Where’s the Math? Link Calculations to Model Geometry with Embedded Worksheets

Where do dimensions come from? More likely than not, you or somebody else calculates them. Heights, surface areas, fastener lengths—somebody does the math and figures out exactly what parameters a model needs to perform to spec. It’s all part of an engineer’s job.

So where is that math today? As part of a company’s intellectual property, CAD models should effectively communicate design intent, including the work that led to the final design. If the math is sitting in a notepad or Microsoft Excel® spreadsheet, it may not be easy to recover when you or somebody else wants to scrutinize or reuse it. Physical notepads are hard to index, search, and share. And spreadsheets often make it hard to read (let alone verify) a calculation.

You can do better. That’s why we recently enhanced the integration between PTC Creo and PTC Mathcad—so the calculations that defined a design, stay with the design.

What’s a PTC Mathcad worksheet? PTC Mathcad is powerful calculation software that uses worksheets as its fundamental workspace—like a document in Microsoft Word® or a sheet in Microsoft Excel.

You use PTC Mathcad to solve, analyze, and document essential engineering calculations. The tool produces easy-to-read textbook-like equations, plots, graphs, and images. But don’t be fooled. Under the covers there’s an engine that can solve some of engineering’s most complex problems, with 700 built-in functions, and the capacity to save functions you create yourself.

Plus, it keeps you out of trouble when you start mixing units. So if one part of your formula is defined in inches and another in millimeters, PTC Mathcad adjusts your results accordingly and automatically.

How do embedded worksheets work? With the embedded worksheet, your calculations travel directly with the model. You just specify a parameter in PTC Mathcad as an input for a model. The results of a formula in PTC Mathcad can then become available for use within the parameter table of the PTC Creo model in which the worksheet is embedded. From there, you can use the Relations editor to connect those values to specific dimensions in the model.

You can use data in your PTC Creo parameter table as input for the worksheet as well.

Analysis-driven design. PTC Mathcad outputs drive PTC geometry. The embedded worksheet can receive inputs from PTC Creo’s parameter table, and then analyze the dimensions to ensure the model fits within whatever criteria you specify.

When you use this feedback and PTC Mathcad to do the heavy computational lifting, you can begin to create analysis-driven designs, making adjustments and other changes to optimize your models, long before handing them over to your analysis or physical prototyping teams.

Your engineering notebook, calculator, and modeler—all in one file. PTC Mathcad worksheets aren’t just for writing and solving formulas. They can act as an electronic engineering notebook complete with scratch pad to record your notes, supporting both design exploration and better communication. Use them to solve simple to complex calculations, for documentation, and as the mathematical source for the parameters in your 3D model.

When you use PTC Creo with PTC Mathcad’s embedded worksheets, you no longer have to ask, “Where do dimensions come from?” The math is always right there in a format that’s not only linked to the part or assembly, but in a single file—easy to find and easy to read.

The PTC Mathcad 3.1 integration is free with PTC Creo 3.0 M030.

Not using PTC Mathcad yet? You can Download PTC Mathcad Express free! With a complimentary license of PTC Mathcad Express, you get unlimited use of the most popular capabilities in the commercial version of PTC Mathcad Prime 3.1