nTop Platform 2.15 - What's new

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Summary

nTopology nTop Platform 2.15 is here! The main feature of this release is a brand new lattice pipeline (currently in beta), featuring 14 new blocks that will significantly streamline your lattice generation capabilities. There’s also a powerful new slicing capability that allows you to export slices to black and white image stacks for DLP, SLA, and other similar resin-based machines. In addition, this release features new slicing utilities for simplifying and trimming slice stacks, as well as new simulation units and new list sorting blocks. As with every release, nTopology’s dedicated support team is ready to answer your questions. 

New Features and Improvements

New Lattice Pipeline (Beta)

  • We’ve introduced a new lattice pipeline that provides you with a more flexible yet unified framework for generating complex lattice structures. This framework consists of three primary steps:
    • Select a Unit Cell
    • Define a Cell Map
    • Generate a Lattice Body

NewLatticePipeline.png

  • Whether you are looking to apply a lattice to a CAD face or are looking to fill a volume with one, you only need to follow the three steps above to generate a lattice.
  • We’ve published support articles to help you learn how to use these new features:
  • This new pipeline is currently in Beta. Beta blocks are generally not recommended for production use as they may change but are made available to users for early access to upcoming features. To see all Beta blocks, please go to File > Settings > General and check Show Beta Blocks.
  • We will upgrade all features of the previous lattice pipeline to work with the new pipeline as these beta blocks transition into production.
  • Although this new lattice pipeline is in Beta, it will transition to production in the next several months. At this point, all files containing the previous pipeline blocks will still be openable, but the blocks themselves will only be available via the search bar.

Slice Body to Black & White Image Stack

A new Slice Body to B&W Image Stack has been added, which allows you to create manufacturing data for DLP, SLA, and other similar resin-based machines. You can specify your own physical build volume as well as an image resolution of up to 1 billion pixels. The resulting .png file format image stack will be placed in a zip file in a folder that you choose. Below is an outline of this new block.

  • Slice Body to B&W Image Stack
    • Return Type: Slice Image Data
    • Ribbon Location: Manufacturing/Exchange
    • Description: “Slices an implicit body and generates an image for each slice in the stack.”
    • Inputs
      • Path
        • Type: File Path
        • Description: “Path to zip file for exporting the image stack.”
      • Fill suffix
        • Type: Bool
        • Description: “Enabling will fill the suffix with zeros based on the number of slices.”
      • Implicit
        • Type: Implicit Body
        • Description: “Implicit Body to Slice.”
      • Layer height
        • Type: Scalar
        • Description: “Spacing between slice layers.”
      • Frame
        • Type: Frame
        • Description: “Manufacturing coordinate system that is placed on the build plate.”
      • Print volume
        • Type: Bounding Box
        • Description: “Volume that encompasses the printable volume of the machine.”
      • Image X resolution
        • Type: Integer
        • Description: “Defines the number of pixels in the X direction.”
      • Image Y resolution
        • Type: Integer
        • Description: “Defines the number of pixels in the Y direction.”
      • Grayscale bits
        • Type: Slice Png Style Enum
        • Description: “Number of bits per pixel of the output png.”
      • Feature size
        • Type: Scalar
        • Description: “Minimum feature size to accurately capture details. Leaving this empty will sample at the pixel resolution specified above.”

SliceBodytoBWImageStack1.png The Implicit body to slice.

SliceBodytoBWImageStack2.png The resulting black and white png image slice stack.

Simplify Slice Stack (Beta)

  • We have introduced a new Simplify Slice Stack that reduces the size of vector-based slice files through a point reduction technique defined by a threshold. Below is an outline of this new block:
  • Simplify Slice Stack
    • Return Type: Slice Stack
    • Ribbon Location: Beta
    • Description: “Reduces the number of points in open and closed polylines within a vector slice stack.”
    • Inputs:
      • Slice stack:
        • Type: Slice stack
        • Description: “Slice stack on which to perform point reduction.”
      • Threshold:
        • Type: Scalar
        • Description: “Deviation threshold or tolerance value for point reduction. Deviation greater than this threshold value will not occur during point reduction. Deviation up to this value may occur.”
  • The Simplify Slice Stack block is currently in Beta. Beta blocks are generally not recommended for production use as they may change but are made available to users for early access to upcoming features. To see all Beta blocks, please go to File > Settings > General and check Show Beta Blocks.

