Why can’t we all just get along? Trading files back and forth is an issue that plagues engineers often. However there are some things that can alleviate the problem. Take exchanging Pro/ENGINEER parts and assemblies with SolidWorks. This works relatively well with the robust feature sets that SolidWorks offers for either handling the Pro/ENGINEER features natively as well as handling edits with explicit face manipulation.
First, let’s look at the issue of viewing Pro/ENGINEER files. SolidWorks eDrawings software, a free download, allows users to view native SolidWorks, DWG/DXF and Pro/ENGINEER parts and assemblies. If you have the eDrawings Professional package, you can also measure and markup these files, and send them to your colleagues, customers or vendors to review and markup as well. Finally, you can also download eDrawings Publisher plugins for a variety of other CAD programs, like Pro/ENGINEER so save parts, assemblies and drawings to the eDrawing file format. This publisher also works with PTC’s OneSpace Explicit modeling package (The old ME30) as well as many other CAD programs.
Once we have viewed the file in eDrawings, we can then open the file in SolidWorks for editing. SolidWorks can open the most current versions of Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire and for the latest specifics, I would encourage you to take a look the online SolidWorks help for Assembly import and Part Import. In the video embedded below, I run through several options of importing and exporting Pro/ENGINEER files with SolidWorks.
In the first part of the video, we open the Pro/E assembly in eDrawings Professional, and mark it up to indicate a design change is needed. In this case we need to change the length of the link on a toggle clamp. Once this is identified, we open the Pro/E assembly in SolidWorks. We are presented with a dialog box asking us how we want to import the assembly.
For an assembly we either have the choice of bringing in the part’s feature history or to use the BREP (boundary representation) of the parts. I choose the BREP as it is the most reliable and will bring in the most accurate representation of the solid model into SolidWorks. Plus, I get the opportunity to import mates (constraints in Pro/E). If you use the feature import, this is not a capability, however, you can import a part later with features and then replace that new part in an assembly that you have already imported.
In the following image, you will notice that the assembly comes in with all mates and material properties. Without even doing anything, it looks great. I am using SolidWorks 2011 and turned on the integrated PhotoView 360 preview and it looks fantastic, see below:
Here you can examine the mates and dynamically move the clamp as you would expect to to move. You can even turn on dynamic collision detection to see what the true range of motion is. Now we need to make the design change lengthen the link. Simply click on one of the links and choose “Edit Part” which allows you to change the part inside of the assembly model. Since I imported the part with no features, I will use the “Direct Editing” tools to lengthen the link. After making the direct edits to the link, and then testing the dynamic motion again I notice my range of motion is now limited and I need to change the clamp-base component, so I employ the direct edition tools again.
I should also note, that you can save out a versioned Pro/E assembly after you make your changes in SolidWorks, to share with other Pro/E users. Check out the video below for a full run-through and please add comments on your experience with this!