solidThinking Inspire Takes Structural Concepts to New Level25 Jun, 2013 By: Nancy Spurling Johnson
Version 9.5 further simplifies design optimization for engineers, product designers, and even architects.
How It Works
Jim Hassberger, solidThinking president, explained that the software allows users to develop and consider various design options at the start of the design process. “You can try a bunch of different things early, when you have more flexibility to make changes,” he said.
Inspire is ideal for redesigning moving parts and heavy cast components, such as those commonly found in automotive or aerospace applications. Using Inspire, Hassberger said, “You usually end up with lighter parts.”
Most Inspire users start with a legacy product model that they want to improve. Using geometry brought in from any 3D CAD solution, Inspire carves out the package space of the design. The user applies constraints such as maximum stress and deflections, maximum stiffness, minimum mass, or type of manufacturing process. That’s when Inspire generates an optimized material layout, typically adding holes or other features to produce a lighter part that meets structural requirements. The model that results is a solid and the file is in STL format — just like models used for 3D printing. Users can bring that file into CAD to use as the basis for new part designs, or simply take the features of the optimized design and apply as desired to the original model.
Inspire’s design-optimization process (left to right, top to bottom): 1. Import CAD model for an existing part or sketch in 2D and push and pull to create solids; 2. Create the package space, representing the maximum volume a part can occupy; 3. Assign materials and loading; 4. See the ideal part (and note that the optimal material layout may not be manufacturable); 5. Control the result by applying optional manufacturing and shape controls; 6. Develop a new part. (Click image to enlarge.)
About the Author: Nancy Spurling Johnson
Autodesk Technical Evangelist Lynn Allen guides you through a different AutoCAD feature in every edition of her popular "Circles and Lines" tutorial series. For even more AutoCAD how-to, check out Lynn's quick tips in the Cadalyst Video Gallery. Subscribe to Cadalyst's free Tips & Tools Weekly e-newsletter and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!