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CAD Software for Students: Learn how to edit CAD models more quickly


Have you ever wondered what advantages there are to using Solid Edge with Synchronous Technology? We’ll look at a few today with an example and demonstration by Doug Stainbrook. Here we have a pulley system that requires modifications in order to accommodate a belt which is 20mm wider. You will see exactly how to make the necessary changes in Solid Edge to achieve this increase in the width of the pulley in the video below. Follow along with the written steps as we make modifications using synchronous technology.  


We start by editing the part: We select the pulley from the list of assembly features in the feature tree to the left, double click and select Edit.

The part appears in the context of the assembly (see above), but we will hide the assembly to focus solely on the part that we are going to edit.

Notice the pulley comprises a seat for a bearing on either side, a hole through the center for a shaft, a pattern of holes and pattern of teeth around the outside.

Understanding the limits of History-based Modeling

Looking to the left on the feature tree, you can see that this is an ordered model. It’s history-based, which means it contains feature stacked upon feature in the order the part was designed.

Because the pulley was designed by someone else, we must first identify which feature we need to edit in order to actually make this pulley wider. As we select parts on the feature tree, those parts are highlighted in the assembly. One we identify the correct feature and edit it, we notice the model is rolled back. This is how history based modeling works: it rolls the model back to the state it was in when the particular feature in question was first created.

editing a dimension.jpg

There is a dimension for width, in this case 35mm, which we will edit and increase by 20mm. When we select finish, the changes are complete and the part updates.

Instantly, we see that there is a problem. Notice the exclamation marks that appear next to particular features indicating that those features have failed. These indicate dependencies that we did not know existed previously. Whoever designed this part did not anticipate changing the width to increase it by 20mm. As a result, those feature dependencies cause problems which we now have to figure out how to fix. This is the problem with history-based modeling, and it is a very common occurrence across industries.

The Synchronous Technology difference

Let’s undo these changes and return the model to its original state, in order to move these features to the new technology that we have in Solid Edge called Synchronous Technology.

Once all features have been moved into Synchronous, notice there are no longer those dependencies between features. The first feature could be clear at the bottom of the tree, and it does not make a difference.

feature tree ordered.jpgfeature tree synchronous.jpg

To modify a part in Synchronous Technology, we select the faces we wish to change. In the case of the pulley, we want to move the front face and inside of the lip. We also want the hub to get wider and the seat for the bearing to move with any change we make to the width.

Once those faces are selected, we use the arrow to indicate the direction in which they should move.

As we drag the faces to make the part wider, notice the maintained symmetry that is a result of the proprietary design intent manager in the upper right corner of the screen. Symmetry is maintained so that we really only need to move 10mm in order to achieve the desired result of a 20mm increase in width.

Synchronous eliminates the worry about what feature or sketch to edit; all that is required is to select the faces to change and make the modification. It’s that quick and easy.  
Synchronous Technology part.jpg

Upon returning to the assembly view, we see that there is a problem: All of the parts are interfering with the pulley. We will now modify the assembly in order to accommodate the wider pulley and eliminate those interferences.

We start by hiding the pulley to view only the assembly. Another beautiful thing about Synchronous Technology is that we have an option to actually select faces of parts at the assembly level.

We are going to follow the same process used to modify the pulley to also change the surrounding assembly.

First, we select all parts that need widening. Notice that when you select sheet metal parts, it is only necessary to select one face due to the common thickness. We see that the bearing has moved correctly because it is seated inside the pulley with an assembly relationship. However, the spacer needs to be shortened to accommodate the wider pulley and the cutout in the girder also needs to be modified. In the case of coplanar faces, we need only select one and the other will be selected automatically, as one of the relationships which the design intent manager can check for is coplanar.

Synchronous Technology assembly.jpg

Notice we are at the assembly level, we’ve selected faces on multiple parts, and now we can click on that arrow and begin to drag to make it wider just as we did for the pulley. Because all of those parts are symmetric, the symmetry is maintained, so again we only need move 10mm to achieve a 20mm increase in width.

Once our changes are complete, we’re going to turn the pulley view back on to confirm that everything looks great and we have the clearances that are required in order for this assembly to work properly.

It’s possible to go into the parts and make changes if they are, in fact, synchronous parts. We can select faces directly from the assembly level and begin to modify those at the assembly level to change them in the part. In this particular case, we have two sheet metal parts that are not the same width. There is an option for face relationships at the assembly level which saves us from measuring the part. We select coplanar from the options and select one face of the sheet metal part. Notice the system recognizes it as sheet metal. Now the parts are the same width, and we didn’t have to measure.


The benefit of synchronous technology is that it is possible to modify parts without having to worry about history, and modify parts at the assembly level at the same time.


(view in My Videos)

Community Manager, Solid Edge
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