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Member postings for IanT

Here is a list of all the postings IanT has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: 2D and 3D Cad Software Recommendations
26/10/2021 23:17:17

Well Nigel, I've always made clear that I'm running Solid Edge CE on a five year old i5 laptop running Windows 10 Home. The Siemens site says that you need Windows 10 'Pro' to run SE but that will be their (official) "supported" platform.

Commercial software customers often have support contracts with vendors and are expected to keep their s/w installations up to date (I speak from experience). If a support engineer goes into look at a client problem and finds the s/w revision is out of date - the first thing he will suggest is that the software be updated. Software (of all kinds) constantly evolves and changes over time for many reasons and it isn't commercially practical to support software revisions going back to the year dot.

So when software is no longer 'supported', it doesn't mean that it will stop working, just that the vendor is not maintaining (or resolving) problems with it any more. Your Win 7 has not been officially supported since January 2020 but it is still working I assume?

I don't know if SE will run on Win 7 (it may do so) simply that Siemens do not recommend or support it. Solid Edge is a commercal CAD product that has to compete with other commercial CAD products and it will be constantly evolved and improved. It is also closely integrated with MS technology and will need to move in step with MS.

Personally, I don't see the need to keep up to date with Microsoft OS as a problem (in fact I see free updates as an advantage). I've been doing it in personal and business life for well over 30 years now. I know others might not share my preference for Windows but it has always worked well for me and still does - no hassle and no problems.

There are also of course, many other CAD products out there. Some browser based, others needing some internet connectivity. Some are relatively simple, others much more capable. I prefer a locally installed CAD solution and have been delighted with the power and functionality that SE-CE provides me at no cost. There are a few other Solid Edge users here that seem to share my enthusiasm.

I do understand that everyone has their own preferences with respect to things like operating systems, programming languages and CAD design tools. I guess perhaps unsurprisingly, that there is no one-size fits all.




Edited By IanT on 26/10/2021 23:21:28

Thread: Blackgates Stent T&C Grinder
26/10/2021 11:28:51

Small traders tend to hold prices on existing stock, reviewing costs when they restock - so the Stent castings may not be effected just yet.

A Clarkson needs a good deal more space than a Stent and is much heavier. The Stent (a scaled down Clarkson) will do most of what a Quorn is capable of (and all of what most folk need). A set of Quorn castings (& drawings) is currently just under £700. .

If you fancy a Stent - why not give Blackgates a call and ask them the current price of their Stent castings?



26/10/2021 09:50:19

Small businesses have a lot to deal with at them moment - and not everyone has the knowledge or time to construct and maintain the kind of website people (spoiled by Amazon & eBay) have come to expect. It can also be quite expensive to pay someone else to do it for you - not just setting up an online shop but the ongoing maintenance fees.

I've got the Blackgates catalogue downloaded as a PDF and it's index gets you either on the required page (or very near to it) and there are many specialist ME items packed into it's 150 odd pages that I've found very useful over the years.

Above all else, they are very helpful if you email or call them (even for a few inexpensive items) and I value that above all else quite frankly. Be grateful that we still have a few small firms catering to our needs and use them. One day they may be gone and you will miss them.



Thread: Solid Edge - Community Edition
23/10/2021 17:49:54

I mentioned in my initial post that Solid Edge CE could be used simply as a 2D CAD system and that this might be a good entry point for some people looking for small, gentle steps into 3D CAD.

Indeen, I've found myself prefering to use Solid Edge for my 2D work these days instead of TurboCAD but I've been aware that I still tend to approach 2D as I've always done with TC - and thereby not always getting the full advantage that a 2D parametric system can offer.

I found this YouTube recently and although it shows an older version of SE, there were a number of things that I hadn't realised were possible and that are proving useful in my 2D work. The ability to turn on projection lines is useful but being able to 'connect' items via them even more so - plus the ability to 'smartselect' elements by feature combinations (layer, colour etc) is very useful when managing layers.

These features are there, right in front of you but not always obvious to the novitiate I'm afraid. Anyway, for anyone using SE Community in 2D mode (or anyone who just wants a SE 2D preview) - this will be 17 minutes well spent.

