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Datum Feature Symbols in Creo 4.0

In Creo 4.0 we made some significant changes to the Datum Feature Symbol annotations (otherwise known as "set datum" or "set datum tag" in earlier releases).

I've already gotten a number of questions from users who have started using Creo 4.0 and I think best way to answer the questions, while making that information accessible to the broader user community, would be to write up the answers and post them here to the community site. As this topic is intimately related to MBD, this Model Based Enterprise group seems like the best home for this content.

There are several questions that I'd like to address and I think it would be too much information for a single blog post, so I'll write a series of blog posts and link them all to this one as a sort of top-level post for the whole topic. So, you can bookmark this post and be able to get to all the other posts on the topic from here.

Overview of Creo 4.0 enhancements

I think it makes sense to first provide an overview of all of the enhanced capabilities of the Datum Feature Symbol so we're all on the same page with what's new. Each of the sub-sections below will cover an individual enhancement and also provide a link to the page in the Creo Help system that describes the enhancement and also provides a short video that shows it in action.

Creation and Editing

The workflows for creating and editing Datum Feature Symbols have been streamlined and made more intuitive. When you click the Datum Feature Symbol icon in the ribbon you immediately get a preview of the annotation attached to the pointer. You can drag this to place it on the model. There are a number of different standards-compliant placement options. For example, you can place the symbol directly on a model surface, or attach it to a GTOL, or to a dimension, or to a dimension witness line. Some of the attachment types also offer alternative placements available from the Right-Click menu.

You can edit the properties of the Datum Feature Symbol from a dedicated ribbon tab that will appear whenever a Datum Feature Symbol is selected. When you select a Datum Feature Symbol, the ribbon will appear and if you select something else or clear selection by clicking in open space, the tab will go away. There is no need to select the annotation, and then choose a command to open the UI for editing the properties and there is no need to click OK or Cancel to close the UI.

Check out the video in the Creo Help Center: More Intuitive Workflows for Creating and Editing Datum Feature Symbols

Automatic Naming

When you create a Datum Feature Symbol, it automatically takes the next available name in the standard sequence of valid names. For example, the first Datum Feature Symbol will be named "A", and the next one you create will be named "B" and so on. If there is a gap in the sequence of names of existing Datum Feature Symbols, the next one to be created will take the missing name. For example, the model contains Datum Feature Symbols A, B, D, then the next one to be created will automatically be named C.

You can still change the name as needed from the Label field in ribbon. Creo will check the entered name to make sure that it complies with the standards, and in the MBD environment it will check that there are no duplicate names. In drawings there is no check for duplicate names because it is common practice to have a Datum Feature Symbol shown in multiple views, although the standards compliance checks are still available in drawings.

Check out the video in the Creo Help Center: Automatic Naming of Datum Feature Symbols

Semantic References

Datum Feature Symbols support full semantic references to model geometry. You can click the References button from the ribbon to open the References dialog where you can select additional geometry references. Model surfaces, planes and axes are the supported reference types. If the Datum Feature Symbol is placed on a model surface, this placement reference is automatically added to the References, but if the Datum Feature Symbol is placed on another annotation (dimension or GTOL, for instance) then there will be no semantic references automatically assigned, but you can still add any references that you want.

Check out the video in the Creo Help Center: Specifying Fully Semantic References for Datum Feature Symbols

Additional Text

You can now include additional text as part of a Datum Feature Symbol annotation. There is a text input field in the ribbon where this text can be added and a button to control on which side of the annotation the text will appear.

Check out the video in the Creo Help Center: Specifying Additional Text Near Datum Feature Symbols

Elbow Option

You can now add an elbow to the stem of the Datum Feature Symbol annotation. This allows additional flexibility in managing the cosmetic positioning of the annotation. To adjust the length of the elbow, hold the SHIFT key while dragging the label.

Check out the video in the Creo Help Center: Adding Elbows to Datum Feature Symbols

Standalone Annotation

Datum Feature Symbols are now available as a regular annotation and are not a property of a plane or axis feature of the model. You can create a Datum Feature Symbol either as a standalone annotation, in which case it will appear at the top of the model tree under the Annotations node, or you can create a Datum Feature Symbol inside of an annotation feature.

When created as a standalone annotation, the Datum Feature Symbol possesses the same advanced capabilities as if it were owned by an annotation feature. Those advanced capabilities are: 1) The ability to have parameters, 2) The ability to be Designated as Control Characteristic, 3) The ability to have multiple semantic references, and 4) Errors and Warnings reported through the Notification Center.

Check out the video in the Creo Help Center: Datum Feature Symbols as Standalone Annotations

Links to other blog posts related to Datum Feature Symbols

The links below take you to the other blog posts targeted at specific questions regarding Datum Feature Symbols

  • Updating Legacy Set Datum Tags to New Datum Feature Symbols **Coming Soon**
  • Why can't I attach a Datum Feature Symbol to a plane or axis? **Coming Soon**

If you have any additional questions or comments about the enhanced Datum Feature Symbols, add a comment to this post and I'll answer it as soon as I can.

1 Comment

I was excited to move to Creo 4.0, but this drawing stuff that effects the handling of GTOL's is just the worst.  I've got many operational sketches to get to my shop floor and now I'm screwed. Fumbling around trying to figure out how all this works. Not intuitive at all, just a huge waste of my time, and I still can't get the results I want. My co-workers were right. Instead of renewing our PTC licensing, we should have switched to Solidworks. Been drawing with Pro-E since Wildfire 2.0