A Quick Route to a Clean File
Topology optimization is a next-generation software tool that reduces the weight of an indicated space, taking into account the material properties and a fixed set of loads on the design space. Results from these packages are typically organic-looking STL files, but with very rough surface quality. Materialise 3-matic offers STL design tools that clean up the rough results of topology optimization, avoiding the elaborate step of re-building these organic files in CAD.
Rough STL files can be smoothed, reconstructed and simplified for a cleaner part. All operations take place at STL level to exclude error-prone conversions to other file formats. Certain regions of the STL file can also be split to easily rebuild them as perfect CAD entities, such as cylinders, cones and planes. The smoothing and surface reconstruction operations are even able to redesign organic surfaces to minimize the amount of NURBS required to rebuild a potential CAD file.
Export to FEA
Topology optimization cannot take into account all types of stress on an individual file. If additional simulation is required to meet design requirements, Materialise 3-matic can export the cleaned and redesigned STL file to a range of FEA packages such as Abaqus or Nastran, reducing the design–FEA loop. The Materialise 3-matic Remesh Module can also be used to clean up the mesh for an even faster FEA simulation.
Export to a CAD Model
To export STL files as CAD entities, Materialise 3-matic incorporates a CAD Link Module. Using this module, organic surfaces can be exported with a minimal amount of CAD patches.
Export to a Printed Prototype
The anisotropic simulation of parts produced by Additive Manufacturing is still under development, but you may still want to do empirical tests on some parts to see whether the printed parts correspond with your simulations.
The Spider Bracket: A Topology Optimization Project by Altair, Materialise and Renishaw
Materialise worked together with Altair and Renishaw to create an R&D spider bracket. The amazing thing about this bracket is that it contains hybrid lattice structures and is successfully 3D printed in Titanium. This design could not have been created with conventional manufacturing methods.
Using Topology Optimization for an Aircraft Engine Bracket
A Delft University graduate student wanted to use topology optimization to minimize the volume and weight of an aircraft engine bracket. However, it was taking too long to convert optimized files back to a CAD format: until he tried Materialise 3-matic.
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