Solid Edge - 2D Overview



12/10/2021 15:07:28

Dave S14,

Thanks, I may well need to do something like that one day but CAD-wise I'm currently still learning to walk (so to speak) - not quite ready for a marathon (or even a short sprint) yet. Very nice work though, something to aspire to.



12/10/2021 15:02:54

"I understand perfectly that once you've invested time and effort learning a particular CAD - it requires a very good reason to migrate elsewhere. But for anyone undecided about what 2D/3D CAD to adopt - here is some basic info about Solid Edge (and my reasons for using it) that may be useful to you..."

Copied from my opening post....

I didn't really intend this thread to convert existing 3D CAD users across to Solid Edge CE - more to point out that 'late-comers' to 3D CAD now have a very good (free) alternative to Fusion and other existing 2D/3D CAD systems - than was avaialbe to us before early 2020.

Whilst there may be good reasons for existing CAD users to move their CAD product, I was primarily addressing the 'New to 3D CAD' user, especially anyone like myself who had previously just used 2D CAD for many years (together with a little Open SCAD for 3DP).

So whilst I understand how some folk might accumulate a mix of product knowledge (and use several different CAD systems currently) - if starting with a clean sheet, then focusing on a single 2D/3D CAD solution probably makes good sense. As my Solid Edge skills have improved, my use of TurboCAD 2D and SCAD has declined.




Edited By IanT on 12/10/2021 15:08:07

12/10/2021 11:24:26


I don't have the need to move solid models between different CAD systems, as I've only previously used 2D CAD. I guess I might need to modify an existing 3D Print design but I've decided to avoid that where ever possible, at least until my skills improve very considerably.

However, for anyone interested in SE's 'supported' file types - here are the options a) when exporting/saving to non-native SE models (Part & Assembly docs - haven't checked Weldments and Sheet Metal docs) and b) when opening/importing same...

These options are document specific - so DWG, DXF etc file types only appear for 'Draft' (e.g. 2D) documents...


Solid Edge - export file types.jpg

and Importing...

Solid Edge - open file types.jpg

As I've said, most of these file types I will probably never need/use myself but I guess they may be of interest to the more advanced CAD users here. Hope this helps.



12/10/2021 11:03:22

Yes, I beleive so Baz, although you will need to have solid Edge installed to do the Activities that follow

Solid Edge - New to CAD - Intro Videos



11/10/2021 23:34:13


Solid Edge has a toolset called "Reverse Engineering" that allows some manipulation of .STL files and may be part of solution to this issue but it's way beyond my understanding at this time.

Siemens Documentation: Reverse Engineering Workflow

Likewise there are "Simulation" tools that allow FEA

Siemens Documentation: Analyze a Model - FEA Process



Of possible more utility to us mere mortals (and 2D converts) - Solid Edge has a "Create 3D" function that allows DXF files to be imported and used to create 3D models. Thus far, I've found it easier to simply import the DXF and use the imported 'Sketch' to then extrude and build the 3D model but the 'Create' method is probably much quicker (once mastered). It's on my (long) list of things to learn....

Siemens Documentation: Create 3D Command



11/10/2021 22:11:10

"Can ANother drawings be opened in Solid-xxxx, if necessary converted to a standard format in their parent programme?"

I can certainly (successfully) open DXF files from TurboCAD with Solid Edge Nigel and it supports all the main file formats that I'm aware of (and some that I've never heard of).

With regards to "Learning" and "Documentation - hopefully my previous posts will cover that....



Edited By IanT on 11/10/2021 22:15:36

11/10/2021 22:04:35

Part Two

Step 3

I watched many YouTube videos, some good and some frankly very bad. Some were also badly dated and/or used ‘Ordered’ methodology. Personally, I found that I learnt very little from videos that whizzed through the subject matter or were far too advanced.

Finally I settled on the YTs of Dr Mohammed Seif who is a University Lecturer in Engineering in the US. I suspect he originally made his videos for his students and they are well and (for my needs) well paced. His material is also sensibly structured and builds gradually, introducing new concepts in a reasonably logical way. I’ve now watched all of his material and sometimes pop back to check how he approached a particular part. Here is the first one...

