Brand New to CAD and PTC Creo

Hi everyone,

My team (we are FTC) and I are basically at a loss when it comes to using CAD software, much less PTC Creo. I was wondering if anyone knew the best way for us to start learning. Are there tutorials available online that we can use?

Also, do you have recommendations for a different software instead of PTC Creo? I know Creo has the KOP so that has been useful. We have played around with it a bit, but when it comes to really CAD-ing (especially something that isn’t in the KOP) we are lost.

Thanks in advance!

  • Ahmed
  • FTC Team 7767

A lot of people would probably suggest you use Solidworks (because of how common it is in industry), or Autodesk Inventor (because of its simplicity/educational resources). I’m a fan of Creo though, so hopefully I can give you some starter tips.

PTC’s FIRST Community is probably the place to start for you:

They have videos and documents explaining Creo for students and teams who are new to both their software and general product design principles. The videos can seem a bit dense, but you can always pause them-- don’t be afraid to back up.

After you have the basics down, in my personal opinion the best way to learn a new CAD package is to come up with a project or concept you want to explore, and then explore that design-- there are videos and tutorials out there for almost every feature in any of the FRC “big three” packages-- side note, many of the tutorials from Pro/Engineer still apply to Creo once you translate the UI-- some of the tutorials are good, some are weird, some are just plain bad, but you’ll learn a lot about the software this way.

If you need any advice, feel free to PM me or email me (after you’ve PMed me). If I can help you, I’ll try my best to.

So, to summarize, the tutorials on PTC’s FIRST Community site are a good place to start, then try PTC University (which has good content organized terribly), and then try Google/YouTube for tutorials. After you have the basics, pick a project (ie, creating a CAD of your 2013/14 robot), and use tutorials to figure out how to complete that. Bon chance!

Good reply Nick. That was going to be my suggestion too. The PTC Community has much more information than cheif-delphi. For whatever reason this forum has not been popular with PTC users.

The video tab of the FIRST community has links and downloads of all the RoboTalk webcasts that cover everything from getting started to advanced kinematics.

Nick’s project suggestion is the best. Pick something simple and try to design and build it in Creo. If you get stuck along the way, just drop a question in the FIRST Community.

Love to see you stick with Creo. You’ll have the same learning challenges going to SolidWorks and I always tell people Inventor is nice, but I don’t know anyone getting paid to use it. Its almost 100% education and not used much in industry.

Interesting point about Inventor.

After learning to work in Creo and finding that Inventor and SolidWorks available to FRC teams at no charge, I thought to try, but it seems that it’s hard to switch (at least for me).

Since you are in FTC and I assume there won’t be a need to CAD design and machine custom parts, I’d suggest just to pick one of those 3 and run with it.

I also support project based learning. Without project learning comes wa-a-a-a-a-ay too slow. Having something something specific to do will also trigger some specific challenges and consequently specific question to overcome those challenges. Asking specific questions on forums will result in much better quality answers :slight_smile:

I started with Creo this January. You can take a look at the CAD model I designed of the compressor.

Have fun learning !!

Thank you for all of the suggestions. We are trying a project based approach and just trying to get a feel for Creo, and then finding tutorials and such online.

On the FIRST section of PTC community/discussion page, are there specific tutorials for really learning the basics of the Creo/CAD? There were some tutorials, but they weren’t too helpful in teaching tools and such.

Also, a quick question about using Creo itself, especially with the FTC Tetrix 2013 Kit of Parts. Sometimes, when I constraint things, they are only partially constrainted and I cannot find out how to fully constraint the last axis.

Also, more importantly, after you have fully constrainted a part (such as a c channel), and instead of being purple or orange, it is now its original color of gray, how do i edit the constraints, without deleting or undoing? Such as if the bar is angled a bit off, I want to reconstraint it to another hole, how would I do that after I already checked it?

Thanks again!

Sorry, not that I know of-- I learned my basics at one of their training sessions. I think their “How to model almost anything” curriculum is pretty decent for learning some of the core modeling functions though.

When you constrain things, Creo has a things that looks like a sliced circle (here’s a pic of what I’m talking about)]( as you constrain your part, the slice-thing (I’m sure there’s an official name for it that I don’t know) grays out to indicate that that direction is constrained. Ways it can move that aren’t constrained are colored-- if you don’t have geometry to constrain them to, you might use datum planes (the brown planes that are created when you make a new part).

To edit constraints, right click the part you want to change in the model tree and select “Edit Definition”-- this brings you back to the constraint view. To edit an existing constraint, select the “Placement” tab, which will list existing constraints for that part, and click the one you want to edit (it should highlight the surfaces involved).

Anything else I can help you with? If you need clarification, feel free to ask (I know text instructions can get a bit confusing, especially with CAD).

Yes, please go to You will find a training link on that page that will provide all sorts of learning opportunities. Also take a peek at the Documents tab in the FIRST Community. It contains the How to Model Almost Anything curriculum. If you open the videos tab, the first 4 videos from 2013 are the How to Model Almost Anything course presented by PTC. Also checkout learning It is full of tutorials on all kinds of topics.