressor? For those in the Autodesk perpetual seat doomed to future slavery world and the apparent end of serious user innovations and improvements, why would you not be curious enough to at least try SE ST? Sold which ever way you want to buy it without Autodesk type belligerent threats to your future and the imports of your files will be far easier than you think. Indeed working with them when you get them into SE will be a true eye opener. I have had access to both programs the last three years now and I can assure you that once you leap over the learning hurdle any new program has Inventor will acquire its rightful place as the clunky offering from a company that has no regard for you as a user and customer. I chose not to further learn Inventor when it became apparent that it was inefficient since I had the luxury of having SE to work from. You give SE a serious try and I bet that will be your conclusion too.

I guess I could throw SW into this mix also but my experience with SW is VERY limited and I am commenting today on two programs I have owned and used in daily production. I suspect from comments received from past SW users and some companies that were SE users but bought out by SW using outfits and hating the new-found inefficiency SW is not as good for general MCAD. I believe from users complaints models can and will blow up with SW whereas in SE ST a proposed edit simply will not work rather than blowing it all up.

In any case SE ST deserves a long hard look from anyone who wants to become more efficient and profitable. At the very least look online for videos and have a look at what others are doing and think hard about how you have to work.


7-18 Update  From Matt’s blog today I find this.

“Synchronous Technology for History-Based Users

This was a book on Solid Edge, published using ST8 (~2016). It is 10 chapters long, in eBook (pdf) format with movies and sample files. It is free and downloadable, although you may have to give up some information to get it. You may find the book published under a different title. The book is meant to help users of history-based CAD understand why Synchronous Technology is a tool you will want to have.”

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