Kirsten Van Praet March 31, 2017
Redesigning the part in Materialise 3-matic

Some of the big benefits of 3D Printing for aerospace are design freedom, short lead times and the creation of lighter and more durable components. The latter leads to a smaller carbon footprint and less fuel consumption. But how can you get the most out of the technology? How can you produce a metal component:

  • That is as light as possible
  • That has the required stiffness and structural integrity
  • That requires the least post-processing

We tried it out for you.

The design evolution of the part

First, the topology of a solid bracket (design space) with indicated loads was optimized. Only 43% of the original volume remains. Since this optimized design still required quite a bit of support structures for the 3D Printing process, we replaced the supports with cellular structures using Materialise 3-matic software. Less support structure leads to less post-processing work, which saves time. Next, we replaced additional solid zones with the same cellular structure to reduce the part’s weight while ensuring that these structures didn’t compromise the part’s strength. The cell size and position of the cellular structure were chosen to ensure optimal stiffness and printability of the part.


Finally, we modified the beam diameters according to stresses to further optimize the part. We tested the stress accumulation in the final design and checked if topological changes were necessary. After these simulation iterations, the bracket’s weight was reduced by an impressive 63% from its original design space and was successfully printed at our metal competence center in Bremen!

With Materialise software that is perfectly compatible with simulation and analysis software, you can create strong, lightweight industrial metal parts.

Are you interested in producing strong, lightweight metal parts? Read more about our design enhancement software: Materialise 3-matic.

Categories Industries