I'm glad to finally announce the availability of a free 150 page eBook in pdf format intended to help history-based CAD users understand Synchronous Technology. To download it, go here.
There are 10 chapters, the first 2 are really the conceptual introduction to Sync, the third is an intro to the interface, and then it starts stepping through various aspects of Sync. Each chapter has a tutorial, and there are some videos that go along with the text. You can also download sample parts to go with the tutorials.
I had a lot of help with the concepts and making sure I got some of the ideas right. I've included some material from various people from the development team - stories that helped me understand how it came to be, and how it works. There are a lot of real experts within the company that contributed, and although my name is on the book, it was not just the work of one person.
The book has been renamed a couple of times, but was alternately called The Zen of Synchronous, or Synchronous Technology for History-Based Users. The marketing page you go to for download is called "Learn CAD with our Free eBook" which we must have got for a bargain because the book is not for new users. Let's say that again. This book is NOT for people new to CAD. It is really for the people who know the struggle of working with parametric history-based CAD, hacking at the ordered feature tree, and breaking and recreating design intent.
I almost wish we had stuck with the Zen of Synchronous title. This was not just a cool title, it actually applies to how you need to approach Synchronous on several levels. I'm not much of a Zen philosopher, and this blog is certainly not a place to debate religion, but hang with me here for a moment. Part of Zen as I understand it is to learn to accept things as they are. This is really the first step in success with Synchronous Technology. Something I say several times throughout the book is "The only thing that matters is the current state of the model". Accept the model as it is NOW. Without thinking about how it will rebuild or react to another part changing. There is no underlying meaning in the part, just whatever it is right now.
Another important concept we try to convey in the book is that Synchronous Technology does indeed enable design intent. Sometimes people who don't understand Sync still try to explain it to people. This leads to some crazy misconceptions being bandied about out there in CAD land. Some people think that Synchronous Technology doesn't allow design intent, and is not parametric. Both of these ideas are false. Design intent in ST is design intent on the fly. You tell the software how you want the part to react to this change right now. You don't need a crystal ball to see into the future to determine how to set up your design intent, or a time portal to go back in time to remember how you set it up when you created it. Synchronous is about right now.
Anyway, I don't want to take up too much of your time that you could use reading the book. Download it, work through the tutorials, watch the videos. Send me an email if you have questions. I'm keeping a folder of possible edits for a second edition, so send me problems you find with the book too.