[Demo] Faster Design Changes with Generative Design

Written By: Cat McClintock
  • 12/2/2019
  • Read Time : 4 min
Rendering of a generative design.

You may already know that generative design is a technology that autonomously creates 3D CAD models of specific parts or products. You just set up your requirements, such as size, material, or weight, and the system suggests multiple alternatives that meet those requirements.

But what happens when the design changes?

In a presentation titled “With Generative Design, the Way You Design Will Never Be the Same Again,” Jesse Blankenship, Technology Senior Vice President at PTC, showed attendees just what to expect when specs change.

Converging on Design Options

"Generative design is an exciting technology that is going to change the way we engineer in really positive ways,” says Blankenship.

For example, during the presentation, he showed three examples of a single steel crimper assembly, each suggested using generative design. (Watch the entire presentation here. Registration may be required.) Two of the designs were unconstrained and one was specifically designed for machining.

As you might expect, the two unconstrained models took on organic shapes (these you might fabricate with additive manufacturing), while the machined object appeared more conventional.

“The machined part looks like something I might have designed by hand,” said Blankenship. “But I haven’t modeled it myself. AI (artificial intelligence) has done it for me. It’s now up to me to decide which is the best one for my design.”

It doesn’t take long to see how the technology can compress design cycles and lead to differentiated, competitive designs.


Excerpt from The Generative Era of CAD. Full video available at Liveworx.com/archive.

The video provides a good example of how generative design leads to better designs faster. A part’s requirements have changed, and a feature must be moved. “If something changes, so does the generative model,” says Blankenship. “And it still satisfies your requirements.”

Sure enough, when Blankenship moves a feature, the model regenerates, adjusting the new geometry requirements. But before it’s finished, Blankenship adds a new design constraint—specifically he indicates that the design should be for casting.

To do that, he simply opens a dialog and types in a draft angle and direction. We then watch as the system updates with no further interaction. In less than a minute, the system converges on a design with our desired draft angle and parting line.

It’s really that simple. Generative design is a leap forward in both design productivity and innovation. And because it can take into account constraints like manufacturing and materials, it assures costs remain manageable.

Generative design is ushering in a new era of product design, one in which engineers spend less time focused on the mundane work of iterating design changes, and more time on engineering new products. To learn more about what’s happening in product design, download the e-book An Engineer’s Guide to CAD and the Renaissance of Product Design.

Download the eBook: An Engineer's Guide to CAD and the Renaissance of Product Design

  • CAD
  • Retail and Consumer Products
  • Connected Devices
  • PTC Reality Lab

About the Author

Cat McClintock

Cat McClintock edits the Creo and Mathcad blogs for PTC.  She has been a writer and editor for 15+ years,  working for CAD, PDM, ERP, and CRM software companies. Prior to that, she edited science journals for an academic publisher and aligned optical assemblies for a medical device manufacturer. She holds degrees in Technical Journalism, Classics, and Electro-Optics. She loves talking to PTC customers and learning about the interesting work they're doing and the innovative ways they use the software.