SimplifySliceStack.png The original slice stack (left) compared to a simplified slice stack of the original at a very high threshold (right).

Heat Flux Result Vector

  • You can now derive the heat flux result vector from a linear steady-state heat transfer analysis.
  • This feature is available through the Thermal Analysis Heads Up Display, which becomes visible upon completion of the analysis.

Trim Slice Stack (Beta)

  • We have added a new Trim Slice Stack block that allows you to trim a slice stack with an implicit body, to make it fit within the body. Below is an outline of this new block:
  • Trim Slice Stack
    • Return Type: Slice Stack
    • Ribbon Location: Beta
    • Description: “Trims a slice stack and returns only the portion lying inside the given body. This may result in open contours.”
    • Inputs
      • Slice stack:
        • Type: Slice Stack
        • Description: “Slice stack on which the trimming will be performed.”
      • Trimming body:
        • Type: Slice Stack
        • Description: “Body to use to perform trimming of the slice stack.”
  • The Trim Slice Stack block is currently in Beta. Beta blocks are generally not recommended for production use as they may change but are made available to users for early access to upcoming features. To see all Beta blocks, please go to File > Settings > General and check Show Beta Blocks.

TrimSliceStack.png An example of a slice stack (left) and the same slice stack but trimmed (right).

US Customary Units for Simulation Parameters

  • We’ve introduced new simulation units that can be typed in US Customary format. These units can also be combined with the rest of our system’s units. Below is an outline of all new supported units :
    • Watt: W (including Kilowatt: kW, Megawatt: Mw)
    • Joule: J
    • Hertz: Hz
    • British Thermal Unit: BTU or Btu
    • Kilopound Per Square Inch: ksi
  • Below is an outline of all unit conversions:
SI US Customary
N, kN lbf
Pa, MPa, GPa psi, ksi
J Btu or BTU
W, kW, MW Btu/hr
Hz Hz
N*m lbf*ft
N/m lbf/ft
W/m^2 Btu/(hr*ft^2)
W/m^3 Btu/(hr*ft^3)
m/s^2 ft/s^2
kg/m^3 lb/ft^3
   

Show Volume Mesh Elements with the Section Cut Tool

  • You can now make the tet elements of a volume mesh visible while using the section cut tool.
  • To use this new feature, check the Show volume mesh elements option in the Section Cut window. See the example below. You can also choose to turn off the outline via the Display style dropdown menu.

ShowVolumeMeshElements.png

Sort List & Sort List by Proxy

  • We’ve introduced a new block called Sort List, which provides you with the ability to either sort a list in ascending order or sort a list based on the order of another list, called a Proxy.

  • You can get the reversed order of a list by extracting the reversed property from the Properties tab.

  • This block contains two overload states, the first being Sort List and the second being Sort List by Proxy. Below is a description of each overload state and its input(s).

  • Sort List

    • Return Type: Any
    • Ribbon Location: Utilities/General
    • Description: “Sorts the values in the list.”
    • Inputs:
      • List
        • Type: List Interface
        • Description: “List that is to be sorted.”
  • Sort List by Proxy

    • Return Type: Any
    • Ribbon Location: Utilities/General
    • Description: “Sorts the values in the list based on another proxy list.”
    • Inputs
      • List
        • Type: List Interface
        • Description: “List that is to be sorted.”
      • Proxy:
        • Type: List Interface
        • Description: “Proxy values by which to sort the list.”

Bug Fixes

  • The thickness field in the Shell block was reading a 0.1mm thickness as less than 0.
  • In some instances, the Quadrangulate Mesh block was outputting bad meshes.
  • nTop Platform would crash when the tab button was pressed while moving the gimbal.
  • nTop Platform would crash when building the view of a scalar field variable with a value of x.
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