Did You Know? PTC Creo 3.0 Enhancements: Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing)

Written By: Aaron Shaw
  • 6/30/2015

Up until now, preparing a model for 3D printing typically involved a number of software tools to design, optimize, and validate the design.  But switching among tools can be inefficient, error-prone, and disconnected. That’s why PTC recently introduced new capabilities to support 3D printing within PTC Creo.

With the newly released PTC Creo 3.0 M040, you have a dedicated environment for preparing and checking models before sending them to be printed.

Here are some of the things you can do with these new capabilities:

View in printer tray. Specify the printer you want to use, and PTC Creo will display the appropriate platform below your model. How you position your model relative to the tray helps determine how and where support material (which will need to be physically removed later) is added to the model during manufacturing–more on that below.

3D model with printer tray represented.

Select materials and colors. For those using a Stratasys Connex printer, you can apply material and colors to each part of your assembly directly from PTC Creo.

Set the STL resolution. The software includes preset resolutions, including Course, Medium, or Fine. Or you can enter type in your own value. STL resolution is related to chord height and how the STL file is created. (Read a more detailed description in the online help.) STL resolution impacts the quality of your printed object, but note that it doesn’t affect the speed of 3D printing.

Position the model. As noted above, for 3D printing, position matters. If you use a Stratasys Connex printer, the system can automatically position your design. Otherwise, you can use a variety of draggers to optimize placement.

Display support material. If you’re using a Stratasys Connex printer, you can display and calculate the amount of material the printer is likely to use in the build process, including support materials (note, the support material shown is an estimate only).

3D model with estimated support material displayed.

Examine support material. The software includes a clipping feature, so you can see where support material is likely to touch your or find enclosed or nearly enclosed areas where it might be impossible or difficult to remove when needed.

Validate the printability of model. Check for thin walls and narrow gaps. Find an issue with the model? You can fix it in part or assembly mode.

Save as an STL model and print. Parts and assemblies saved as STL files then work as input to the software of the 3D printer. Most 3D printers use STL files as input.

Ready to give it a try? Find out more about using PTC Creo 3.0’s new 3D printing capabilities in this recently loaded a step-by-step How to on our PTC Community forum. And visit the Design for Additive Manufacturing page on PTC.com to find out what else is possible with PTC Creo.

  • CAD
  • Additive Manufacturing

About the Author

Aaron Shaw

Aaron Shaw joined PTC in 2013, currently he is the Senior Manager, CAD Demand Generation. He is responsible for the CAD marketing strategy and execution worldwide. He enjoys playing golf, eating spicy foods, reading, traveling, and rooting for all Boston teams. Aaron is a graduate of Penn State, you can follow him on Twitter @AaronEShaw.