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Pro/Engineer Modeling Tips

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Use Datum Features as a way to break solid geometry parent-child relationships

For each sketched section define datum (curves) features that can be referenced (aligned) by that section.  Subsequent geometry can also reference those datum features so the geometry is still parametrically linked yet individual features can be altered without ever affecting subsequent features.  In some cases (very complex parts), it is a good idea to put all of the major geometry datum curves at the beginning of the model tree so that features created further down the model tree can be moved freely within the model tree.

Create datum curve features that will drive the shape of the design. This could include circuit board outline, outside shape, fastener locations, outline of mating components or keepout areas.

Once the datum curves that define the outside limits of the part have been created, create a set of curves that defines a rectangular block that will enclose the model.  The purpose of this set of curves is to provide features that can be used as the "UP TO" extrustion point when creating surface geometry. Instead of blind extrusions.

Instead of creating solid features directly, use a two step process.

  1. Create surface features referencing datum features
  2. Create solid geometry from surface features
This provides several advantages for a complex part.
  • Multiple surface features can be combined to form a complex quilt without affecting other features and then turned into solid geometry.
  • Geometry can be added or subtracted without ever affecting any other geometry.
  • Sometimes when modeling an molded or cast part, it is easier to create the outside (cavity) portion of the part and the inside (core) as separate surface quilts of the same part. Then at the end of the model tree subtract the inside (core) from the outside (cavity) to make the finished part.

Group the surface features that form major portions of the model together on layers.

This way only the features you are working on need to be shown, all the others can be blanked using layers.

Use dummy datum points to annotate the model tree

Group features together that form distinct components of the model in the model tree.  Put a datum point at the beginning and end of these model tree sections.  Rename the datum points to indicate the beginning and end of the features to create this component of the model.  The end datum point is not totally necessary unless model components are nested in the model tree.  Annotating the model tree in this manner makes a large model much easier to manage.

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