Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

Update Heals – Automatically fixes update issues

topsolid-tips-and-tricksIn the world of parametric design, there is always the problem of fixing update problems.  For example, you go back to an earlier feature to make a change.  Then when you rebuild, you find that that change had caused update problems to other features.  Like a lot of software on the market, TopSolid will show you where the problem is.  And that’s helpful for sure.  But unlike all the other software on the market, TopSolid takes it a bit further with the Update Heals command.

The Update Heals command automatically tries to resolve update problems for you. It does it by simply remove items that are causing rebuild problems. In this video, you will be shown how the Update Heals command works and how to control it a bit.  After all, controls like this are really only useful if you really understand how to use them.

Sketcher: Constraint based sketch vs. sketch operations

topsolid-tips-and-tricksWhen working with a 3d solid modeling solution like TopSolid, it is very important that you understand how its sketcher functions.  Most 3d modeling solutions have one way to create and work with sketches.  And that one way is supposed to fit every need you have.

The Problem

The problem with that notion is that your needs change all of the time.  The way you define geometry within a sketch needs to be completely flexible.  What do I mean? Sometimes you may want to create a simple sketch, while other times you may want to create a really intelligent sketch. Perhaps you want to create a sketch that allows you to apply operations to it that really allow you to capture your design intent more cleanly.  Thankfully for you, you use TopSolid and have the freedom to do both.

Understanding a sketcher

Let’s start by understanding what a sketcher is first.  A sketcher allows you to create wire-frame based geometry. In TopSolid there is a 2d Sketcher and a 3d Sketcher. For this discussion, we will be focusing on the 2d sketcher.

Different types of TopSolid sketcher constraints A 2d sketcher allows you to create wire-frame on a specific plane. The sketcher environment at the solving level, allows you to define the sketch using dimensional relationships as well as geometric relationships.  These are known as constraints.  In the image to the right, you will see a sample of a constrained sketch.  This image shows both dimensional and geometric constraints. Continue reading Sketcher: Constraint based sketch vs. sketch operations

Engineering changes are easy with TopSolid

Let’s face it, change happens. It happens in all aspects of our lives from work to play. And change is good too…isn’t it? Well?

In the engineering and manufacturing world change happens often. What’s more these changes are never supposed to delay delivery times. Right…

Probably one of the biggest challenges in manufacturing is the infamous revision. Let’s paint a picture.

You are a manufacturer. You use product X to machine parts with.

Your customer uses product Y to engineer their products with. They send you data in a neutral way so that you can read it into your product of choice.

Now the fun happens. You begin designing and programming up your customers part. Life is good. You figure out a way to get to your finish line a day early. Life is great! You begin running first off’s of your project to prove out the program. You check your work. Only minor tweaks needed. Life is Fantastic!!!

The phone rings…

It’s your customer. They found a mistake in their project and have just emailed you an updated file with the corrections.

Your world shatters…just a little bit.


Because now you effectively have to completely start over with everything. But you tell yourself how much faster you will do it the second time around. So you have that going for you.

Why do you need to start over? That’s simple. The product that you work with, while it may be very widely used, was never written to allow changes like this to happen. Because of this business critical limitation in your solution, you get to basically throw away a lot of hard work.

Now, I know that some will say that I am making a big deal out of this. And I say they are correct! I know that every software has their ways to help you try and reuse portions of the original work. But it is always just portions.

What if there was a better way?

TopSolid is that better way. TopSolid is written with the focus on manufacturing and how it actually happens. TopSolid is written to work with you…not against you.

In the video below, we walk you through such a scenario. My part is fully programmed and my customer sends me a revision. So what’s different?

What’s different is that TopSolid does all of the heavy lifting for you. What’s different is this is basically automatic. What’s different is you are back up and running your part within a few minutes, design changes included. What’s different is that your world may not have to shatter slightly each time your customer sends you a revision.

And do you want to know the best part? This works with any data from and cad platform on the market. It works with native data (SolidWorks, SolidEdge, Catia…). It works with neutral data (Parasolid, Step, Igs, Acis…).

Watch the video. Tell me what you think. From my standpoint there is a better way to work.

That way is to work with TopSolid.


Analysis Only Mode – Why it’s important

When working with a PDM based solution such as TopSolid, you will need to learn a few new ways to work. For example, you may want to have users around your company have access to opening TopSolid files, creating some sketches for measurement sake, maybe hide some assembly items and more!  But you want them to be able to do all of this without affecting the current revision of the model or affecting those engineers that are currently working on that model or assembly.  This is why we have created a special mode called Analysis Only Mode.  In this mode all of that is possible. What’s more, it’s really easy to use.

This special mode is extremely important to understand how to use as it allows your non-typical users to access critical data from TopSolid, but forbids them from doing anything to that data that could cause problems.  The video below shows how it works…

Check, Clean & Simplify imported geometry in TopSolid 7

In this getting started tutorial, you will be introduced to the Check, Clean and Simplify commands within TopSolid 7. Check will automatically check the integrity of your geometry. If it finds bad data, it will isolate it and make you aware of it so you can correct the problem. Clean is another automatic tool. This tool will attempt to automatically clean bad geometry such as bow-tied surfaces or surfaces with bad trimming boundaries. Finally you will be shown the Simplify command. This command will measure the geometry and if needed convert it back to simple forms of geometry such as planes, conics, cylinders, spheres and so on.

Render Studio for TopSolid 7

If you are using TopSolid’Image and want to easily and quickly create nice renders without having to setup a “scene” everytime, you can download this “Render Studio” by SAG.

Assign material or coatings to walls and floors if you like.

As seen in the video below you can adjust the size of floors and walls by dragging circles and points. You can also change the position of the camera and lights by dragging their positioning points.

There is also a centered Frame for easy positioning of you part/assembly which you can the rotate around the Z axis to your desired position. It doesn´t get any easier than this now does it?  😉

You can download the rendering studio for free here.


Using “Frames” in TopSolid 7

Ever wondered what Frames are all about in TopSolid 7? If you are a V6 user, you know them as “Coordinate Systems” and that´s  basically what they are.
Below are a few videos that may help you understand more about frames, what they are and how to use them!

More videos about Frames after the break

Continue reading Using “Frames” in TopSolid 7

2D Kinematics in TopSolid 7

3D cad changed the way we work forever. And sure, it´s awesome and has all kinds of advantages. But sometimes you just want a simple sketch, maybe to present a proof of concept.
TopSolid 7 offers the ability to create a mechanism by defining the kinematics of the objects included in an assembly. These kinematics can be also be applied to a simple 2D sketch.
To see how, check out the video below:

The powers of the right mouse button!

The right mouse button is very useful. It offers a menu which is generally used as a shortcut for commands that you could otherwise reach from other places inside TopSolid.
The cool thing about it is that it´s context dependent, meaning that if you right click on a face you will get options that are likely for whatever you click on. Alot of users don’t take full advantage of this. Try to use it more, it will save your arm and hand considerably.

This sure is one of those things that makes for a more efficient workflow but to what extent can you actually use this menu? I decided to try to design a part using nothing but the contextual menu, just for fun.
I think it went pretty well, check out the video below and judge for yourself: