Re: Anyone using Solid Edge here?

There are a lot of nice things in SE but the user interface is not very good. There is a real problem in not being able to go back and fix or
change things. The user interface is also hard to use because it relies heavily on a plethora of icons to show where you are at in a sequence of operations. It is hard to tell whether the icons are active or not because there is little contrast. For people with trifocals or even limited vision this interface presents some real challenges.
The feature tree in the SE that I am using just does not compare to the feature tree in SW for ease of use in determining feature order and rollback capabilities. For example finding the parents and children of features is non-existent.
SE is very sensitive to mouse technique. It seems to be very easy to get it to not do what you want if you make a little mistake with the mouse like jiggling when hitting the LMB.
SE has the bad habit of throwing out the sketch when a feature is deleted and it also has the bad habit (that Pro/E also had) of not letting you exit a sketch if there is a problem. And it doesn't do a very good job of showing what the problem is that it is complaining about.
On the other hand SE seems to be fairly robust, creates compact files and performs reasonably well.
The method SE uses to show relations between different profile entities is confusing and IMHO much harder to use that the method used in SW2004.
SE does do very well at drawings. It can keep track of changed dimensions, open a drawing without the part being available and do a lot more drafting on Isometric views than SW can. On the other hand it doesn't have some obvious things like being able to dimension a diameter in a revolved profile or switch display of a dimension from radius to diameter.
I haven't figured out how to create macros or do VBA in SE yet.
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I'm curious what version you are using?
Solid Edge has had a very good system for allowing a person to go back through the feature creation steps and revise/repair a feature either during the creation process or after the fact. The feature is called Smartstep. The problem with most individuals that have used other modelers is that they are used to deleting the feature if the original input was wrong, so it is a problem of "breaking" them of their bad habit.
The contrast of the buttons is equivalent to most other Windows based products that make use of the Windows API's, however the contrast from light gray to almost white could be made to stand out a little more, but I have never had a complaint about it.
The feature tree in Solid Edge is identical to that of Solid Works in respect to the fact that it list features in historical order. Determining feature order or rollback capabilities is as easy as going up the list. My 4 year old can determine the feature order. Parents and children of a respective feature can be determined by selecting the item "Show Parents & Children" from the shortcut menu.
I won't even comment on the mouse issue you had purported having. Your the only person that has ever come up with that one.
Solid Edge has two ways that it can use sketches for features. Sketches created as a feature can be used in all sketch based modeling features, and they remain if the feature is deleted. Sketches can also be created as part of the modeling feature, and if the feature is deleted, so is the sketch because it is part of that feature.
SE shows geometric sketch relationships as logical symbols placed directly on the sketch entities. Most sketch based modelers do this, Solid Works used to be an oddity in this area, but it appears that with 2005 they have added this capability because it has been heavily requested due to it's usefulness.
Solid Edge can dimension the diameter of a revolved profile, but I do agree that once placed, a diameter dim will have to be deleted and replaced to change to a radial dimension.
Macros require the use of VB (no VBA in Solid Edge) or the use something like Excel that has VBA.
Hope you have more of an opportunity to look a little closer at Solid Edge rather than the cursory look you have already taken.
Ken
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As I mentioned in a previous post, I am using SE14. I have no choice about that. So any comments you make regarding features in later versions will not be useful to me. I have spent hours trying to do or undo the simplest things. This is not a cursory examination. I have been at it since August. I would hardly call this a cursory look. I would call it weak documentation and help although the tutorials are pretty good.
As you have surmised SmartStep and the RibbonBar are at the root of the problem.
The contrast of the buttons is very poor. It takes me a good long look sometimes to see where I am at in the SmartStep progression of things. There is nowhere near the contrast or color that is in SolidWorks or Inventor. Everything is a shade of grey. I want to see what is going on out of the corner of my eye, not have to stare at it.
The whole SmartStep thing is a real problem for me because I wear trifocals and can't see all the screen at once. If I try to work fast I miss what the icons are telling me. I have to scan a lot more of the screen to tell what is going on in a feature. And the iconic feedback is hard to get used too. And if you don't want to work in lockstep with SmartStep you can get into a lot of difficulty.
Yes the geometric sketch relationships are placed right on the entities that they pertain too, in fact they are frequently on top of each other or on top of an endpoint. Once there are more than two or three on top of each other it is nearly impossible to sort out which one goes to what. And I have not found any tool in SE that allows me to examine the sketch relationships in detail, for example showing which entities are involved in a parallel relationship.
The feature tree in SE is nowhere near identical to SW feature tree except in the most cursory manner. I haven't seen anything that would let me rollback the feature tree or place items out of historical order. I have not found anything that allows me to examine parent child relationships (in SE14). It may be that later versions have this, but not 14.
We do agree that sketches created as part of a feature are deleted with the feature. This is something SW does not do and for good reason. It is not infrequent that during maintenance of a part a feature must be deleted, but the sketch must stay. If the original creator did not create a separate sketch then all the design intent in the sketch will be lost when the feature is deleted or changed. SW also allows closing a sketch with inappropriate geometry, something that SE will not do. This can be an expediency in certain situations to allow fixing something prior to going back and fixing the sketch.
I prefer creating sketches ahead of time so that I can't lose the work invested in them. Because SE has the from/to protrusion this works very well.
The lack of ability to alternate between radius and diameter dimensions make it very hard to be consistent in carrying dimensions from revolves into drawings.
And strangely enough, SE allows dimensioning isometric holes in drawings as diameters, but not as radii, while SW is just the opposite.
Dimensioning a drawing in SE is a bit more complicated and has fewer choices than SW. Getting dimension lines to line up to the part the way I want is still a lot of work to get it right. SW SmartDimension is in sixth grade while SE's SmartDimension is still in kindergarten.
I have found changing the pickbox size for the mouse sometimes helps. I am working 1024x768 most of the time.
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See Below.

