On the Brink of a New Design Age
Topology optimization is a technique used to reduce the weight of objects without compromising strength and stiffness. Case in point: Altair used this technique to minimize the volume of a solid race car brake pedal. The rough topology-optimized brake pedal was then redesigned in CAD manually to prepare it for production using conventional manufacturing methods. However, redesigning these organic models can be a time-consuming, elaborate and difficult job. What’s more, the result was a brake pedal that still was not as light as it could be.
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Fast-forward to today. The arrival of 3D printing technology means it is no longer necessary to design within the constraints of conventional manufacturing methods. Manual conversion to CAD becomes redundant since designs can be imported into Materialise’s Materialise 3-matic software, cleaned up and redesigned for 3D Printing without having to go back to CAD.
How does it work? Firstly, Materialise 3-matic was used to smoothen the design, remove artifacts, fix file errors, flatten surfaces and straighten edges. After the smoothing process, Materialise 3-matic was used to add thickness to the regions that were too thin for 3D Printing and to create rims on the pedal. With the texturing module, a functional texture was then applied on the pedal to improve the grip.
Better, Faster and Lighter
When comparing the model that Altair designed for conventional manufacturing to the one they redesigned in Materialise 3-matic, it turns out that both parts are equally strong and have the same bending force. In other words, Altair’s organic model is as strong as the other one.
Altair no longer needs to reconvert organic-looking, topology-optimized designs back to CAD. Using Additive Manufacturing and 3D printing technology, they can create models with complex free-form structures that are strong and light. In fact, this brake pedal designed for 3D Printing is 20 % lighter than the one designed for conventional manufacturing methods. The design process is shorter and because tooling is no longer required, production time is reduced as well.
Altair is proud of its optimized 3D-printed race car brake pedal! The automotive industry is not the only one that benefits from the improved process flow with Materialise 3-matic; the medical, aerospace, and many other industries can now leverage the full capacity of topology optimization.
Do you think 3D printing software could improve your business, but you don’t know what option fits your business best? Our company is built on a great passion for 3D printing software. Let’s have a talk and see how we can render your business more efficient.