What is lattice structure
A lattice structure is an engineering or architectural structure made of a crisscross pattern of strips. It can help you to make your objects lighter but stronger. Lattice structures are more than an ornamental feature since they give your final object a reinforced and optimized structure. The lattice designs feature a network of crosshatch sections. There are different types of lattices.
Benefits from lattice structure
–Parts will be stronger
3D printing materials are so varied and it is easy to find the proper material for your project. If you want to manufacture complex designs with lattice, usually it is very hard to do that with a traditional manufacture technique, such as CNC machining, laser cutting, etc. But 3D printing technique is ok.
An object built with lattices can be really resistant, more flexible or more stress resistant. You will be able to make the most of the power of a functional structure. When you design a mechanical part, you must consider the the material but you cannot forget about the design. To help strengthening the material, there are tweaks and design features that give your object strength and solidity, for example, lattices, voronoi patterns, topology, jigsaw- structures, etc.
–Reduce the weight of your 3D printed object
Choosing the right 3D printing material will help you to reduce weight. But you can try to reduce the weight by choosing to print with lattice structures as well. The plain material structure can be replaced by the crosshatch sections which reduces the amount of material, and that will reduce the weight.
Keep in mind that it won’t be less resistant because the object is lighter. In fact, the lattice design can help to create really resistant parts. The goal of a lattice structure is to improve the strength of a part with a minimum of material.
–You can save money
If you print your object with full of materials, it may be expensive. But if you create lattice on your model, there will be less material. In the additive manufacturing sector, the less material equals to a lower price. So it is a good way to reduce your 3d printing price.
It is possible to print lattices for many diverse projects, with different materials, from plastic to metal.
–Better heat dissipation during printing process
With a plain structure, the heat is dissipated to the closest wall depending on its thickness. If the heat cannot be dissipated well, it may cause shrinkage and damage your object. With a lattice structure and the hollowed crossed-sections, heat can be dissipated faster and more uniformly, and the object’s quality will be improved.
Tools to create lattice structure
Here are some offline tools that can be used to generate lattices in your solid CAD file.
–Autodesk Within Medical
Autodesk Within Medical allows biomedical engineers to create orthopedic implants with micro-lattice porous structures that help properly connect the implants to living bone , and promote development of blood vessels in the surrounding tissue (vascularization) to facilitate healing.
With nTopology, you can easily create lattice structures using existing CAD or mesh based geometry.
It has robust tools that give you full control over your lattice structure designs. Effortlessly create all variety of structures and manipulate your lattice designs.
3-matic allows you to create complex, 3D printable internal and external structures that add extra strength, provide cushioning, increase porosity, or simply reduce the weight of your design (lightweight structures). In addition, you can easily enhance your design with aesthetic or functional textures, perforations and patterns. Since you work directly on STL data, your design is ready for FEA analysis or can be used for 3D Printing.
–3dxpert for solidworks
The tool delivers an entire new tool set to SOLIDWORKS users for rapid, robust design for additive manufacturing. Supporting both plastic and metal 3D printing, it delivers unprecedented ease-of-use to DFAM – adding lattice, support structures, arranging the build platform and more in an integrated workflow that removes long and cumbersome design iterations.
3DXpert for SOLIDWORKS is available exclusively for SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD subscribers. The SOLIDWORKS subscription has included 3DXpert Standard Edition and you can download the tool at no extra cost.
MeshMixer is a free open source software from Autodesk. It’s one of the leading programs to edit and prepare mesh files like. stl and .obj. Mesh Mixer offers a large variety of different tools to prepare and improve 3D object for 3D printing.
Read more here <How to create voronoi on STL model with Meshmixer>.