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PTC Creo Elements/Direct Modeling Express

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I am pretty happy about Creo. It is free and has a pretty strong feature set, a lot stronger that 123D Design.

It is a solid modeling program, no polygon modeling, not history based, but you can adjust a lot afterwards. You can move sections and it tries to keep all blends ect. alive. So far I have not found many limitations, besides two rail sweeps. It can even to a bit of G2 blending (by selecting continuous curvature) to make smoother fillets.

It has a bit high learning curve, but there are a lot of blender users, so that should pose no problems :lol: And it uses different meanings for words than usual, like features for subgroups, and taper for drafts.

My biggest complain is that it has the most impossible name imaginable. Impossible to remember, a disaster to find on the internet. (especially with all the other Creo programs like Creo 2.0, Creo Parametric, Creo Direct, Creo Elements/Direct, etc.)

Is anyone else using it? What are your experiences about the limitations?

Just for reference: I have prior experience with Rhino (with Grasshopper), Solid Edge, Solid Works, Pro/Engineer, Autocad, Form Z. (Professionally only with the first two)

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Yes, Creo E/DM E is free. It requires you to make an account on their website and the program needs to connect to the internet every 72 hours. And it is limited to assemblies of max 60 parts.

Link is here:

http://www.ptc.com/products/creo-elemen ... g-express/

As for the naming, it's not that easy:

Creo Direct is a new product (i think)

Creo Parametric is the new name for Pro/E Wildfire

Creo Elements/Direct Modeling is the new name for Cocreate

Creo Elements/Direct Modeling Express is the new name for Cocreate Personal Edition

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Hi guys,

I've been using this program full-license on my work for several years ending up as an application engineer for this program on a department with for about 10 employees. The bit we've drawn were complete machines for use in the greenhouse industry varying from pretty simple machines up to pretty complex ones.

After a Catia course prior to using this program I must say I really loved this one! It takes some getting used to but I found it a lot easier to use than the parametric programs. After 5 years of intensive use I switched jobs and on my new job there was an Inventor license available. I took a course for that program and gave it a good try for several months resulting in... not so much... :-( Parametric is just a pain (at least to me it is!). Adjusting things in the parametric Inventor was a disaster. Probably because I was just too used to the non-parametric Creo (or OneSpace Designer as it's former name was).

Parametric users will probably have a lot to complain about this program since it lacks parameters :-).

Newcomers to 3D drawing will probably find it (much) easier.

I also gave courses to students to learn the program during their traineeship so if there are any questions, please feel free to ask! I'll try to help if I can.

The free version is pretty much unlimited in it's capabilities. It has the full feature set of the full, unaffordable license except for the 60 part maximum. For 3D printing this will probably be sufficient in most cases. You can obviously merge a few parts to 'make room' for new parts.

When to use this program:

If you can't get used to the parametrics

If you want to freestyle/ sketch new parts in the computer and make a lot of changes throughout (like I do)

When to use a parametric program:

If you already know for 90% what you're going to draw

The program is NOT meant to be used to create freeforms like humans heads/ creatures/ animals etcetera. If you want to do that, just try Sculptris or Blender.

If you want to do a bit more 3D than Sketchup allows you to, try this one instead.


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Can you say anything about the export functions of the free version (Creo Elements Direct Modeling Express 4.0) ?

I mean can you export to STL and print stuff without any problems?

I just downloaded it but have never really used a 3D CAD program (they're like hokus-pokus to me o.O). I sure know that I don't want to go through the trouble of learning the annoying haptics of that program just to find that I can't export to a usable format :)

/edit: OMG i HATE it already... It's friggin impossible to create a symmetrical lego block?!?!? It's so stupid! Is there a free version of the parametric Creo, too? I can't stand this BS...


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Hi Jonny,

STL exporting is fine, although you don't get much feedback. You must press the Options button and adjust the Max Deviation setting, because the default is too course.

And yes is takes some getting used to, at first is seems quite unwieldy. :)

Don't try and figure out the pattern functions too soon, because they are odd. But mirroring works fine, and so do extrusions, filets, chamfers, drafts, shelling etc.


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Thanks for the info on STL.

I decided to start with Sketchup but I guess this one won't be enough to make actual construction designs... Maybe when I got the hang of Sketchup (which is ridiculously easy to understand) I'll take another look at Creo. Right now I just hate it :)

But I guess it's manageable if your PC mouse survives the learning curve and it's annoyances... :-P


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