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centering hole pattern within rectangle (and "rigid" problem)

Hi, I'm relatively new to CAD and have a newbie question:
I have a simple hole pattern (two rows of holes) that needs to be vertically
centered on a piece of sheet metal (my rectangle). I have made the hole
pattern "rigid" but I can't seem to set a driving dimension from the center
of the pattern. I have read the help section on "rigid" but I still can't
make the hole pattern "unrigid"! SHIFT+click does not remove elements from
the rigid pattern.
What is the best way to center a hole pattern? Rigid does not seem to work.
Should I use "group" or "block"? When using those commands, is there a way
to get the grab point to be the center of the pattern? This is not obvious
from either the tutorial or the help section.
Thanks,
Tim

11 REPLIES

Re: centering hole pattern within rectangle (and "rigid" problem)

Tim,
Here is one way to achievve the symmetry you need. I have supplied a draft
file to show you what the end result is. There are more ways to do this.
Use the constraint system to accomplish this. Under the 'Tools' menu at the
top of the application window, make sure Maintain Relationships and
Relationship Handles are checked.
1. Draw a rectangle. You will see the connect relations in the corners.
2. Draw a horizontal and a vertical line crossing the rectangle and
connecting the centers of the rectangle lines. You can change the line style
of these. You can also put them on a separate layer. Once you are finished,
you can turn off the display of these lines by turning off the layer the
lines are on.
3. Draw your circles. As you place the circles, a horizontal and/or vertical
alignment constraint will be placed to maintain the alignment of the
circles. You will see this when you place the next circle directly beside or
under the previous circle. If you click and drag one circle, the aligned
circles will move with it.
4. If you want the circles to be symmetric about the vertical center of the
rectangle, create a symmetric constraint using the vertical line you
connected to the centers. Use the Symmetric command. The line will be the
symmetry axis. Click a circle on both sides of the line to apply the
constraint. In the example provided, I created symmetry in both the
horizontal and vertical directions.
Try dragging the circles. Try dragging the rectangle lines. If you want to
move everything, use fence select to get all the geometry and drag
everything together. you can also dimension everything and it will all hang
together.
Regards,
Rick B.


Re: centering hole pattern within rectangle (and "rigid" problem)

Rick,
Thanks for the reply.
I have tried your suggestions in my drawing, it took me about 30 minutes
to realize that I needed to click the centerline then click the circles
for the "symmetry" to be applied (the "symmetry axis button is grayed
out for some reason). I could not seem to find this important detail in
the help file. Also, I put the centerlines in a layer called "auto-hide"
and it refuses to hide when I press the "hide layer" button. In general,
some layers seem to hide, others will not.
An extension of my original question would be if I had a "group" or
"block" of elements (holes and text) is there a way to define the exact
center of that group/block as a grab point if I want to place it at an
exact X-Y position? Also, I can't seem to find the difference between a
group and a block and when I should use one over the other.
I really appreciate the help!
Tim
Rick B. wrote:
> Tim,
> Here is one way to achievve the symmetry you need. I have supplied a draft
> file to show you what the end result is. There are more ways to do this.
>
> Use the constraint system to accomplish this. Under the 'Tools' menu at the
> top of the application window, make sure Maintain Relationships and
> Relationship Handles are checked.
>
> 1. Draw a rectangle. You will see the connect relations in the corners.
> 2. Draw a horizontal and a vertical line crossing the rectangle and
> connecting the centers of the rectangle lines. You can change the line style
> of these. You can also put them on a separate layer. Once you are finished,
> you can turn off the display of these lines by turning off the layer the
> lines are on.
> 3. Draw your circles. As you place the circles, a horizontal and/or vertical
> alignment constraint will be placed to maintain the alignment of the
> circles. You will see this when you place the next circle directly beside or
> under the previous circle. If you click and drag one circle, the aligned
> circles will move with it.
> 4. If you want the circles to be symmetric about the vertical center of the
> rectangle, create a symmetric constraint using the vertical line you
> connected to the centers. Use the Symmetric command. The line will be the
> symmetry axis. Click a circle on both sides of the line to apply the
> constraint. In the example provided, I created symmetry in both the
> horizontal and vertical directions.
>
> Try dragging the circles. Try dragging the rectangle lines. If you want to
> move everything, use fence select to get all the geometry and drag
> everything together. you can also dimension everything and it will all hang
> together.
>
> Regards,
> Rick B.
>
>

Re: centering hole pattern within rectangle (and "rigid" problem)

