Methods for creating surface meshes


Learn the different methods available for creating surface meshes. If you are looking for how to create a surface mesh, go here

Applies to:

  • Exporting, design analysis, topology optimization, manufacturing


Mesh from Implicit Body by Voxels

Mesh from Implicit Body

Mesh from CAD Body

Extract Volume Mesh Boundary

Quadrangulate Mesh

Mesh from Implicit Body by Voxels (beta):

The block produces a clean mesh from an Implicit Body.  It is just one of several blocks we are adding this year to give you cleaner, lighter, faster, and more accurate meshing capabilities.

The block works by first creating a 3D grid of voxels throughout the bounding box of the object. The voxels that intersect with the input body are maintained, and a mesh is generated from the voxel edges. In order to reduce the ‘boxiness of voxelized meshes, we’ve included an optional ‘Simplify’ input that smoothes over sharp edges and points that may be artifacts of the voxelization. Compared to the standard Mesh from Implicit Body block, this block creates the same mesh about 10x faster and is much less prone to self-intersection, non-manifold, and other mesh errors. This means downstream mesh errors encountered during FEA and manufacturing preparation can be prevented.

  Pros   Cons
  • High Quality Meshing - Produces clean manifold meshes without self-intersections
  • Very robust and useful for capturing detail in complex parts
  • Captures details on TPMS and lattices well
  • Can be exported without further refinement
  • Eliminates sharp edges to a tolerance. Fix this by lowering the tolerance and simplifying the mesh* This can be fixed when used with the Sharpen Mesh (beta) block




Mesh from Implicit Body:

Convert an implicit body to a surface mesh.

  Pros   Cons
  • Captures sharp features.
  • Can have self-intersections depending on the geometry.
  • Typically requires further refinement.


The feature size input of this block should be less than the minimum feature size you want to capture in your implicit body. It is the minimum feature size to preserve and not an exact mesh size. Since all future meshes will be based on this, you should consider using a very small feature size for intricate implicit bodies, and then remesh to a coarser mesh later.

Suggested Feature sizes:

    • Lattices: ≤ 1.0 x thickness
    • Curved thin wall: < 0.6 x thickness
    • Flat thin walls: No constraint (use adaptivity > 0)

The adaptivity input takes in a number greater than 0, which controls if mesh elements will increase in size over flat areas. Low values will result in a more uniform and accurate mesh, while larger values will result in lower element counts. 

    • 0: uniform mesh
    • 1: maximum decimation (fewer triangles)



Mesh from CAD Body:

Convert CAD Body to a surface mesh.

  Pros   Cons
  • Discretizes CAD geometry when implicit nTop geometry is not required.
  • If the imported CAD part has errors or holes, this may cause issues with the resulting mesh.
  • Typically requires further refinement.


Extract Volume Mesh Boundary:

Reduces a volume mesh to a surface mesh by extracting the outer triangles. 

  Pros   Cons
  • Guarantees no meshing issues such as holes or intersections.
  • Useful for complex parts. 
  • Cleans up input surface meshes that have errors
  • Dependent on the time it takes to generate a tetrahedral mesh.




Quadrangulate Mesh:

Converts a triangle mesh into a quad mesh by remeshing it.

  Pros   Cons
  • Results can be used to convert to a CAD part. 
  • Ideal for topology optimized parts
  • Only works on manifold meshes.
  • Meshes may need further refinement before being converted into a Quad mesh.
  • Not for use with lattices or TPMS structures. 



More on this topic:


 mesh surface volume implicit meshing boundary create from voxel grid quadrangulate quad methods extract voxels 
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