Tips & Tricks: Find the Distance between Components that Don’t Hold Still

When you design a mechanism, it’s good to know your parts won’t clash. But you may also want to know just how close they’re coming. How much clearance is your design allowing?

At first, seasoned PTC Creo users might be tempted to turn to the Separation feature in the Measure dialog. The problem is that with  Separation, you can only find the distance between vertex points. If you want to find distances between geometries, the trick is to use the Pairs Clearance analysis feature. Here’s how it works:

To measure distances between moving components, follow these steps:

  1. In the Analysis tab, click the arrow next to Global Interference, and then click  Pairs Clearance. The Pairs Clearance dialog box opens.
  2. Create a feature by selecting Part in the status bar, and then click on the geometry you want to analyze.
  3. In the Pairs Clearance dialog, use the Quick pull-down menu to select Feature (see image below). Then click OK.
  4. Run your motion simulation.

Pairs Clearance dialog

To view the results, follow these steps:

  1. In the Mechanism tab, click Measures. The Measure Result dialog opens.
  2. Notice that the measure feature has automatically been added to the list.
  3. Select the new measures and the graphtool appears. Here, you can easily see the clearance between the two components during motion (see image below).

Graph of distance between two specified parts during motion.

To see a demo of this tip, visit the PTC University Learning Exchange and search on the video titled Calculating Clearance between Components during Motion. Note that you may need to create a PTC University Learning Exchange account if you don’t already have one. The good news is that it’s free and after creating your new login, you’ll find hundreds and hundreds more in-depth demonstrations and tutorials for PTC products.

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