I've discovered that you can't hide the active layer. The hide feature
works fine if I make "part edge" active and then single click on the
other layers and choose "hide".
This software is obviously very powerful and well written, but the help
file seems to be lacking considerable detail. Other people have asked
about a book which would be a wonderful idea (I would buy it in a
heartbeat!). I have spent hours trying to figure out simple features
which could have been avoided with the help of a book or a more in-depth
2D tutorial.
Thanks,
Tim

Re: centering hole pattern within rectangle (and "rigid" problem)

Tim,
The symmetry axis command is no longer needed because the axis is defined
directly in the symmetry command. I see from your following email that you
discovered that you cannot hide the active layer. To define a graphic object
as the exact center, you can create a point. Dimensionally constrain the
point to be in the center of your geometry.
Groups are useful when you want to simply make a collection of objects in a
single file. You can still manipulate individual geometry in a group by
changing the select options to use Bottom Up. This is on the Select Tool
command ribbon. Always change it back to Top Down when finished.
Blocks have much more capability. Blocks are more portable. You can create a
block in one file and use that block in another file. A common practice is
to create a block library of symbols that you would use often. You can add
labels to blocks and attributes. the block will prompt you for the
information to fill in the labels when placed.
Regards,
Rick B.

Re: centering hole pattern within rectangle (and "rigid" problem)

Rick,
So, if I have a collection of elements and I want them to act as what I
would call a "group" (but not a "group" as used in this software) I need
to make them "rigid"? I want the elements to move as one and dimension
from one of the elements within the group or the center point that you
suggested. Is there a better way to do this other than using the "rigid"
command? Once my group is made rigid I can then delete the symmetry (and
dimensions) that was applied to get everything to line up (or else I
can't move it!).
Even after reading the help file on groups and blocks, I really don't
get the difference or how to effectively use blocks. I don't really have
any prior CAD experience (one semester 15 years ago in college... I
guess I know what a drawing *looks* like) but I need to make some simple
drawings for a few projects and I find this software really interesting.
Thanks again for your help!
Tim

Rick B. wrote:
> Tim,
> The symmetry axis command is no longer needed because the axis is defined
> directly in the symmetry command. I see from your following email that you
> discovered that you cannot hide the active layer. To define a graphic object
> as the exact center, you can create a point. Dimensionally constrain the
> point to be in the center of your geometry.
>
> Groups are useful when you want to simply make a collection of objects in a
> single file. You can still manipulate individual geometry in a group by
> changing the select options to use Bottom Up. This is on the Select Tool
> command ribbon. Always change it back to Top Down when finished.
>
> Blocks have much more capability. Blocks are more portable. You can create a
> block in one file and use that block in another file. A common practice is
> to create a block library of symbols that you would use often. You can add
> labels to blocks and attributes. the block will prompt you for the
> information to fill in the labels when placed.
>
> Regards,
> Rick B.
>
>

Re: centering hole pattern within rectangle (and "rigid" problem)

Tim,
A Rigid Set truly locks down the geometry added to the set. The geometry
within the set cannot be individually modified. You can dimension to one of
the elements of the set and drive the set through the dimension. Simply
change the value of the dimension to move the set. Make sure that Maintain
Relationships is on.
I am still at a loss as to what you are truly trying to accomplish. Earlier
in this thread, we were discussing symmetry. Have you gotten past that or
are you still trying to resolve the same issue?
Regards,
Rick B.

Re: centering hole pattern within rectangle (and "rigid" problem)

Rick,
I'm sorry about my wandering topics. I probably should have created
different threads for each question.
I have a laundry list of problems mainly due to my lack of understanding
of any kind of real CAD software.
I am transitioning from stuff like Microsoft VISIO, etc. I have
extensively used a free software from Front Panel Express called Front
Panel Designer. In FPD, I create a series of holes, lines, text, etc.,
give them specific X-Y dims, select them all and choose "group" from a
pop up menu. This makes the elements "rigid" and I can choose any of the
elements or the physical center of the group as a "grab" point for
positioning, etc. A group there is not a group here and this threw me.
I have worked past the symmetry issue but I have other issues as well. I
have finally created a rigid set and that has pretty much solved my
problems - I am creating a panel that has sets of holes in it that need
to be centered vertically but not horizontally - there are two sets of
these holes at certain X dims.
Another stumbling point was rotating a pair of holes around a larger
hole. I attached a not-yet-complete sample of the panel so you can see
what I'm talking about. I know this would be an easy exercise for most
CAD operators!
Thanks again for your time and effort!
Tim
Rick B. wrote:
> Tim,
> A Rigid Set truly locks down the geometry added to the set. The geometry
> within the set cannot be individually modified. You can dimension to one of
> the elements of the set and drive the set through the dimension. Simply
> change the value of the dimension to move the set. Make sure that Maintain
> Relationships is on.
>
> I am still at a loss as to what you are truly trying to accomplish. Earlier
> in this thread, we were discussing symmetry. Have you gotten past that or
> are you still trying to resolve the same issue?
>
> Regards,
> Rick B.
>
>