You did not mention the version, only that you were using Solid Edge

Maybe you need some training, because based on your other comments, you have not had any, and it isn't that difficult because I have a large number of users using it daily without problem.

On this you and I agree. If one has any kind of vision imairment it would be somewaht dificult to see the difference.

Disagree. The icons certainly let you know what step you are in, but the command progresses on its own and looking at the buttons is unnecessary when creating new features. When editing, the buttons are usefull for accessing a particular step of a feature to edit such as the Side Step which allows you to designate a different side of a sketch to act upon.

This is a feature that is in the current version of the software. Perhaps upgrading might be a good idea.

To Rollback a feature, use your Select tool and right click on the feature you would like to rollback to and choose "GoTo". This is the Rollback tool. Features can now be inserted directly below the feature selected. Features can also be re-ordered by dragging them up and down the tree. Again some training could have helped here!

Disagree. Solid Edge alows you to work 2 dufferent ways here where you only have one choice with Solid Works. The choice is yours as to which one you want to employ. Again, some training would have helped!
1. You can work the same way as in Solid Works by creating sketches as features which can be finished at any time with any type of geometry without any error whatsoever. These sketches can then be used as input for any sketch based feature.
2. You can also create sketches as part of the feature. The resulting sketch geometry will be validated against the feature requirements for a sketch and if incorrect will make you fix it.

Not too hard if you use the Symetric Diameter dimension option for revolved features. Another lack of training issue?

Actually, Solid Edge allows both.

Solid Edge has a lot of other dimension options other than the Smart Dimension which will provide for automatic stacking/stringing of dimensions. This will yield dimensions that are already aligned or that are much easier to align.

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Ken,
To respond to every problem with "it shows a lack of training" shows that there is a problem. I have the training manuals and the software with help. I don't have the option to get training. I have to figure it out on my own. If these options are so hidden that I can't find them after spending hours looking for them then there is a problem. But you are right I don't have any formal training nor do I have the option of getting any at this time both for budgetary and time reasons. I guess you could say I don't have formal training for SW either.
When I started with SW many years ago I had 15 minutes of "training" in a seminar and was productive.
I have tried to be as fair as possible with SE, but I really do find it difficult to find some of these things you say are in the software.
If having trifocals is vision impaired then heaven help many of us here.

