The Most Important Additive Manufacturing Feature in Creo 4.0 (and 5.0)

Written by: Cat McClintock

With recent updates to our powerful 3D CAD software platform, we continue to add tools for better additive manufacturing design.

With Creo 3.0, you could already send a model directly from Creo to a supported Stratasys 3D printer. Plus, Creo can leverage options, such as tray size and colors/materials, from your 3D printer. That way, you design products that are compatible with your additive manufacturing machinery.

But Creo 3.0 was released more than two years ago. Let’s get you up to speed with some of the more striking features added since then:

Tray Assembly

Creo now has a new assembly sub-type for additive manufacturing, called Tray Assembly. The Tray Assembly, at the end of the 3D printing job preparation, will include parts, assemblies, positions, rotations, materials, colors, and more.

Since the Tray Assembly is a repository for the additive manufacturing information, you can use it to store and manage each 3D printing job individually.

Using this new Assembly sub-type, you can:

  • Perform a printability check for thin walls and narrow gaps.
  • Use PTC’s 3D nesting algorithm, which means you can optimize your print job.
  • Assign materials, colors, and finishing characteristics when the 3D printer supports these settings.

Plus, it is a valid object in Windchill, so your PLM processes are supported.

Lattice Features

Using Creo lattice features, you can now create lightweight designs without compromising stress and displacement requirements. Creo lattices tightly integrate with Creo Simulate, so you can streamline the design-analysis process and make sure your lightweight model maintains its integrity. Using this feature, you can produce a new lightweight part using Creo Parametric, reduce the weight and validate the design in Creo Simulate, and then optimize the lattice using Creo Simulate. You can also use Creo Simulate Optimization functionality to “drive” the lattice parameters, obtaining in this scenario the optimum lattice structure to perform the job.

A 3D model of a part held together with lattice structures

A lattice feature created using Creo.

Lattice features are created as precise B-rep  geometry, rather than mesh surfaces.

There are several options you can configure to set up the lattice feature. Choose from different beam cross sections or beam profiles. You can even apply variability controls, and much more.


Now when your Creo session and your 3D printer are connected to the network, you can directly interact with your 3D printer in real-time. Connectivity allows a bi-directional exchange of information between Creo and supported Stratasys and 3D Systems printers.

Plus, the connectivity functionality supports the direct exchange of information between Creo and i.materialise, a 3D printing service. You can automatically upload your Creo model to i.materialise. Then, through the embedded browser in Creo, you quickly receive a quote telling you how much it would cost to have your model 3D printed by i.materialise.

Printing in Metal

Finally, with Creo 5.0, PTC and Materialise have collaborated to bring a seamless workflow from CAD model to metal printer. The new solution seamlessly connects Creo with 3D printing machines equipped with a Materialise build processor. It also includes Materialise’s support generation technology, a time saver that provides more control for designing the supports that hold up your parts and dissipate heat during printing. 

Optimize Your Additive Manufacturing Processes with Creo

Are you getting the most out of your additive manufacturing? Are you ready to shorten your product development process—all without leaving your CAD environment? This post contains just a few of the ways Creo additive manufacturing features help you make the most of your processes. Visit the Creo Additive Manufacturing page to find out more about what’s available today.

Tags: CAD Retail and Consumer Products Additive Manufacturing

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.