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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: Solid Edge - Community Edition
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.



Thread: 2D and 3D Cad Software Recommendations
12/09/2021 09:33:49
Posted by Rod Ashton on 12/09/2021 06:10:49:

The 3d surfacing (spline to spline loft) transferred to Estlcam without any hesitation and produced the gcode for both PLanetCNC and Mach3.

I'm delighted to hear this Rod, as (one day) I may need to do something similar.

At the moment though, I'm just happy SE is meeting my (much more) basic CAD requirements.

I was also very happy to hear that your recent 'Community' download includes the 2021 Solid Edge upgrades. I'm still using the 2020 version (which I downloaded last May) but will certainly get around to installing the latest 2021 version before too long.

Great news - very encouraging!



Edited By IanT on 12/09/2021 09:34:55

Thread: solid edge community edition woes
10/09/2021 14:15:05

Just thinking about "3D CAD is too hard" - "Very high barriers to Entry" etc...

Well, like anything else it needs to be taken in small steps. I did the e-learning tutorials provided with SE Community and then started looking at YouTube (as you do - at least I do).

As usual, this varied vastly in content and quality. Some YTs were very poor or rushed through the material at a rate of knots. Some covered material that was way above my head (or needs) and far too advanced. Then I found Dr Mohamed Seif. He lectures in Engineering at a University in Alabama and I suspect the material was originally prepared for his students. Couple of caveats - he's not a CAD Professional, he's a University lecturer - so I'm sure the CAD Pro's will find fault in some of his methods but it suits me very well.

His pace is right for me, he has a clear structure to his material, starting with the simple basics and progressing to more complex subjects. I have found his videos very helpful (I've gone back and watched some several times over). I also kind of like the fact that he makes the odd mistake - which I found somewhat reassuring...

Here's his Introduction to Solid Edge video...

Introduction to Solid Edge - Dr Mohamed Seif



10/09/2021 13:49:14


When you first install Solid Edge, it does ask you what kind of UI you would like - I went for the default "Balanced" rather than the simpler get-you-going themes. Likewise, 'Synchronous' is the default methodology in SE. There are real differences between the two - the key thing being that you can switch to either. Have a look at this (2003) article about the differences between the two...

Ordered vs Synchronous - Solid Edge

These are the key advantages (pro's) of Synchronous Tech in SE as cited by the Author:

  • Rapid, flexible design tools.
  • The designer does not have to predict how the model will change in the future.
  • A history-free approach allows for instantaneous model changes while editing the model.
  • The sketch does not drive the model. The dimensions are migrated to the model and directly drive the model at the 3D level.
  • Rapid edit tools and handles allow the designer to edit the model without having to understand how it was originally modelled.
  • Designers can edit a part file or group of parts from the assembly level, without having to edit into each part.
  • They can also edit models from any CAD system as easily as editing Solid Edge models.
  • Model can be constrained at the 3D level, but it’s not really necessary.
  • Models are lighter and, therefore, open and save faster than in the ordered paradigm.
  • Legacy ordered models can be converted to synchronous models.
  • Although a different approach to modelling, it shares many similarities with the ordered paradigm. Thus, it’s easier to learn for existing Solid Edge users.

There are instances where 'Ordered' is required but I'm a long way off 'lofts' and any such like in my Synch is what I use.



PS - Going back to this link earlier - I spotted the "Immersive Reader" option in my Browser - so clicked it. Wonderful, it gets rid of all the carp - will get used a lot in future. 

Edited By IanT on 10/09/2021 13:52:39

10/09/2021 12:10:07

Nicholas, my advice would be not to just try and jump into any 3D CAD package - and there is a lot of help available to get you started with Solid Edge !

So before you try anything else, click the 'SE' icon (top L/H corner) and then the first option on the list - 'Learn'

You will then see things like quick reference guides - but I'd suggest you try the 'Recommended Learning Paths' and select the one which seems most appropriate to your existing skills. I has some 2D experience but selected 'New to CAD'. This will take you through a structured learning process, which includes some very good e-Learning.

Within a few evenings I was drawing 3D Micrometers with animated moving parts. Didn't make me an instant expert but it did give me some confidence and an appreciation of what was possible with SE.

You probably wouldn't jump into a car and try driving off without some lessons - I'm afraid 3D CAD is the same.



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