Unsung Creo Capabilities You Should Try

Written By: Dave Martin
  • CAD
  • 11/6/2018

You probably know that Creo Parametric can create parts, assemblies, and drawings. But how familiar are you with the depth and breadth of Creo Parametric’s other capabilities? Creo is a complete Computer Aided Engineering platform for performing design, analysis, and manufacturing processes throughout your product’s life cycle. There are probably a few capabilities that Creo has that you are not familiar with or not using to their full extent. Here are three that can dramatically increase your team’s product development process.

Polaris snowmobile front 

Flexible Modeling Extension

Parametric modeling is not the only design paradigm available in Creo Parametric; it’s also capable of Direct modeling through the Flexible Modeling Extension (FMX). Direct Modeling is an extremely quick way of making changes to complex geometry without needing to know the part’s history or design intent. In FMX, you’re making changes to the model’s geometry, not its features.

I’ve found direct modeling to be amazingly fast and easy in the following scenarios:

  • Making changes to a part with lots, even hundreds, of features. Modifying significant features can result in regeneration failures; FMX avoids this.
  • Modifying imported geometry. Normally, importing a STEP or IGES file results in a single feature that can’t be easily changed. FMX recognizes bosses, cuts, patterns, mirrors, rounds, chamfers, and more, and lets you change them.
  • Making changes under extreme schedule pressure when you don’t have the time to absorb how the model was originally created.

Combining direct modeling with parametric modeling gives you the best of both worlds.

Note: FMX comes with every standard license of Creo Parametric—so no excuse for not at least trying it out.

Design Exploration Extension

Developing different design concepts is an essential part of product development. How do you do this today? Typically, engineers might save alternative parts in different files. When doing this in an assembly, it gets even messier, saving copies of subassemblies, subassemblies within subassemblies, and individual parts.

The engineer will most likely have to present the concepts to others to get buy-in. Using traditional methods, this can also be unwieldy as you open and close a variety of models, hopefully remembering which ones have which different approaches.

The Design Exploration Extension, or DEX, simplifies the process of generating multiple design concepts. DEX allows users to create branches in a part model or assembly - and branches on those branches. In this way, designers are free to explore any potential ideas they have for the evolution of a model.

One of the beauties of DEX is that the model remains in its original state, until the engineer commits to a branch. For collaborating with others, you can:

  • Easily switch between different branches on the tree of alternatives;
  • Store the file containing the potential changes in your Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) system like Windchill; and,
  • Share the file containing the changes with others.

DEX frees engineers to unleash their creativity and imagination, instead of focusing on managing files and comes with standard Creo Parametric subscription licenses.

Prismatics & Multi-Surface Milling

Associativity is one of the biggest benefits of Creo Parametric: when you make changes to your parts, the assemblies and drawings automatically update. Associativity extends beyond modeling to include analysis and manufacturing. The Prismatics & Multi-Surface Milling package helps you define Computer Numerical Control (CNC) toolpaths to manufacture your model, with associativity back to the original model.

Data translation is one of the biggest sources of lost productivity for engineers. If you’re defining your milling toolpaths outside of Creo Parametric, you’re probably saving to a CAD-neutral format like STEP. Then when your design model changes, to update your manufacturing toolpaths, you’re exporting again and importing into your manufacturing package, losing much of the work you’ve already done. By defining your manufacturing in the Prismatics & Multi-Surface Milling module, toolpaths automatically update with changes to the design model.

The Milling module in Creo Parametric allows you to set up standard tools, fixtures, and parameters, and after defining your toolpaths, you can perform simulation and verification, including gouge checks. Then the Cutter Location data can be post-processed to generate code that your machines can read.

Prismatics & Multi-Surface Milling is just one of the many manufacturing modules available in Creo Parametric. What improvements in efficiency can you realize by performing manufacturing in the same platform that you perform design and analysis?

Take a Closer Look

Creo Parametric contains a wealth of possibilities for your engineers to optimize their design and manufacturing activities. Take a look at FMX, DEX, and Prismatics & Multi-Surface Milling and see how they can help you.

Ed: These and many other capabilities are now available in special Creo Design packages. Each package contains PTC’s core 3D CAD software, plus a dozen or more add on capabilities at a new low price. Are there unsung capabilities you’ve been hoping to get your hands on? Explore what’s in the new Creo Design packages.

See the Creo Design Packages

  • CAD

About the Author

Dave Martin

Dave Martin is a former Creo, Windchill, and Mathcad instructor and consultant. After leaving PTC, he was the Creo specialist for Amazon; and a mechanical engineer, Creo administrator, and Windchill administrator for Amazon Prime Air. He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and currently works as an avionics engineer for Blue Origin. 

Martin is the author of the books Design Intent in Creo Parametric and Top Down Design in Creo Parametric--both available at www.amazon.com. He can be reached at dmartin@creowindchill.com.