It’s never too early to start using Solid Edge

At 21, Levi Zima is a digital native. And because he started using Solid Edge when he was seven, he counts as a Solid Edge native too. Today Zima is still using the software – together with PADS Professional – for projects he’s been working on alongside his volunteering activities and his engineering studies at the University of Central Florida, USA.

Fair, Nov 8 - Nov 10

SPS 2022

Make it real! Become a Digital Enterprise. We'll show you how at SPS 2022 from November 8th - 10th!

Technology innovations, best-in-class automation solutions, impressive exhibits and great networking opportunities are waiting for you! Meet us there and learn how to accelerate your digital transformation.

How does a kid become a Solid Edge native? Growing up the son of an engineer helps. At just five years of age, Zima was already soldering circuit boards. At seven came CAD modeling with Solid Edge. “Siemens software is relatively easy to learn thanks to in-depth tutorials. By the time I was 15, I had completed all 32 Solid Edge tutorials,” he recalls. That was in addition to learning plastic injection molding, which he started when he was 12. By 16, he was running a manufacturing production line at his father’s company, RF Laboratories.

Siemens software is relatively easy to learn thanks to in-depth tutorials. By the time I was 15, I had completed all 32 Solid Edge tutorials.
Levi Zima, student engineer and Siemens software enthusiast

The Xcelerator portfolio – for engineers from all sectors

“The fact that Levi Zima had Solid Edge figured out so early doesn’t mean it’s kids play,” says Dan Staples, Vice President R&D, Mainstream Engineering at Siemens. The software is part of the Xcelerator portfolio from Siemens. Solid Edge and other Siemens software are valued among engineers from all industry sectors. 

However, it’s never too early to start designing with Solid Edge CAD software. For young people like Levi Zima, Siemens offers the free Solid Edge Student Edition. And there’s also the Solid Edge for Startups program to make the portfolio accessible for up-and-coming companies.

Commitment to saving and protecting life

A common theme for all of Levi Zima’s projects has been on saving lives. His first endeavor with his father’s company at 16 was Poolguard. It senses if anything larger than a soccer ball falls in the swimming pool and wirelessly activates an alarm in the user’s house. Particularly for families with children, Poolguard can be a literal lifesaver.

Levi Zima’s most recent project, Little Feet, also aims at keeping kids safe. Little Feet is connected to a lawn mower. If a child comes within 20 feet, the mower shuts off automatically. “In the United States the number one leading cause of child amputations is lawn mowers. This product is designed to prevent that,” explains Levi Zima.

Easy transfers from one software to another

For designing Little Feet, the process was made easier because of how Siemens software solutions can be used together. Levi Zima worked with PADS Professional to plan the electrical circuits. He then created 3D models of the circuits and exported them into Solid Edge, where the entire product is assembled to see if all the parts fit together properly. Levi Zima can ensure that everything will function as intended before any physical products are fabricated.


The process was similar for inView, another one of Levi Zima’s projects. Here, lights built into a motorcycle helmet wirelessly connect to a motorcycle’s taillights. The taillights and lights on the helmet are activated simultaneously to increase rider visibility and safety.

“My favorite CAD software”

One of the biggest selling points for Siemens software is compatibility between the different programs, Levi Zima says. “Being able to easily connect the electrical and mechanical parts of a project is crucial in my field,” he adds.


This good experience has made Levi Zima an ambassador for Siemens: “I have been recommending many mechanical engineering students to try Solid Edge Student Edition to see how they like the interface, since it’s my favorite CAD software.”

Full circle: Fostering the next generation of Solid Edge natives

Between his coursework and projects, Levi Zima manages to find time to help young people discover engineering through volunteering at KidVenture. Part of the annual Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture convention in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA, the program’s goal is to give kids early aviation inspiration. Levi Zima focuses on building a small AM radio receiver to teach young people about the basics of radio. 

Siemens is currently working with Levi Zima and the EAA AirVenture Museum – which houses a collection of over 200 historic planes – to develop a section where kids can be introduced to Solid Edge and other Siemens software. Levi Zima: “A possible curriculum could involve the radio receiver kit. Kids would see the circuits in the student edition of PADS Professional, view it and create portions of it in Solid Edge and then build the kit. This would introduce the children to the entire design process that engineers and technicians go through every day.”


It’s Solid Edge natives in the making.

May 2021

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay up to date at all times: everything you need to know about electrification, automation, and digitalization.