Synchronous Technology In Solid Edge ST3 – Part 7

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In the previous part of this series I suggested that you could consider all the synchronous features as one big mammoth feature at the start of a traditional history based feature tree. If that were indeed the case then it should follow that you should be able to build ordered features on the ordered side of the feature tree by referencing synchronous features on the synchronous side of the tree. In this post I will explain whether that is indeed possible and what are the issues surrounding this concept. I believe it is important to understand this concept in order to make full use of Synchronous Technology in Solid Edge ST3.

I will also address the issue of design intent. Many think that direct modeling systems do not do a good job of storing design intent in a model. This post should shed some light on how Synchronous Technology does or does not deal with design intent.

Say I create a simple part in synchronous mode. I sketch a square and extrude it to create a slab. Next I switch to ordered mode and sketch a circle on the top face of the slab and extrude it to some distance to get a cylinder.

Note that the slab is a synchronous feature and the cylinder is an ordered feature. This is what the feature tree looks like.

Next I open the variable table and set the height of the cylinder to be twice the thickness of the slab. I can do that because the synchronous and ordered features share the same variable table. Now if I change the thickness of the slab the height of the cylinder updates itself automatically due to the formula.

So this proves that ordered features can be driven by synchronous features. But can synchronous featured be driven by ordered features? I guess the answer to that is no. Why? Because like I explained in the previous part of this series, synchronous features are calculated first, after which ordered features are calculated. This example also shows that you can store design intent across the synchronous and ordered parts of the feature tree.

This is all very good. But here is something really cool. The point of Synchronous Technology is to be able to push and pull faces around and work more naturally. So you may get the impression that the push pull goodness is available only when you are in the synchronous mode. Take a look at this video.

Be amazed because I captured this video while I was in ordered mode. Yes, that fancy steering wheel UI gizmo can show up in ordered mode as well if you click on a synchronous feature. OK, so try and get a grip of this. I have two features, one is synchronous and the other is ordered. The ordered feature is driven by the synchronous feature due to a formula in the variable table. I go into ordered mode, which is supposed to be the old and difficult way of doing things, click on a face of a synchronous feature and move it using the gizmo. The formula kicks in and the ordered feature is recalculated in real time. This is fantastic!

Of course, the reverse is not possible, I mean I can’t go into synchronous mode and move a face of an ordered feature because the ordered features are not available to me at that time. And that is to be expected because ordered features are calculated after the synchronous features.

So this little experiment proves a few things. But what about more complicated features. Stuff like patterns. Can you create an ordered pattern feature using synchronous features? For that we need to dig a little deeper, which is precisely what we will do in the next part of this series.

Part 8 >>