Lattice Workflow: Unit Cells, Cell Maps, and Lattice Bodies

Beta Blocks

With the release of 2.15, the ability to use 'Beta Blocks' has launched. Beta blocks are blocks that are in development that are subject to change prior to transitioning into full production use. Beta blocks are generally not recommended for production use but are made available to users for early access to upcoming features. To turn on Beta blocks, go to File > Settings and check the 'Show Beta Blocks' box. 

With the release of 2.15, we are introducing a new approach to how lattices are built to allow more control over your design process. They now follow a three-step process: Unit Cell, Cell Map, and Periodic Lattice Body. To create a Periodic Lattice Body, you need a Unit Cell, a Cell Map, and a Thickness. Continue reading below to learn more about each part and their relationships.


Note: Download the example file for this article to follow along.

Unit Cell

There are two options for standard Unit Cells, TPMS and Graph. Each type has a dropdown menu where you can choose a different unit cell.


When selecting your cell type, a Unit Cell Preview will pop up. You can toggle between Implicit View and Graph View. With Implicit View on, you can change the Relative thickness of the Unit Cell. The Bounding Box can also be toggled on, to show the extents of the unit cell. 

Note: The preview will show thickness, but no thickness will be added to the Unit Cell at this step. 


Change the Unit Cells in the Example file to see all the options available. For a challengeadd an Orient Unit Cell block (a new beta block) to change the orientation of the cell. Test it out using the honeycomb cells and add it to the downstream workflow. 

Cell Map

The Cell Map is made completely separate from the Unit Cell. Its purpose is to map the layout of where the Unit Cell will go. There are three types of basic geometric Cell Maps: Rectangular, Cylindrical, and Spherical. In addition, there is a Cell Map from CAD Face block, which we'll review in a separate article. This will map out the Unit Cell in that specific orientation, allowing you to edit the size, radius, and cell counts. Each map has a Volume input that defines its extents and a Frame that defines the starting point and orientation of the map. 


When creating the Cell Map, you can view the Full map or Navigate the Map using the heads up display. The navigate map will allow you to take a closer look at each unit cell location. 


If the Volume is visible when you define the map, you will be able to see the intersection of the cell placement over the volume. The Unit Cell will be trimmed at these intersections. 


In the Example file, edit the size, count, and position of the cells. Try changing the Frame to see how it affects the lattice.

Periodic Lattice Body

The Periodic Lattice Body is where you combine all of the elements and give them a thickness value. This thickness value can be a scalar or a scalar field. This block works for all types of Unit Cells and Cell Maps. 



Change the thickness in the example file to use the Constant Value and compare it to the Ramp. Try inserting different Unit Cells, and changing the Cell Map values, and moving the Frame, to see how everything relates to each other. 

Using the Lattice Body in your Workflow

The Lattice Body block holds both of Graph Lattice and the Implicit Lattice together. Due to this, you will find that you can't insert it into a Lattice or Implicit input. Instead, you need to open up the Properties panel and choose the chip of which type you want to use. Do this by dragging the chip out into the Notebook. 

This method will work for all of the Lattice Body blocks including Lattice Body from Quad Mesh, Lattice Body from Surface Mesh, and Lattice Body from Volume Mesh. 


Interested in learning more about the new lattice workflow? Check out this article!

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