Kubotek announces the new KeyCreator version 2021

Agile and efficient CAD tools for manufacturing

On 28 October 2020, our partner Kubotek3D announced the new version of the 3D CAD software KeyCreator. The productivity increase of different functions, improvements of the model-based definition as well as update of the CAD translators round off the new update.

Model-based definition (MBD)

Surface colours to support the "digital thread

The KeyCreator CAD software was developed to make the reuse of CAD data more productive. In version 2021, many improvements have been made to the material system to better define the meaning of each surface colour and to apply or copy the colours to the corresponding surfaces as quickly as possible.

Kubotek KeyCreator 2021 Announcement

In complex tool designs, surface colour attributes for features of 3D models are often used as MBD shapes. This allows manufacturing information such as surface tolerances and hole types to be represented. These colours are later converted into cycle parameters in an NC program. If this process is automated, it follows the strategy known as preserving the "digital thread". This increasingly popular concept saves time and errors when reading a drawing or evaluating a file and repeatedly entering the details into the manufacturing software.

"The colour tools available in the 2021 version of KeyCreator are truly groundbreaking," says Bill Bechard, designer at Superior Tool and Mold in Windsor, Ontario. "I've been using top-of-the-line CAD software that couldn't provide this kind of automated surface colour processing. Our CNC cutting automation is based on surface colour. These tools save us a lot of time on our projects. I'm excited to start using the software."

Due to the different meanings of colours between companies, KeyCreator 2021, stores material definitions in design and template files and allows material sets to be loaded and saved from configuration files. By updating the selection filter system, areas with specific materials can be accessed in each function. To extend support for design data from any source, the new version of KeyCreator can recognise the unique surface colour of the imported model and create an automatically matched material definition. This feature speeds up the process of defining standard colour sets for future orders from specific branches.


Kubotek's proprietary readers for STEP files (ISO 10303) have been extended to AP 242 to support customers using a full, standardised MBD approach. STEP AP 242 defines critical manufacturing annotations, including geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) and their relationship to the surfaces of the 3D model. These annotations, along with the nominal size and position of the accurate geometric model, provide an unambiguous part definition.

This form of MBD can increase process efficiency by eliminating the need to translate designs into detailed drawings and better support the automation of related operations such as NC machining and inspection.

In addition, a second STEP extension has been added to version 2021 to open and export compressed ASCII STEP files that use the ".stpZ" extension. Compressed STEP files are approximately 20% the size of uncompressed STEP files. The stpZ format has gained popularity since its original release in 2013, particularly in the aerospace and automotive industries.

Productivity improvements

KeyCreator 2021 also offers further time-saving improvements:

  • Auxiliary drawing views defined perpendicular to a line/edge
  • Significant speed improvement when reopening the detail style editor
  • Axis indicators selectable for vector direction or position
  • Generate 2D cutting wheel geometry from partial reference geometry.

Updated CAD translators

Interoperability with other CAD software has been extended to include two more relevant CAD file formats:

  • Autodesk Inventor 2021
  • PTC Creo 7.0.


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