Introduction to Solid Edge 2020 - Sketches (Introduction Lab) - YouTube

Step 4

As you progress with Solid Edge, you will discover ‘holes’ in your knowledge. There are several important aids to help get you past these roadblocks.

The first is with the Solid Edge user interface (UI) and is called the ‘Command Finder’. This is the box on the bottom of the screen that has ‘Find a Command’ in it! Type in a word that describes what you want to do and the Command Finder will open a box with the Commands you may be seeking. As you run your cursor over the suggestions, it will animate the associated icon in the Command Line to show you where it is located. A simple but very effective aid.

Secondly, assuming that you can find the Command you need but do not know how to use it, hovering over its icon and hitting F1 will take you to the ‘Help’ for that command – often an animated illustration.

Finally, Siemens has provided a set of very detailed ‘self-paced’ learning that can be downloaded as PDFs and which make a very good reference library. I have not worked systematically through them but have dipped into them as required. There are twelve ‘Fundamentals’ courses which cover more than most people will require I suspect. The ‘Sketching’ course downloads as a 216 page indexed document (and there is also an associated Powerpoint if required). I will probably never work through all this material but I do have the PDFs as a form of very detailed Reference Manual!

You can find the Self-Paced Courses here:

Siemens Documentation: Self-paced and classroom courses

So, that’s what I’d suggest to the ‘Younger Me’ if I’d had the chance a year ago. My progress wasn’t quite so orderly but I am happy to say I’m over the initial “That’s too hard to Learn” mentality. Like anything worth doing, you have to invest some time and effort.

Solid Edge is a very well documented and supported CAD product. I can’t make any comparisons with other CAD products but it’s certainly been a very important part of my learning thus far.

Hope this helps - sorry if it was a bit longwinded!



11/10/2021 22:02:20

Hello again – sorry to make you wait Rod (although I suspect you don’t really need my help!)

OK, so you are new to 3D CAD and you have just downloaded Solid Edge Community Edition.

What to do next? Well I would suggest that one thing you DO NOT do – is just jump straight in and try to figure it out by yourself. It’s much better to be guided in your first few steps and I’d suggest the following ones..

Step 1

Open Solid Edge and click on the top menu option ‘Learn’ – this will take you to the ‘Learn Solid Edge’ page, where you should select ‘Recommended Learning Paths’ link.

This will then take you to an area of the Siemens’ ‘Doc Centre’ and I would suggest you choose the ‘New to CAD’ option (which I did even though I have some 2D CAD experience). Select ‘Click to Continue’

You will be offered three short intro videos – less than 20 minutes to watch them all.

Following the videos (on the same page) there are five eLearning Tutorials, each featuring a number of self-paced guided activities. An excellent feature of these activities is that although the learning material is online – you use the actual Solid Edge CAD package to work through them. So as you follow/work through each activity, you are building real 3D models using Solid Edge.

I worked through all five tutorials over about a week or so. At the end of this period, I was not a Solid Edge Guru but I had achieved one important thing. I knew that given time, I could draw reasonably complex objects in Solid Edge – because I had just done so. I believe that confidence is the first and most important thing that you need to learn when first coming to 3D CAD – and these Tutorials will help give it to you.

(BTW – there are many more Tutorials available should you need them...)

Step 2

Try to draw something relevant and useful to you, keeping it fairly simple to begin with. Try to stay within the bounds of the Tutorial work too. Don’t be too ambitious and don’t be afraid to scrap a drawing and start over if required.

The default setting for Solid edge is ‘Synchronous’ (although you can set ‘Ordered’ as your default if you wish). However, a key strength of Solid Edge is its Synchronous technology and it’s worth learning and using it.

End of Part 1

Thread: Hornby on TV
11/10/2021 09:14:40
Posted by Pete White on 11/10/2021 08:59:12:

Thankyou for that information Peter, I will set the recorder. Only one reply and 565 views, 566 now......surprise

I was more of a Triang kind of kid.... wink


Thread: Solid Edge - Community Edition
10/10/2021 12:13:27

Been watching the Fusion 'Cloud' thread but instead of adding my two penneth there - I thought I'd simply paste a post I've recently made on another modelling Forum (being a lazy b). I understand perfectly that once you've invested time and effort learning a particular CAD - it requires a very good reason to migrate elsewhere. But for anyone undecided about what 2D/3D CAD to adopt - here is some basic info about Solid Edge (and my reasons for using it) that may be useful to you...

