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Solid Edge is a hybrid 2D/3D parametric design system developed by Siemens. Main features include product, sheet metal and assembly modeling as well as drafting.

NX is a suite of integrated CAD, CAM, CAE and PDM applications which aids in the entire product development process starting from conception to manufacturing.

WHO IS IT MADE FOR? Solid Edge and NX are both oriented for all varieties of designers as both programs offer a dizzying array of options for designing and manufacturing. Competition is Solid Works and Inventor.

WHAT MAKES NX UNIQUE? NX offers a host of options for designers. Included in NX is the option for: Industrial design and styling Package design Mechanical design Electromechanical design Mechanical simulation Electromechanical simulation Tooling and fixture design Machining



Curve-based design capabilities allow designers to create style and shapes using splines and sketches. Surfacing tools offer the possibility to create different surface types and combine curve-based surfacing, pole editing and sweeping into a single workflow. NX can also generate a CAD model from a scanned physical object by mapping surfaces and curves to a polygon mesh.

NX allows easy shape editing and production surfacing capabilities. The possibility to scan in physical objects, like clay or foam models allows one to generate a CAD model by mapping surfaces and curves to a polygon mesh. NX allows posses tools to analyze stress/crush, mold-fill and manufacturability testing.



NX allows you to combine feature-based parametric and history-free modeling in the same design. NX allows one to modify design geometry initially created on other CAD systems or by other modeling techniques without re-creating the data.

NX facilitates two-way data exchange between MCAD and ECAD domains and offers specialized functions to make the electromechanical design easier, such as sheet metal, industrial and flexible printed circuit board design.



NX’s easy to use geometry based simulations allow rapid feedback from NX’s synchronous technology which enables CAE users to quickly make geometry changes.

Bi-directional data exchange with EDA design system prevents manual errors and miscommunication. Fluid domain creation is much faster with NX design freedom tools. Because the NX fluid domain is fully associative with NX CAD data, the fluid domain is automatically updated after every design change.



NX expands tier 1 with CAM integration and electrode design capabilities that enable tool designs to work seamlessly with manufacturing engineers and NC programmers. NX also automates and optimizes your mold, progressive die, stamping die and fixture design process.

NX supports the newest generation of multi-function machine tools such as multi-channel milling, drilling and turning capabilities for simultaneous 5-axis support. NX allows a wide range of flexible 5-axis machining with many tool axis control options. You can also embed product manufacturing information (PMI) in an NX 3D model to drive your machining process decisions.


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2D to 3D- Allows you to begin with 2D sketches or import images of your project and quickly create 3D models. Synchronous technology (parametric modeling) Parametric relationships can be applied directly to a model in 3D. This means you do not have to redraw everything in 2D and then apply relationships. In the illustration on the right, the blue dimensions are the driving dimensions and the red dimensions are the driven dimensions. This means that when the blue dimensions are adjusted the red ones adjust according to the formula which is established. Sheet metal operation is fast and easy to learn and use.

COMPATIBILITY One key benefit of Solid Edge is that it allows AutoCAD users the ability to import AutoCAD DWG data and interact with it in a familiar manner. When you open a DWG file in Solid Edge, you are presented with a number of options which allow you to work with the data in a way that will be immediately familiar to any AutoCAD user. You can use display options (such as white text, black background), select layers for importing, line mapping, etc. Moreover, there is even a special help menu just for users of AutoCAD.

This is where you can select to open up a previously made model

This is where you select which type of model you would like, for example: part model, sheet metal, assembly

This is where you can select from a number of tutorials.

This is the location of all of the options as well as offering drop down menus This is where you can manage the layers of your model and view model playback

This is the location of all of the tools

This is the workspace. Once you select which axis you would like to work on, the workspace readjusts to a head-on view of the chosen plane.

IMPORT IMAGE To import an image to use as a template for drawing over you can simply go to the sketch button and select it. Once you pick which axis you would like to begin drawing on you go to Insert, then Image.

SIMPLE VOLUME To create a basic volume: To begin, you must select which reference plan you would like to work in. Once that is selected you can then select which shape you would like to draw.

Now simply extrude the volume in whichever direction you like to whatever value you want.

PARAMETRIC MODELING Here is an introduction to basic parametric modeling using Solid Edge. Simply begin by drawing the shape you would like. If the distances are not equal, don’t worry. This can be fixed through a formula.

After you draw your shape, you can set up direct relationships between the parts. If you right click then you go to Edit Formula to input your formulas.

Type in your formula. The model will automatically update to your formula. From now on, whenever you change the base radius (the driving dimension), the half radius (the driven dimension) will automatically update to maintain the mathematical relationship that you set up.

Updated model! Under Tool, go to Variables, then Variables

Now the Variable Table appears. On this table all of the components are broken down with their name and value. From now on, whenever you change the base radius (the driving dimension), the half radius (the driven dimension) will automatically update to maintain the mathematical relationship that you set up.

SHEET METAL A cornerstone on Solid Edge’s attractiveness is its sheet metal modeling. With Solid Edge you can create deformation features for stiffing sheet metal bends. You can create rolled and circular hems to remove sharp edges from sheet metal components or use contour flanges that follow curved edges. ( Streamlined modeling commands allows you to create tabs, flanges, simples, cutouts, mitered corners, corner breaks and other sheet metal specific part features. Automated placement of bend relief, bend allowance calculations means components can be designed ready for manufacturing.

SHEET METAL CREATION To be begin to construct a sheet metal part, you can select the contour flange. This is illustrated on the top picture. After you select which plane you would like to draw on and draw your image, you must hit return in the upper left corner. This is shown in the bottom picture.

You then select in which direction you would like to design in. You can enter in a distance or just drag it and then manually enter a distance later. The bottom picture illustrates what it will look like after.

If you would like to then unbend the sheet metal part you must select the unbend button. Once this is selected you must select which face of the model you would like to remain stationary.

Next you select the part of the model you would like to bend around. Once you select this you must click the green check mark on the top tool bar as shown in the bottom picture.

Voila. All you have to do is select the preview button. If the result is what you wanted. You can click return and go back to the main workspace. If not, you can click undo or re-bend.



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Nice tutorials Synchronous technology (parametric modeling) can be learned and applied quickly Help menu is very thorough Sheet metal function can be very helpful for understanding the actual construction of something

Can not create your own patterns for use Different building strategy than other 3D software that is quite difficult to get the hang of No options for paneling and patterning like Rhino Grasshopper

OWN JUDGEMENT After having used this software to try an create architectural models I have realized that it is quite different and sometimes much more difficult to create them using Solid Edge than say Rhino or Sketchup. Personally, I would prefer to use the more intuitive Sketchup to create future models.

APPENDIX NX Overview Siemens PLM Software NX 7.0 Solid Edge

Solid Edge  

Solid Edge, student work

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