Creo MCAD – From an Acorn into a Mighty Oak

Bruce Bodnyk is a Mechanical Engineering Services Consultant and Instructor for MCAD Software.  He just wrote a very interesting history about Pro/ENGINEER, now Creo, from his perspective as a user. Both long time users of Pro/ENGINEER and those curious about Creo will find this interesting.

A good 24 years ago or so when I was a budding systems analyst of a fairly large global company, I had the opportunity to travel to Waltham, MA for a one week basic training course in a new mechanical design system that represented a paradigm shift in the mechanical engineering field.  Previously CAD was meant to mean Computer Aided Drafting and the software market was dominated by products like Applicon, Computer Vision, Medusa, CADAM to name just a few. In 1987, Sam Geisburg introduced a product to engineering design market called Pro/ENGINEER that was a revolutionary approach to the way products should be designed and represented in electronic format. Because of the efforts of his company PTC and the other players in the mechanical engineering field, the meaning of CAD has changed and is now meant to mean Computer Aided Design.

The version of the software I was trained on was Version 4 and admittedly was a little rough around the edges.  Back in the early days the drafting potion was almost non-existent for example. Regardless, I can remember writing a memo upon my return which extolled the “wonders” of what I was just trained in. Previously the company I worked for used Prime Medusa which was primarily a 2D drafting tool but it did have a modeling component to it that allowed for boolean facetted modeling.  I wish I still had a copy of that memo, but it described new and wondrous functionality like parametrics, feature based modeling (boolean modeling was a no/no), associativity, etc; all concepts that are fairly universal today.

While I am no longer with that company I am fortunate to have access to the Pro/ENGINEER product suite since then and have gone thru the different name changes (19, 20, 2000i, 2000i2, Wildfire, etc) experiencing the fun of two software releases every year, attending the Pro/USER Group conference and accumulating multiple Pro/ENGINEER tee-shirts and more importantly seen the software grow and flourish.

I like to think of that little old Pro/ENGINEER Version 4 (from 24 years ago) as a little acorn from which a mighty oak has grown; the Creo product suite. Like any carefully tended tree branches have been lobbed off, others nurtured for growth, and occasionally new branches grafted on.  The result –  a huge and mighty oak tree whose major branches represent conceptual design, simulation, product design, product manufacturing all coming off a strong and deeply rooted Granite software kernel trunk with deep roots into the Windchill ground.

I wonder if even Sam Geisburg envisioned a tree with branches like; Creo Sketch to allow quick and easy creation of 2D concepts able to be utilized in Creo Freeform to allow pulling and pushing of surfaces to create organic shapes quickly and easily.  Using Creo Flexible Modeling to manipulate non-parametric geometry, Creo Simulate to analyze the engineering characteristics, and more.

I recently had the chance to go thru the Creo 2.0 Hands on Workshop and even though I am certainly an old hand at this, I was delighted to see the fruit of the newer branches.  Ok, maybe it’s a fruit tree rather than an oak.  Easily the growth of all the different pieces of functionality represented in the Creo product suite is a new paradigm shift; one tool having virtually everything a designer needs raises their own acorns into mighty oaks.

I would strongly encourage everyone, old and new users alike to take advantage of a Creo 2.0 Hands on Workshop and experience for your selves the power of the mighty oak!

–          Bruce Bodnyk