6 tips to start automating tasks in PTC Creo by writing your own Plugin

6 tips to start automating tasks in PTC Creo by writing your own Plugin

PTC Creo comes with robust and flexible tools to customize behavior and automate workflows. It is one of the most powerful 3D CAD modeling tool one of the best CAD Software that deals with complicated assemblies and large models.

After working on an custom file format exporter for Creo for about an year, I have some key insights that I would like to share with you. These tips shall bring you upto speed on developing your own plugin on Creo.

cube exported from PTC Creo to WebGL

                                                                             Cube Exported from PTC Creo to WebGL

Although this may seem like an irrelevant skill here, it is indeed a good pre-requisite. Simple solution is to go ahead and play with Creo UI for some time as YouTube will always be there to help you out. Modeling will help you to test your Application.

  • Knowledge of APIs

Knowledge of the APIs (Application Programmers Interface, in other words, functions) is essential to develop a plugin. Creo has provided Visual Studio solution file, help document PDF and HTML doc to help programmer –
 i. Tkuse.pdf – This PDF has information of every API that has been exposed by the PTC
ii. API Wizard – This is a Visual Studio solution file, output of this tool helps you search APIs.

  • Refer to ample plugins provided by PTC

The samples are the best starting point. They provide not only good understanding of the design of the plugin, but also source code and a template to start your own. This was a quite important step for me because I earlier worked on Autodesk’s products and things are pretty different in PTC Creo. Once you get used to it you will love it.

  • Search for features in Creo UI/help

There are tons of feature in the PTC Creo UI but all of them are not exposed to the users of API toolkit, some APIs needs separate licenses. E.g. Annotations (need an extra license “3D toolkit for drawing” ),

  • Knowledge of C language basics

For better usability of the toolkit, toolkit user might need to work on basics of C and C++. You might need to handle some complex pointer operations. Toolkit is available in C, C++, Java, Javascript and Visual Basic.

  • PTC support :

PTC support is quite impressive with their prompt replies and understanding the issue. Support people will assist you in 24 Hours (in a working business day). This is the section where toolkit users can rely on PTC.

Author: Prashant D.
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ProtoTech Solutions