Meshing Tools in nTop Platform

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There are a variety of meshing tools in nTop Platform to help in manufacturing output workflows, simulation workflows, and other key areas. This document is intended to be an overview of the various meshing techniques in nTop Platform and provide additional tips and tricks (link) for common meshing applications.

 

Surface Meshing

Surface meshing blocks are used to generate a surface mesh from implicit or other types of input data. 

  • Mesh from Implicit Body: Convert an implicit body to a surface mesh 

    • Captures sharp features well, can potentially have self-intersections depending on geometry

  • Voxel Grid From Implicit and Mesh from Voxel Grid: Convert voxel grid to a surface mesh and an implicit body into a voxel grid

    • This will often produce a cleaner mesh than mesh from implicit, however sharp features may be lost (to a tolerance)

  • Mesh from CAD Body: Convert CAD body to a surface mesh

    • If the CAD object has holes or other errors when importing, this may cause issues with the resulting mesh

  • Extract Volume Mesh Boundary: Reduces a volume mesh to a surface mesh by extracting the outer triangles

    • Extracting the boundary of a tetrahedral volume mesh will guarantee no meshing issues (holes, intersections etc) but is dependent on time to generate tetrahedral mesh

  • Quadrangulate Mesh: Converts a triangle mesh into a quad mesh by remeshing

    • An important part of the Conversion to CAD process for 

 

Volume Meshing

Volume meshing blocks are used to create 3D meshes primarily used for simulation within nTop Platform or to be exported to external simulation tools. An input surface mesh is required for volume meshing.

  • Volume Mesh: Convert a surface mesh into a volume mesh

    • This block creates robust volume mesh if the input surface mesh is clean. If it is not, it is recommended to use the tetrahedral mesh block 

  • Robust Tetrahedral Mesh: Convert a surface mesh into a volume mesh

    • This is the most robust conversion tool available for creating a volume mesh however, the block takes considerably more time than the Volume mesh block. The default tolerance value is 0.001mm. Consider increasing to increase speed

  • FE Volume Mesh: Convert a Volume Mesh to an FE Mesh for simulation and TopOpt

     

    • FE Mesh is a different data type that contains the same geometrical information as a volume mesh, but also includes the desired order (linear or quadratic) for the finite element analysis that will be performed

Note: please refer to Common Meshing Techniques (link) for hints, tips and tricks to correctly create a mesh for simulation. 

 

Mesh Utilities

The mesh utilities blocks are used for manipulating/altering surface meshes. This can be done to reduce triangle count to reduce file size or to better capture sharp surfaces 

  • Remesh Surface: Allows the user to alter a surface mesh to desired properties

    • Often used to achieve a similar edge length along all edges. This is required for accurate simulations. Also allows for field-driven mesh size definition. See more detailed information on the  input options here.

  • Refine Mesh: Refines a mesh using subdivision 

    • This will increase the size of any mesh to be exported, by increasing the triangle count

  • Split Mesh: Splits a mesh into multiple mesh objects 

    • Can be used to create separate objects of disconnected parts of an implicit for further downstream operations

  • Filter Mesh List: Can filter the split mesh results based on a volume to remove small disconnected pieces from the mesh

    • Commonly used for minor mesh fixing

  • Merge Mesh: Merges multiple mesh objects

    • Commonly used to export one mesh object that may have disconnected pieces

  • Merge FE Meshes: Combines FE Meshes to generate one single mesh by collapsing nodes that are within a given tolerance

    • Unlike the Merge Mesh block, this block contains a tolerance that allows mesh vertices within a given tolerance to be joined into one

  • Simplify Mesh By Amount: Reduce number of triangles on surface mesh 

    • This block aims to reduce the triangle count by a factor of the original ranging from (0,1)

  • Simplify Mesh by Threshold: Reduce number of triangles on surface mesh 

    • This block aims to reduce the triangle count by a tolerance/feature size (distance threshold)

 

 

Exporting a Surface Mesh 

To export a mesh simply right click on the mesh block in the notebook and select export or use the “Export Mesh” block.

  • STL: Surface mesh file type commonly used for 3D printing. 

  • OBJ: Surface mesh file type that is slightly lighter in weight than STL and can contain both triangle and quads.

  • 3MF: Mesh file type that significantly reduces the file size of the the mesh and is supported by most major build processors such as Magics and Netfabb.

 

Exporting a Volume Mesh

To export a mesh simply right click on the mesh block in the notebook and select export or use the “Export Mesh” block.

  • MSH: 3D mesh file format from the GMSH library



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