A Quick Introduction to Managing Design Intent and Editing References in Creo

Written by: Katelyn Stevens

Read Time: 3 min.

It’s tempting when you start a new design to meet the design requirements and call it finished. But the truth is that most products, and CAD designs, undergo changes—both during the development cycle and in later releases. Good engineers anticipate those changes by making smart, deliberate choices at the very start and throughout design.

Follow these tips to future-proof your designs:

Design Intent Characteristics

Design intent is the way you create models so that they behave in a predictable manner when they are modified. It’s essential to give forethought into how your designs are constructed in Creo and consider the product’s entire lifecycle. Doing so will allow you to create robust models and enable you to edit references to features thereby increasing your productivity. 

Internal Sketches versus External Sketches

Because internal sketches are embedded in the feature they define, you always know where to find them. External sketches are separate features that can be renamed and reordered in the same manner as other features. Because internal sketches are not features, they do not add to the total number of features in a model. Creating a separate external sketch for every sketched feature in your model can dramatically increase the number of features in a model, but gives you more flexibility and allows you to use the same sketch for multiple features. In models containing hundreds or even thousands of features, external sketches can dramatically increase the total feature count in a model. Again, this is something you want to consider when selecting the type of sketch to use.

Capturing Design Intent in Features

Design intent is captured in features by specifying the correct feature, its references, and its options. As a result, you must carefully consider which feature options to specify to properly capture your design intent. You can always modify the feature's design intent, but it is easiest to do when you have planned for future modifications.

Editing Feature References

You can use Edit References to view and highlight existing feature references and specify new references as desired. When you edit the references of a feature, the system highlights all the parent references used to create the feature. For each reference you can maintain the same reference, or you can select or create a new reference.

Replacing Sketcher Geometry

When a change is made to a parent feature, it automatically updates any children. This is beneficial functionality and demonstrates the power of Creo Parametric. However, within Sketcher if you delete an entity that has children, it may cause the child to no longer be able to find its parent reference, causing a failure. Instead, when modifying Sketcher geometry, create the new Sketcher entity first, then use the Replace operation to transfer the child references from the old entity to the entity. The system automatically removes the entity you wanted to delete, but because the child references were transferred to the new entity you reduce the chances of downstream child failures.

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Tags: CAD

About the Author

Katelyn Stevens

Katelyn Stevens, Senior Content Marketing Specialist, has worked for PTC University since 2007. A graduate of Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, VA, she has her bachelor’s degree in English Literature with a concentration in Linguistics. Katelyn worked as a professional editor and manager for more than 10 years before switching over to content marketing. She is a regular contributor to the PTC University blog spot and writes in depth interviews and articles on emerging technologies in the education space. In addition, she manages PTC University’s social media platforms and creates original content as a thought leader in the industry. Katelyn currently resides on the south shore of Massachusetts with her husband, two children, and golden retriever.