Solid Edge Toolbar Compared To Solidworks

I recently had the chance to review Solid Edge ST5 in order to compare it to Solidworks. Most of my experience is with Solidworks, as evidenced by the majority of the posts on this site, but I appreicated the opportunity to dabble in a new system. Over at CADDigest there area series of posts reviewing the software  as well. For the rest of the series of comparisons check the Solid Edge main page here on 3D Engr

The tool bar in SolidEdge looks very similar to Solidworks.  Except for the top title bar that says Solid Edge ST5 it would be easy to confuse the two programs at initial open, see the Solid Edge standard tool bar in Figure 1. Many of the sketching and modeling commands have industry standard icons and with some customization of the toolbar it is possible to get everything laid out in a nearly identical manner. If using the “Ordered” modeling style, which relies on an ordered historical feature tree to build up a part, an experienced Solidworks user should be able to model many basic parts and assemblies with a minimal learning curve. That is not to say everything is the same though, and even on the menu bar it took a few minutes to find some things.

Figure 1 – Solid Edge Tool Bar

Solid Edge Viewer for the iPad

Sometime during every design review it is necessary to send a CAD file to someone who may not be an everyday CAD user. When this happens it is important to have an easy way to view a file without having to buy multiple seats of an expensive software. Solidworks has their eDrawings viewer, reviewed previously, that works very well. Siemens Solid Edge also has an iPad app for viewing native files. Recently, after reviewing Solid Edge ST 5 extensively, I downloaded the viewer to see how it stacks up.

Solid Edge Synchronous Technology

Transitioning to and learning a new software system is intimidating, so when I was asked to compare my experience with Solidworks to Solid Edge ST5 I was expecting a steep learning curve. In the past 7 years I have been exposed to Solidworks in a variety of capacities; as a university student, new employee, administrator, and a hobbyist writing tutorials and articles. Add it all up and it’s a lot of hours spent learning a system, thankfully the CADDigest guys, who sponsored the review, knew this and in order to get a more in depth comparison we organized a training session with three Siemens employees. Solid Edge and Solidworks offer many very similar features. This should come as no surprise given that they are built on the same kernel and have been competing head to head for a number of years. With a few days training and some poking around I quickly became comfortable working in a new system.

After the training session I was left with a few months on the demo license. I spent some time reviewing the program more in depth. The first in a five part series of is posted at More in depth detail is covered here in a series of posts.

Check out the mobile viewer review

Read a comparision of the Solid Edge tool bar

Check out a complete list of Solid Edge labeled posts.

The Recent Acquisitions of 3DS (DDD)

Acquisitions are a great way to grow an organization, especially if the acquired companies can be leveraged to support core products. With nearly three dozen acquisitions in 3 years, 3DS is no stranger to acquisitions. All of this growth, which has been a huge benefit to their stock price, has come with a bit of hesitation from a handful of outside observers. Since there is no sign of slowing down (they recently announced the acquisition of GeoMagic) it seemed prudent to look into some of the companies they were snatching up.  

Getting some background information about 3DS’s strategy was easier than I expected. Abe Reichental, CEO of 3DS recently led a conference call to address accusations from the press. Specifically there were articles posted calling into question the method 3DS used in reporting growth. The transcript of the call and a presentation supporting the material are available and I figured it was worth a read. The primary focus was on how 3DS reported acquisition growth; CFO Damon Gregoire stepped in to explain the organic growth 3DS has seen and specifically address the allegations that the company was reporting acquisition growth as organic. Interestingly though the conversation lays out the broad strategy 3DS has employed for their acquisitions, and what they are planning in order to deliver continued growth. There are a number of interesting take aways and one of the primary slides does a great job of summarizing the plan.

Recently I have been looking more and more at the infrastructure that companies are building in order to deliver 3D printing to a broader customer base. 3DS has also bucketed this consumer presence with the 5 acquisitions they have made toward their goal “Build Consumer Presence”. Notably none of these consumer presence companies were acquired for their revenue. Certainly 3DS is not acquiring them with the goal to lose money but the “Technology” reason to buy them also seems a bit thin especially considering the scope of the existing tech from each.

iPad App Flipboard and 3DEngr

When my computer crashed a few months ago it took me three weeks to replace. Not because of the lead time on a new machine, but instead because I was not sure I needed a desktop or laptop for personal use considering how much I use a tablet and phone. In the end the handful of tasks for which I use a laptop made me get a new one but I realized how my actions have changed based on smart devices and a tablet.

One of the primary things I use the iPad for is consuming news. I have no newspaper subscriptions but enjoy keeping up to date on daily happenings and for me the "Killer App" is Flipboard. The user interface and ease of use make Flipboard the easiest way to consume publications. And the great part about it is that anything with an RSS feed can be read on it, which means 3DEngr is on Flipboard.
Above is what 3DEngr looks like on an iPad when using Flipboard. Notice the layout of the title and image, both of which are a part of the RSS feed but I did not have to do anything to optimize the layout. Therein lies the App's power, to create a great interface automatically for any RSS feed.

To get 3DEngr on Flipboard just click the +Add button in the top left and type in 3DEngr:

If you are one of the subscribers to this blog and you happen to see this in Flipboard please leave a message and let me know what other killer apps you prefer.

Glossary of Terms 3DEngr


Additive Manufacturing - The process of adding material in order to create a product. Many 3D printers use additive manufacturing to add layers to create a final part




Consumer Products


DMLS - Direct Metal Laser Sintering



Fused Deposition Modeling



HTML - Hypertext markup language.






Molding -
Modeling - The act of creating a three dimensional item, either physically or digitally.







SLS - Selective layer sintering

STL (.STL) - File type made of meshed surfaces and useable in many 3D printers and additive manufacturing machines.








2013: The Year Of The 3D Printer

Hopefully 2013 will be a breakthrough year in technology and with any luck 3D printing will be one of the things to break through. It is already well on it's way, GigaOm wrote about a development at Ford Motors where 3D printers are starting to show up on many engineer's desks, 3D printer's are appearing as office supplies in Staples, and searches for the term (not to mention related stocks) are on the rise.

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