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OK, you win. If 15 minutes of informal training at a seminar on Solid Works can make you a productive user, then my hats off to Solid Works (it takes me much longer to go through the "What's New" section of help every new release on Solid Edge).
By the way, the Solid Edge GoTo command is covered in the training manual, and searching help for "roll back" yields the GoTo command quite clearly.
If you need any help in the future finding something in Solid Edge, I would be glad to help you. Just post here since you obviously don't have maintenance.
Ken

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You are correct. I don't have maintenance, but I am legal as far as I know. I am using the free license.
And I think SW has drifted a long way from the simplicity of '96. There are a lot of new things in SW that are not obvious.
GOTO, yup it works as a rollback command. Pretty good camoflage I would say. And rollback doesn't appear in the index, probably because I spell it rollback and SE spells it roll back. Thanks for the tip though.
Still trying to figure out how to see parent child relationships.
There seems to be a lot of mumbo jumbo in SE. Pathfinder*, Edgebar, RibbonBar, Goto, SmartStep, Sensors???? Looks like the marketeers write the command descriptions in SE. And it doesn't help that the little bug in XP that causes Tooltips to associate with the wrong icon makes tooltips useless.
I just ran into a profile from hell. A simple oblong slot profile, two parallel lines, two semi circles. All realtions are removed and I can move the entities. Constrain them with coincident end points and tangencies and the slot refuses to move. As far as I can tell from the visual cues it should be free to be moved. Bug or OE?
ken wrote:

*Using the word Pathfinder in a predominantly testosterone driven group is a sure path to denial and failure. We don't ask were the right path is. We aren't the ones who are lost. Why do we need a Pathfinder? :)
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P,
Can you tell me where we can get the free licence for SE V14, it would like to have one.
I have been using SE before SW and it to me a long time to get used to SW, maybe you need a longer time to get used to SE.
All to the same I have to agree with Ken, I had no problems with SE like you have with the smartstep ribbon bar, if you are used to it, it is a "smart" way to model.
You can blame SE that a bug in XP is messing up the screen, you must blame Bill G. for that. All the mumbo jumbo is also present in SW but has a different name.
For you profile from hell i would suggest you throw away the profile and start with line,a, l, a and you profile with the constaints is already there. I is simpeler that to use a hour on a screwed-up profile.
About the dimensioning in SE I disagree with you, is you setup you profiles right it is simpler than SW.
All the way I do not think that SE is better or SW is better, it is just what you used to work with
@Gary, Drop me a line and I round up some samples for you.
A former SE user who is using SW now.

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Educational License. Edge doesn't charge for them and has the usual safeguards like watermarks and imcompatibility with commercial files. One up on SW here. And I am using it in an educational setting in the study of CAD. So I really appreciate the comments you and Ken make.
Thanks, I deleted and remade the profile and it behaved properly. And this has to be a bug of some sort.
I think your comment is very telling where you say you got used to it, refering to SW. That is one of my points and it applies equally well to having to relearn SW every year or learn SE from scratch. Things you have to get used to are things that require (re)learning and are not intuitive. I have allowed for a lot of getting used to it in my quest.
As an illustration I drive three different cars. The lights, turn signal switch, wiper switch and dip switch are all different. I find myself turning on the wipers instead of the lights and vice versa. Within makes there is some consistency, but between makes (German, Japanese and UnitedStatesian) there are big differences and it causes trouble. More than one I have turned the headlights off at night instead of turning on the wipers. Same thing with CAD but in trumps.
The one thing that helps is that I try to understand what is going on behind the scenes. But, as my supervisor once said, "The best tool is the tool you know best."
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It is very frustrating trying to use two different modelers an equal amount of time that work differently. I had to do it once, and I found myself confusing the nuances of one with the other. So glad that is past me :)
Ken

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Given that we have to relearn SW every year and get used to it, learning another software package isn't that big a stretch.
I hate to go back to the issue of screen readability but I will. Last night I noticed that I could make out icons a lot better on the projection screen than on the laptop. This was especially true of the automatic relations icons near the mouse cursor. Students where complaining that they couldn't see certain things on the screen so I had to change the background. This is the first software package that I have used that presented so many problems. Most frustrating was working with a student with disabilities. He even had trouble with Windows icons.
Once I figure out where all the levers are things will go more smoothly. I locate icons more by position than by their image. It is like playing Where's Waldo.

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I'm assuming that the "Large Buttons" option is turned on in the Toolbars form?
Ken

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Don't have room at 1024x768.
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I did try this last night. The issue is contrast. Big or small it is hard to tell which Smart Step icon is depressed. The difference is very subtle. Shades of grey and a slightly different shadowing scheme.

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There is a ToolTip fix from Microsoft that will solve your tooltip problems, or you can install Win XP SP2. The viewing of Parent/Child relationships is in V16, you will not find it in V14.
Ken

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