Re: centering hole pattern within rectangle (and "rigid" problem)


Hi Tim,
Hang in there. You will get it. I went through the same learning pains you are going
through but it is worth it. Once it clicks for you it will be a breeze to create
drawings like your front panel. It took me only a few weeks to get fairly comfortable
with Solid Edge 2D and I have no mechanical CAD experience to speak of, only electrical
CAD. Did you go through the tutorial? That is what got me started. From there I
played around with it and asked questions on this forum like you are doing. There
are some very knowledgeable people on this forum so keep asking questions. Good
luck.
Ed
Tim wrote:
>
>Rick,
>
>I'm sorry about my wandering topics. I probably should have created
>different threads for each question.
>
>I have a laundry list of problems mainly due to my lack of understanding
>of any kind of real CAD software.
>
>I am transitioning from stuff like Microsoft VISIO, etc. I have
>extensively used a free software from Front Panel Express called Front
>Panel Designer. In FPD, I create a series of holes, lines, text, etc.,
>give them specific X-Y dims, select them all and choose "group" from a
>pop up menu. This makes the elements "rigid" and I can choose any of the
>elements or the physical center of the group as a "grab" point for
>positioning, etc. A group there is not a group here and this threw me.
>
>I have worked past the symmetry issue but I have other issues as well. I
>have finally created a rigid set and that has pretty much solved my
>problems - I am creating a panel that has sets of holes in it that need
>to be centered vertically but not horizontally - there are two sets of
>these holes at certain X dims.
>
>Another stumbling point was rotating a pair of holes around a larger
>hole. I attached a not-yet-complete sample of the panel so you can see
>what I'm talking about. I know this would be an easy exercise for most
>CAD operators!
>
>Thanks again for your time and effort!
>
>Tim
>
>Rick B. wrote:
>> Tim,

Re: centering hole pattern within rectangle (and "rigid" problem)

Ed,
I didn't bother to mention it, but my "other" CAD experience is with a
package to layout PCB's. That PCB software will export a drawing as a
DXF... but I can't get anything to read it (Solid Edge won't open those
files either)! I had previously used that software to make simple
panels, but I could not share the results with anyone so it was
worthless for that use. That is what made me search out a new CAD
package that will export to DXF, etc.
Thanks for the encouragement! I will be posting more questions!
Tim
Ed Kadlec wrote:
> Hi Tim,
>
> Hang in there. You will get it. I went through the same learning pains you are going
> through but it is worth it. Once it clicks for you it will be a breeze to create
> drawings like your front panel. It took me only a few weeks to get fairly comfortable
> with Solid Edge 2D and I have no mechanical CAD experience to speak of, only electrical
> CAD. Did you go through the tutorial? That is what got me started. From there I
> played around with it and asked questions on this forum like you are doing. There
> are some very knowledgeable people on this forum so keep asking questions. Good
> luck.
>
> Ed
>
> Tim wrote:
>> Rick,
>>
>> I'm sorry about my wandering topics. I probably should have created
>> different threads for each question.
>>
>> I have a laundry list of problems mainly due to my lack of understanding
>> of any kind of real CAD software.
>>
>> I am transitioning from stuff like Microsoft VISIO, etc. I have
>> extensively used a free software from Front Panel Express called Front
>> Panel Designer. In FPD, I create a series of holes, lines, text, etc.,
>> give them specific X-Y dims, select them all and choose "group" from a
>> pop up menu. This makes the elements "rigid" and I can choose any of the
>> elements or the physical center of the group as a "grab" point for
>> positioning, etc. A group there is not a group here and this threw me.
>>
>> I have worked past the symmetry issue but I have other issues as well. I
>> have finally created a rigid set and that has pretty much solved my
>> problems - I am creating a panel that has sets of holes in it that need
>> to be centered vertically but not horizontally - there are two sets of
>> these holes at certain X dims.
>>
>> Another stumbling point was rotating a pair of holes around a larger
>> hole. I attached a not-yet-complete sample of the panel so you can see
>> what I'm talking about. I know this would be an easy exercise for most
>> CAD operators!
>>
>> Thanks again for your time and effort!
>>
>> Tim
>>
>> Rick B. wrote:
>>> Tim,

>