PS I have one SE file per 'Part' and then build 'Assemblies' from them - wouldn't want it otherwise...

What is Solid Edge?

Solid Edge is a 2D/3D (hybrid) parametric CAD system, offering ‘Ordered’ (history based) and ‘Synchronous’ modelling technologies. It runs on Microsoft Windows and provides solid modelling, assembly modelling and 2D orthographic view functionality for mechanical designers.

What is Solid Edge Community Edition?

The 'Community Edition' is essentially the same as the commercial SE version with two exceptions. The first is that native SE files created with SE-CE cannot be opened with a commercially licensed SE version (and presumably vice versa). The second is that ‘Draft’ drawings have a ‘SE-CE’ watermark on them. Otherwise all the SE basic functionality that normally costs over £2k pa (per seat) is provided by the Community Edition under a free lifetime license.

Where can I get Solid Edge Community Edition

This seems to have caused others some problems because there are various free, old and trial versions of Solid Edge still available on various Siemens pages/websites. So just 'Googling' can lead you astray (as discovered by one user on this Forum recently). I would therefore strongly recommend that users should download from this Siemens link. It is a large download (about 6Gb) but it is a completely self contained software CAD package and made no real dent on my PCs 900Gb+ storage :

Siemens Digital Industries Software Online Store

As an aside, I downloaded SE-CE version ‘2020’ (which I am still using) last year but another ME I’ve been in contact with recently used this link and says his version appears to be the ‘2021’ Edition (with all the updates recently announced by Siemens for the commercial 2021 product). So this was very encouraging news!

What can Solid Edge NOT do?

SE will not suit you if you wish to run on Mac or Linux. It is Windows only and can be closely linked to external data via Microsoft technology (if you are clever enough). I run it on a five year old i5 laptop under Win 10 Home and have had no performance issues thus far.

It does not have a CAM component, so is not a one-shop stop for CNC. You can however export 3D designs for import into CAM software (including Fusion & FreeCAD) - so this may not be a limitation in practice. For 3D Print users it has an integrated 3DP slicer, although I'm still using Cura at the moment and haven't explored SE Slicer's 3DP features.

What can Solid Edge do?

Well just about everything else ’CAD’ as far as I can tell (although I’m no expert). My other ME/SE user correspondent was previously a professional ‘Solid Works’ user and he is of the view that he can do everything with SE that he could do with SW. That sounds like it’s going to be more than sufficient for my needs.

I should also add that I have been a TurboCAD 2D user for over 20 years and it is taking a little 're-thinking' of my approach to drafting. It’s not quite as simple as just "going from 2D drawing to 3D drawing" – you need to understand constraints, relationships, synchronous versus ordered design etc. However, it is possible to use SE-CE in 2D mode by using SE ‘Draft’ documents – and this 2D capability might be a much easier way to get into SE than just jumping into full 3D design. The 2D 'sketching' tools are essentially the same as used in 3D, so only need be learned once.

Why isn’t Solid Edge more widely known/used?

Siemens were a bit slow in offering a full 3D product for free (only starting in early 2020) although they had a free 2D product and various ‘Trial’ products before then. Some 3D CAD products, like Fusion 360 and Alibre had their offers earlier and therefore established a large (hobbyist) user base much earlier too. Also FreeCAD is developing/improving quickly as the open source solution - although I do not think it is up to 'commercial' quality software yet. I tried Fusion but didn’t progress with it, partly because I didn’t like the Cloud element. SE-CE is exactly right for my needs. It’s totally installed on my PC (locally) and I keep my work stored locally too, so there are no 'cloud' dependencies on future Corporate policy changes.

If anyone is interested, I will follow this up with some advice on how to get started with Solid Edge (from my own experiences as a 3D CAD Noobie). Siemens has provided some excellent eLearning and product documentation but it does sometimes takes some finding.

I hope this has been useful to anyone still wondering which CAD product might best suit their modelling needs going forward. Happy to answer questions if I can - please remember I'm still learning myself.



