The Solid Edge ST3 Feature Tree

The feature tree in Solid Edge ST3 is made up of three parts. In my series on Synchronous Technology in Solid Edge ST3, I explained the first two parts – Synchronous and Ordered. This post is about the third part called “Simplify”, which basically is used to defeature a model. In this part of the tree you either remove faces, regions, holes or rounds. Its a very simple concept for anyone familiar with history based parametric modeling. But for the benefit of my 2D CAD readers who maybe looking at all this and scratching their heads, I will explain by means of a simple example.

Here is a model of a simple flange that I created using a combination of synchronous and ordered features. The main body of the flange was modeled in synchronous mode, whereas the holes were done in ordered mode.

The feature tree has two parts and looks like this.

Now in order to defeature this part I switch to the Simplify mode. This changes the UI a little and gives me these commands.

I proceed to delete rounds. Solid Edge give me the option to select my rounds by picking on their individual faces or on round features. I choose to select the rounds by feature because I will need to make just two mouse picks, one each for “Round1” and “Round2”. But when I do that and accept, something unusual happens. Take a look at this model.

The rounds on the other three instances in the circular array are still present. I expected all of them to go away. After all I picked a round feature and that feature was patterned. So the software should have automatically selected all the other instances as well. This looks more like a bug to me, or maybe a limitation. Anyways, the feature tree now looks like this.

A third section called “Simplify” has been added and a “Delete Round” feature has been added to it. Since the delete round operation did not remove all the rounds lets use the delete face command to do that. I select all the rounds individually by picking on their faces and delete them.

A “Delete Face” feature gets added to the “Simplify” portion of the tree.

And all the rounds on the part disappear.

So in summary, the feature tree in Solid Edge ST3 begins with the Synchronous part which contains all the synchronous features. Then comes the Ordered part which contains the traditional history based parametric features. And finally we have the Simplify part where synchronous and/or ordered features and even individual faces can be removed to defeature the model.

So as I see it, Solid Edge ST3 can still be considered as a history based modeler, just that its history tree is broken down into three very distinct parts which are calculated in a specific order. I say this because when you are working in Synchronous mode, the Ordered and Simplify features are missing because they have not yet been calculated. When you are working in Ordered mode, the Simplify features are missing for the same reason.

The beauty of splitting the history tree into three parts in this way is that the user gets direct modeling capabilities in a traditional history based parametric modeling environment. It’s brilliant. Hats off to the genius to came up with this idea.