What are the limitations of exporting lattice structures to CAD?

Question:

  • What is the maximum size of a lattice that will export to CAD?
  • Can I export a lattice structure to CAD?

Applies to:

  • nTop 3.28+
  • SolidWorks, CATIA, Siemens NX, PTC Creo, STEP, Parasolid

Issue:

Prior to the release of nTopology 3.28, you were limited to mesh formats for exporting lattices. This was problematic, and depending on the lattice's complexity, meshing blocks such as Quadrangulate Mesh would either throw an error or fail to complete. nTop's lattice to CAD export capabilities have improved, and we recommend different procedures depending on the complexity of your lattice.

 

Answer:

The procedure you'll use to create a CAD part will depend on the complexity of your model. We define lattice complexity as the following:

Low - Medium

  • Beam or face-based lattices: up to 10k beams or faces
  • TPMS lattices: up to 1k unit cells

Lattices at this level of complexity can be converted into CAD Bodies with 50k or fewer faces, so their detailed geometry can be consumed by traditional CAD systems. Use the CAD Body from Implicit Body  (Beta) block as explained in Procedure 2 here.

High

  • Beam or face-based lattices: > 10k beams or faces
  • TPMS lattices: > 1k unit cells

A CAD Body generated from a lattice at this complexity would have many thousands or even millions of faces, so the detailed geometry could not be consumed by traditional CAD systems. Use the Simplified Body Representation block as described here. This enables you to still perform weight studies, check clearances, and more.

 

More on this topic:

Keywords:

 cad mesh lattice export solidworks creo nx catia parasolid step quadrangulate quad 
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