QUIZ: Does Your Software Need Better Surfacing Tools?

Written by: Cat McClintock

If you’re a product designer, you’re no stranger to working with surfaces. Because consumers are drawn to products that look new and different, surface design is getting more and more complicated. 


Have you ever considered adding surfacing tools to your design software toolbox? This quiz will help you decide whether surfacing tools are right for you.

1. TRUE OR FALSE: Everything I design is a hologram and therefore has no surfaces.

If you answered TRUE: You are a time traveler from 2067, and we have so many questions for you about the future.

If you answered FALSE: Surfacing tools give you the power to build free-form geometry at any point in your design process, and you can use as many or as few constraints you need. Surfacing tools let you spend your time adding value to your design, rather than on transferring and interpreting data. Because they work with the design software you already use, most design engineers find that surfacing tools are easy to learn and integrate into their workflow.

2. TRUE OR FALSE: Everything I design has right angles.

If you answered TRUE: Your current design software can probably handle your cubes. Designing cubes is as easy as finding spoilers to the latest episode of Game of Thrones. (We’re running behind, don’t tell us!)

If you answered FALSE: You are going to love how easy it is to design curves with surfacing tools, like Freestyle or the ISDX extension in Creo. You can create curves and define curve connections (tangent [G1], curvature [G2], or acceleration [G3]). Surfacing tools let you create 3D curves by specifying interpolation or control points in one or more views, including:

• Setting up references dynamically by snapping to any object

• Creating planar curves referencing a plane or radial to another curve

• Creating curves directly on surfaces (COS), or projected

• Creating isoline curves

3. TRUE OR FALSE: Everything I design is as flat as a hockey rink right after a Zamboni has resurfaced it.

If you answered TRUE: You might be missing out on the fun parts of product design. Did you know you can make stuff bumpy, too?

 If you answered FALSE: You know how important surfaces are to the end result of your product designs. Surfacing tools let you create freeform surfaces faster and easier because they support n-sided surfaces and re-parameterization of surfaces. They let you manipulate curves in all kinds of helpful ways--you can reshape surfaces by editing the defining curves; add or remove multiple internal curves; replace boundary curves or edges to redefine surface shapes; and change surface times between boundary, loft, and blend while keeping all of your references.

4. TRUE OR FALSE: Everything I design is used in complete darkness and therefore the appearance of the final products does not matter at all.

If you answered TRUE: You might still want surfacing tools if your designs use curves or surface textures. A baseball thrown in the dark is still a baseball. Just ask anyone whose neighbor kids have thrown one through their window.

If you answered FALSE: Did you know there are people out there who are famous because they have a big Instagram following? The way things look matter, especially in today’s image-obsessed world. But it’s not enough for your products to be pretty to look at, they also have to work correctly and be manufacturable. If you use Creo’s surfacing extension, Creo ISDX, you’ll have access to all the same Creo functions and features you’re used to, which will let you build great-looking designs that you can document, simulate, and prototype exactly the same way you always do with Creo.

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Tags: CAD Retail and Consumer Products Connected Devices

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.