How to build a custom lattice unit cell


Learn how to create a custom lattice unit cell.


  • 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 2.19, new Beta Lattice functionality is being added to nTopology. One of the main added features is the Custom Unit Cell. The Custom Unit Cell follows the same method of creating lattices as described here



To create a Custom Unit Cell, you insert a Body and define the domain with a Bounding Box. The Unit Cell Domain defines the boundary of the Unit Cell and its spatial information within that boundary. 

1. Unit Cell Domain

Let's take a closer look at the Unit Cell Domain before looking at the Body. One method for defining the domain is to use the Bounding Box Chip that is a Property of the Implicit Body. This Bounding Box already matches the boundary of the Implicit and will create an exact fit for the Unit Cell. 


Another method is to define the Bounding Box separately by using the Bounding Box block. In the example below, the implicit is floating in the Unit Cell and is cut off by the Bounding Box. The space below it will be a part of the Unit Cell. 


2. Unit Cell Body

The Body input can be any Implicit Body or Lattice Type. It can be created in nTop using the primitive implicit shapes, or imported and then converted into an Implicit Body. When creating your custom unit cell, it is ideal to have it be of equal size in x,y,z directions to be easily scalable. 

Tip 1: If you want to create a honeycomb unit cell you can import a thin CAD surface. When you convert it to an implicit, you will need to use the Thicken Body block to give it some thickness. Adding the thickness allows you to insert it into the Body input of the Custom Unit Cell

Tip 2: When creating a Unit Cell that already has a thickness, set the Periodic Lattice Body Thickness to 0 and the Unit Cell will stay at its default thickness. Setting a higher Thickness value will add to the existing geometry. 


Are you still having issues? Contact the support team, and we’ll be happy to help!

Download the Example file:




More on this topic:


 import cad block lattice implicit boundary create body map custom cell unit beta uvw domain box 
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  • Hi,
    as a result, i receive a "lattice body". Is there a way to export this type? I would like to print the created structure. So far i tried to use the "export lattice" - command. I was able to create a .3mf file, but this file was empty. I get the same result, when I try to save it to a .ltcx file, just a blank file with no nodes or beams.

  • Hey Lukas, you want to open up the Properties of the Periodic Lattice Body block and extract either the Lattice type or the Implicit body. You can see this process at the bottom of this article:

  • Hi Cayleigh,
    thanks for the quick response. Now its working as i hoped for :)

  • Hi I've followed the steps and it worked however it crashed so when I attempt this again I no longer get to change the relative thickness in the bounding box anymore. Have I disabled it accidentally?

  • Hi Jacqueline, with the updates in nTopology 3.0, the relative thickness values have been removed from Custom Implicit Unit cells.


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