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Having superstitiously skipped release thirteen, Solid Edge continues its journey from early releases aimed at machine builders through electro-mechanical products including sheet metal to now offer in version 14 tools suitable for the organic forms demanded in consumer products.
Both modeller continuity and freeform credentials have been emphasised by the reappointment of Dan Staples who was instrumental in defining the original version, back into the role of director of the Solid Edge business unit having been vice president of software development of digital sculpting products at SensAble Technologies.
Solid Edge has always been notable for guiding the user through commands as part of the Stream technology.
This has been enhanced in Stream/XP with updated icons that differentiate Smart Step buttons from commands, context dependant tool bar items and by grouping all important information including Smart Step buttons, prompts and edge bar (history tree) tabs in the top left corner of the graphics area where the eye is most frequently focussed.
A raft of new shape creation tools are available under the banner of Rapid Blue.
Shapes can be defined using predictable analytical entities such as lines, arcs, circles and ellipses then be readily converted to a closely fitting, fully editable Bspline curve in order to create higher quality surfaces.
Control points can now be constrained such as tangent to other entities and be analysed with a comb display showing curvature and inflection points.
By assigning the shape preserving option to curves it is possible to retain the overall design intent during subsequent editing by effectively editing the entire curve rather than having a purely local influence.
Blue Dots can be used to force non-intersecting curves together at the dot location by altering the curves.
If they have shape preservation applied the overall curve will update, if not the change will be local.