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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tip of the Week October 24

NX Tip of the Week

October 24, 2014
NX 8.5 and NX 9.0 - Sketch Constraint Tips and Tricks

In this week's tip, we are going to take a look at how to apply constraints to a sketch in NX 8.5/9.0. Starting in NX 8.5 a new look sketch constraint tool was introduced. When clicking the new sketch constraint command, it requires you to select the desired geometric constraint first then define the geometry. In prior versions, you selected the desired geometry and the available inferred constraints would only be displayed. A new floating toolbar called the shortcut toolbar can help us achieve this behavior without even going into the sketch constraints command.

Before we dive into that workflow, let's investigate how the new Geometric Constraints command works.
1) Click on the Geometric Constraints Tool:

2) When you first go into the command, the dialog below is presented (NX 9).  This tells us that there are other methods to apply constraints and this dialog is helpful when doing multiple items in one session of the constraint type. One that is mentioned is the shortcut toolbar which we will investigate later:

3) Notice we are prompted to select the constraint type first, then the geometry:

4) If you are doing a one-to-one constraint, you will need to advance the dialog. This means I'm picking one item in my first step to constrain and one item in the second step to constrain to.

        a. For example, I want to create a midpoint constraint to make my rectangle symmetric.  I'm going to select the midpoint constraint first:

       b. Then I will select the left vertical line for the "Select Object to Constrain" step:

        c. I need to select the "Select Object to Constrain to" to make active.  I need to advance the dialog. If you are constraining one object to one object, you might forget to advance the dialog (remember middle mouse button will also advance the dialog onto the next step).  I will select the origin for the second select set:

d. The constraint is now applied.

e. Now let's do the other midpoint constraint.  Notice the option "Automatic Selection Progression". This will automatically advance the dialog for us after the first selection is made.  Let's turn on this option.  In NX 8.5, this option is under the "Settings" group:

            f. I will select the top horizontal line for the "Select Object to Constrain" step:

         g. Notice the dialog is automatically advanced to the "Select Object to Constrain to" step: 

h. I will now select the origin. The constraint is now placed.

5) The purpose of the previous steps was to show the natural interaction with the Geometric Constraints dialog when constraining sketches.  Keep in mind you need to advance the dialog or turn on the "Automatic Selection Progression".  If you need to select multiple items in the "Select Object to Constrain" step, you will want to turn off "Automatic Selection Progression".

Now we are going to look at the inferred Geometric Constraints workflow by interacting with the shortcut toolbar.  With this method, we will not even go into the Geometric Constraints command.

1) I'm going to create the same midpoint constraint as I did earlier.  

2) This time just select the left vertical line.  Notice a floating toolbar called the shortcut toolbar comes up. To the left of the divider, you see typical right click menu commands.  To the right of the divider you see possible geometric constraints that were inferred based on the geometry type (line/arc) and that only one item was selected.  I'm not going to select anything from the shortcut toolbar yet:

3) Now I'm going to select the origin.  Notice the shortcut toolbar changes the available geometric constraints because I have 2 items selected.  Different constraints are inferred similar to what we did prior to NX 8.5.  Here I'm going to select the midpoint constraint: 

4) The shortcut toolbar is dismissed and the midpoint constraint is applied:

5) In this example, we just selected the desired geometry for the constraints and the proper constraint is inferred and presented in the floating toolbar.  We didn't use the Geometric Constraints command.

That concludes this week's Ally PLM Tip and Trick.  We looked at the natural progression of using the Geometric Constraints dialog as well as the option to automatically advance the dialog.  We also looked at using the floating shortcut toolbar to apply geometric constraints. 

Brandon Carter
Senior Application Engineer
Ally PLM Solutions, Inc.
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