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Pro/Engineer   December 2001   Tip-of-the-Month

"Quick Feature" Creation

If you haven't tried the new "quick feature" creation techniques, you really should.  In the right situations they can be quite helpful.
Dec. 2001 Fig. 1
Figure 1

I'm not sure what PTC calls them, but "quick features" describes it pretty well.  It's creating features with just a few picks using the Insert menu and it's easy to learn (one of the few benefits of "Object-Action").

As a quick intro, select some geometry (an edge for example), then an option from the Insert pull-down menu (like Round).  Pro/E then initiates the feature with default assumptions and it appears on the model with little boxes to grab and drag for size -- like depth of extrusion, angle of rotation or round radius.  See Figure 1.

For another example, select a default datum plane (turns red), then select Insert > Protrusion > Extrude.  If Pro/E can make some simple assumptions it will bring up sketcher immediately.  If it can't, it will bring up the standard dialog and menus for the feature.  (Part complexity and/or available assumptions will determine how this behaves.)  Once the sketch is complete, the feature appears.  Grab one of the little boxes and drag the feature to the size you want.  The grab and drag isn't very scientific, but it's nice to see how the feature behaves.
Dec. 2001 Fig. 2
Figure 2

As with other parts of Pro/E, geometry selection is very modal.  To select different kinds of geometry use the selection mode tools shown in Figure 2.  Hover your mouse over the icons for help with what they do.

Limitations of "quick features" include a lack of control for orientation, depth and options; and a weak assumption engine for feature placement.  Feature placement control with the myriad of options is one of the great powers of Pro/E.  With "quick features" you give up some of that -- or more appropriately, if you need it, you have to go back and redefine later.  If Pro/E can't make the necessary assumptions, it reverts back to the standard menus and dialogs anyway -- which happens frequently.

It is a nice idea, and for the simple features, it is very helpful.  If you find the control lacking, you can redefine the feature later with all the standard options.  Try it.

Merry Christmas!  ("If you're into that sort of thing" -the Grinch)

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