Kirsten Van Praet March 16, 2015

How can you reconstruct a topology-optimized object in CAD? And what is the most efficient way to do this? Max van der Kolk, a master’s student at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, wrote his thesis answering these questions. KMWE, a supplier and partner for the high-tech equipment and aerospace industries, optimized an existing aircraft engine bracket from General Electric, and Max used these files from KMWE to discover the efficient workflow he was looking for.


The Challenge: Converting Optimized Designs Back to CAD

KMWE applied topology optimization to obtain an organic, optimized design. With topology optimization, you can reduce an object’s weight while maintaining its strength. It is, however, very difficult to manually convert this result back to a computer-aided design (CAD) format. Therefore, Max evaluated multiple existing software packages and was happy to discover that one software package had all the features he was looking for: 3-matic.

Materialise was proud to hear that its Materialise 3-matic package was, according to Max, “The best-suited and most efficient method in post-processing these topology-optimized results.” Materialise 3-matic makes it possible to create a seamless, printable file, avoiding the effortful redesign in CAD.


Research has shown that the Materialise 3-matic package is able to smoothen and reconstruct rough STL files and prepare them for computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). The software can also convert the design into CAD files and develop volume meshes for strength analysis (FEA).

Max was very happy with the outcome. With Materialise 3-matic, the post-processing time for the bracket was much shorter compared to other methods and came at a much lower cost. In addition, Materialise 3-matic offers more elaborate smoothing and repair functions, and the surface processing and creation of volume meshes give this package added value.

Want to know more about the software Max used? Check out our Materialise 3-matic webpage.

Interested in knowing more of the technical details of this case? Read the topology optimization case study.