Generative design achieves an output by using a set of composed rules or an algorithm to create often parametric results. It’s steamrollered in acceptance as new programming environments such as Processing or scripting-based programs such as Rhinoceros 3D have simplified the implementation of ideas.
Generative methods have roots in systems dynamics modeling and their very nature means they tend to be repetitive processes where a solution results from a number of design operations and iterations.
Now Autodesk has created what they call Autodesk Within, a set of generative design software solutions aimed at engineering users who wish to build and 3D print lightweight objects for the automotive, medical implant, aerospace and industrial equipment markets.
An optimization engine takes input parameters – such as desired weight requirements, maximum stress and displacement – and then generates designs with what they call “variable-density lattice structures and surface skins.” The final objects can be tailored to exacting specifications, and the resulting components offer advantages over traditionally-designed parts. The process and optimization mean parts can be as stiff – or as flexible – as required for a given application.
Mark Davis, the senior director of design research for Autodesk, says that in industries from automotive to aerospace, the need for constant innovation in how parts are designed and manufactured is a given.
“Generative design, advances in material science, and new fabrication techniques are allowing engineers to deliver components that were never before possible,” Davis says. “Autodesk Within enables designers to create high-performing parts while enforcing design rules and adhering to additive manufacturing constraints.”
He says these processes and approaches have lead to optimization of cost, materials and fabrication techniques early on in the manufacturing process rather than later in the cycle when changes are “exponentially more expensive.” Some features of the software suite include the ability to design lightweight parts which use internal lattices, lattice optimization and skin optimization, displaying stress test results, the built-in optimization engine and the ability to optimize designs for accurate additive manufacturing.
Autodesk is also involved in other generative design initiatives which include Project Dreamcatcher.
The Autodesk Within software is based on a technology the company received from the 2014 acquisition of the London-based Within Labs.
Do you use Autodesk software in your work? What do you think of Autodesk Within? Let us know in the Autodesk Within forum thread on 3DPB.com.