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nTopology introduces 3rd generation latticing technology

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DfAM software specialist nTopology introduced its 3rd generation latticing technology, its “most advanced lattice generation tool”. The new tool addresses limitations in the ability to develop new features that unlock an even broader range of 3D printing applications.

The new latticing technology release includes 37 blocks that have been in development over the past 22 months. According to the company, hundreds of nTop users are already using the new latticing technology. In fact, 45% of users doing latticing work in nTopology were already using the new blocks even before their full release.

In order to make it as easy as possible for new nTop users to access the new latticing tools from the moment they start using the software, the developers separated the lattice generation processes into three fundamental steps: select a unit cell, define the cell map, and control lattice parameters (such as thickness). Mastering these simple steps makes it faster and more intuitive to learn how to apply advanced latticing and DfAM techniques later.

nTopology introduces 3rd generation latticing technology for fast lattice generation and a greater level of control of latticing tools
The new tools separate the lattice generation process into three fundamental components: unit cell, cell map, and lattice parameters.

In the updated Lattices tab, users will find three new easy-to-use blocks that enable them to quickly replicate the outputs of workflows using the old latticing technology. Users can use these blocks to transition their existing workflows to the new latticing technology at their own pace.

Fast latticing technology

Transitioning workflows to the new latticing technology, leads to a significant performance increase, especially when working with lattices with a very high beam and unit cell count. In one benchmark example, a lattice with 50,000+ unit cells that used to take 45-60 seconds to generate on a well-equipped laptop now rebuilds in 1-2 seconds.

This is a 50x performance increase to the already fastest lattice generation tools. It means that lattice structures with 50,000+ unit cells can now be rebuilt in a matter of seconds. The results are rendered in real-time—thanks to GPU acceleration.

For experienced nTop users, the new latticing technology comes equipped with many new capabilities that streamline lattice design and optimization. These new tools can be used to create performance-driven lattice generation processes that have engineering requirements already built into your model.

For example, the new Lattice Warping tools allow users to apply Field-Driven Design techniques to control the lattice cell map the same way they can control its thickness. Combining this feature with real-time visualization enables them to precisely tune those complex shapes. It also gives them a new and powerful way to design conformal lattices.

nTopology introduces 3rd generation latticing technology for fast lattice generation and a greater level of control of latticing tools
A pressure map controls the cell size of this cell map. The result is a shoe sole that is stiffer in areas that need more support.

Lattice generation now follows a unified Unified Latticing Workflow whether working with a graph, TPMS, or custom unit cell. This feature makes it far simpler to rapidly iterate between different lattice types, saving time. It also makes it easier to set up computational Design of Experiments for optimization.

The new latticing blocks offer a unified design workflow for lattice design. Users can exchange unit cell and cell map types to explore a broader design space faster.

The new filtering utilities enable the selection of lattice beams based on specific criteria like length, angle, connectivity, or thickness. This capability allows to spatially control certain parameters of the lattice structures and optimize them for manufacturing.

The new latticing technology also offers the ability to create cell maps that conform to the surface of a quad mesh. Surface lattices enable users to design conformal rib grids to increase the stiffness of bodies with even the most complex or organic shapes.

nTopology introduces 3rd generation latticing technology for fast lattice generation and a greater level of control of latticing tools
This surface lattice acts as a stiffening rib grid on this topology-optimized body to further increase its strength without adding extra weight. 

“With the new latticing blocks, I have a lot more control over lattice design—especially over the cell map. In one of my projects, I had to warp the lattice in specific ways. That would be very difficult to do without quickly visualizing the cell map. This feature alone enables me to do a lot more precise tuning of those complex shapes.”Ross Brown, AM Engineer at Marotta Controls

The next latticing technology

The new latticing tools introduce some powerful capabilities, but a lot more is on the way from nTopology. The new latticing technology infrastructure allows the development team to rapidly build revolutionary new optimization tools that will enable future innovations.

The new Field-Driven Lattice Optimization latticing technology has laid the foundation for a novel and powerful field-driven optimization capability. nTopology is currently testing new tools to automatically generate lattice structures optimized for your specific engineering requirements, such as targeted stiffness or weight.

nTopology introduces 3rd generation latticing technology for fast lattice generation and a greater level of control of latticing tools
In this example, the cell size of the Voronoi lattice was automatically generated to achieve a targeted stiffness response.

The R&D team is also working on custom graph unit cells. Soon, nTop users will be able to sketch their custom unit cells and define the associated design parameters, including beam thickness, length, fillet radii, and more.

The team is already working on expanding nTopology’s conformal lattice generation capabilities to complement the existing conformal latticing tools. This means that users will soon be able to design lattice cell maps that conform to multiple surfaces or organic volumes.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites VoxelMatters.com and Replicatore.it, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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