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Design for Additive Manufacturing: Creating Lattice Structures in NX CAD 

In this NX CAD video, Application Engineer, Kyle Bentley, demonstrates how easy it is to create lattice structures for additive manufacturing in NX 12.

In this Snackbyte video, PROLIM PLM Application Engineer, Kyle Bentley, demonstrates the use of lattice structures in NX CAD as a method of design for additive manufacturing.

Kyle has a connecting rod in this video with a couple of gaps in the middle. Leaving the gaps makes the rod lightweight, easier to design and cheaper to manufacture. Those gaps might also be sacrificing the part’s strength and integrity. 

To solve this, NX makes it easy to create a variety of lattice structures to strengthen parts with just a couple of clicks. Let’s look at some of the features of the “Lattice” command:

  • There are two different types of lattice structures in NX 12 (found under “Type” in “Lattice”): “Unit Graph” and “Conformal Graph.” 
  • After selecting a type of lattice structure, you’ll be prompted to select a body or volume. In the video, Kyle selects the long opening in the connecting rod. This tells NX where the lattice structures are to be placed. 
  • With a “Unit Graph” lattice structure, you have several different options for creating lattice structures in a linear form. This is located under “Unit Cell.” You can change the size of each lattice by altering dimensions associated with “Edge Length” and “Rod Diameter.” 
    • You can expand the preview of a lattice. Once you’ve selected the type of lattice, the system will generate a single structure in your desired volume. Previewing the results allows you to see what the entire body, filled with lattices, would look like. The advantage to this, of course, is that you haven’t actually applied the lattice structures, so you can still make changes based on the preview. 
    • In the case of Kyle’s video, you can see the lattices protruding from the selected volume—they’re extending further than desired. Since this occurred after viewing the preview, you’ll need to select “Undo Preview” to return to the part without lattices. Now, select the option “Remove Dangling Rods at Selected Faces” under “Boundary Trim.” After selecting a face and previewing results, the lattices will now be trimmed. 
  • With the “Conformal Graph” type, you can create lattice structures that conform to a shape. As with “Unit Graph,” you have the same options to alter edge dimensions and rod diameter.  
    • With a contoured shape, you want the lattice structure to follow the path of the contour. Instead of selecting a body or volume, you’ll select a face or surface to run the lattices along. This is an offset or extracted surface, with another offset between. After selecting the face, you can select the “Cell Type,” then choose the dimensions. 
    • Under “Graph,” you’ll notice an “Offset” field. With only one “Layer” selected, the system will just create one set of lattices. With two, you’ll see the entire space filled with lattices, around the offset face. 

 With that, you can begin creating complex lattice structures to improve and strengthen your designs with just a couple clicks. 


Up to date on the latest changes in NX 12? If you’re not, be sure to check out the newest changes in Brandon Carter’s What’s New in NX 12? Lunchbyte!


Would you like to see a Snackbyte about a specific functionality in NX CAD, NX CAM, Solid Edge or Teamcenter? Send us a Tweet at @prolimglobal or leave a comment below! 

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