Thread: Paint stripper
08/10/2021 10:13:18
Posted by Steviegtr on 07/10/2021 22:45:48:

I always used Nitromors paint stripper. Never failed , apart from with stove enamel.


Nitromors used to be my "goto" but it seems to have been watered down in recent years - doesn't seem as effective. Purely subjective but I changed to using Paint Panther a few years back.



07/10/2021 19:44:29

I've used 'Paint Panther' with some success on my machines - which have previously been painted in either enamel or Hammertite. I've also used (the much cheaper) 'No Nonsense' paint stripper from Screwfix. This does work but is slower in action and required more coats than Paint Panther. Both need some mechanical assistance (in parts) with wire wool or scraper. I think it also helps to clean any muck and grease off before using the stripper.

Gloves and googles of course and I normally wash the parts down with white spirit after stripping to get rid of any residues. You can probably use other washes ( hot soapy water?) but that's what I used.

Hope this helps.


Thread: Grinding tool bits
02/10/2021 10:13:25
Posted by Grindstone Cowboy on 02/10/2021 09:36:15:

Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 02/10/2021 09:30:05:

....I don't see any value in honing lathe tools. Am I right?


Well, from what little I know, and from personal experience, I've had better results with HSS when it's honed.


Like many things, it depends on what you are going to use the tool for and to some extent the size of work and material type. I use a diamond tangential tool for a fair bit on my ferrous work and have found no need to hone, apart to slightly round the tip for longevity. If I intended to use a tool for roughing, I wouldn't bother to hone then either.

But on the occasions I need a really sharp tool (fine finish, bronzes, smaller parts) then I certainly do hone and it's very easy and quick to do if you start by using the front of the grinding wheel and already have a concave face. Then you can simply hone the top edge (using the bottom as a guide) - you don't need to hone the entire face, just the cutting edge.

Here's a shaper finishing tool that has been honed (the bright edges) the 'grey' area has been ground on the front of the wheel and you can still see the grinding marks (the ground face only looks dull because of the angle I'm holding it at). The same principle can be applied to any single point cutting tool and the smaller the work or finer the finish required - the more often I do it.



Honed Edge

Thread: Fixture plate ideas
16/09/2021 15:09:15
Posted by Me. on 16/09/2021 11:52:38:
I did wonder why it wasn't recommended as the table is almost 1" thick - now I can see in the last picture the harrow table with 3 slots I can't see any reason why not to mill another slot in my table.

Not sure which photo you are referring to - but if it's the Atlas, there is only one T-slot but it has two 'V' grooves either side of it that are accurately machined (in effect built-in V blocks). Round material can be quickly clamped on these Vs for some machining operations. Might be another option for your table and possibly easier to cut too.



15/09/2021 18:47:45

I had a similar problem with my small Atlas MF - which also only has a single central bed 'slot'

Fortunately, I had a steel plate (from a die casting machine) that had some existing holes that I tapped & added too. It's normally attached by two special bolts that fit the open ended slots (pre-existing) you can see but in the photo I needed to set the ER32 collet block back a bit for the horizontal milling and I used two of the fixture 'holes' for the table t-nuts instead.

Here I was milling flats on a part held in the ER collet. I did originally purchase a slotted table for this purpose but it's been used elsewhere as this (longer) lump seems to do the work just fine. Mine is about 25mm thick but it could be half that without any issues I think. I haven't bothered to thin mine down as yet.

It's also very useful to make a clamping bar to match the plate holes!



PS The slitting saw in the second photo was being put on for another job when I took the photo to show the clamp bar etc from the previous work. This is a useful workshop diary/reminder - as my memory sometimes fails me. I sometimes find bits that I know I've made but cannot for the life of me remember why!

Digital photos really help me jog my memory these days! wink

Fixture Plate 1

Fixture Plate 2

Thread: Clockmaking on YouTube
12/09/2021 09:40:42

I enjoyed your video Tommy and also watched a few others too (liked the one about back-engineering a part using CAD). I do watch quite a lot of YouTube but I try to be selective - there is a lot very poor material on there.

But I do have my favourites (to which I subscribe) and you've now joined the list. Well done.



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