Did You Know? Knurling on a Cylindrical Face
Written by: Aaron Shaw

Pick up an old pliers, a metal dumbbell, or a dart from your dartboard, and you’ll notice their handles have a similar texture. The process that creates the crisscross pattern cut in the metal is called knurling. It’s used on various handles, knobs, and thumbscrews where someone might need extra grip.


Tool with knurling on the surface (from Wikipedia)

How do you create knurled surfaces in the workshop? Watch the video below:

Curious about how to create that texture in a PTC Creo project? It’s all done with helical sweeps:

Why Helical Sweeps?

Helical, meaning spiral or helix-shaped, patterns are common in modeling—think springs or threads for example. Springs are essentially a cylinder in a helix shape, and threads are cylinders with a helical protrusion. Imagine trying to model any modern machine without these! In the PTC Creo environment, designers create all these forms using the Helical Sweep tool. You might already be familiar with Helical Sweep. If so, knurling patterns should be a breeze as you simply create a pattern of sweeps in both left and right directions.

Here are some tips before you try it yourself:

  • Some knurling patterns are better for grip, while others are more aesthetically pleasing. Finding that balance requires some experimentation. By making changes to the pitch, axis, and other attributes, you significantly alter the characteristics of the knurling. The Helical Sweep tool already includes these variables and more.
  • Speaking of experimenting with your design, this might be a good time to explore the PTC Creo Design Exploration Extension (DEX)—especially if you’ve arrived at more than one promising pattern. The extension provides design “checkpoints” for clicking between alternative variations of your models.

How It Works

PTC University has posted an online tutorial to show you how to create knurling. This introductory-level video takes you from the bare bones cylinder to the diamond-shaped etching. In fact, this tutorial does such a fine job of teaching helical sweeps and knurling that it’s become the most popular tutorial on the PTC University site.

While you’re learning the ins and outs of the Helical Sweeps feature, think about the ways you can implement this powerful tool for your own projects and reviews.

Ed- Did You Know? is a new series on the PTC Creo blog that describes useful applications and features with links to free demos and tutorials showing how to use them.

Tags: CAD
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.