Modeling for 3D Printing with Inspire
You must at first understand that the file set up with Inspire will not only be a visual representation, but also the means for the 3D printer to create a physical object.
In this part, you will learn the key features of Inspire to create a model to be 3D printed.
Inspire is a very ergonomic software: it is no longer necessary to look for the appropriate tool in drop down menus. The functions are organized in groups, and the functionalities are highlighted yellow when you move your mouse over it. You can then click on it to activate the tool.
Since Inspire is a topologic optimization tool, the conception methodology is not quite like a typical CAD software. There are two complementary approaches:
- The conception of
functional parts, on which will be applied the efforts (such as
a mechanical link with another component). The geometry is in this case
completely set by the user.
- The creation of the design space, which is a volume that represents the maximum space the part can occupy (the software will suggest different geometries that fit in the space)
Start by opening the
Geometry tab, which is separated in three sections.
1. Home allows you to manage files and measure parts.
Create lets you create sketches, repair imported components in order
to reconceive them, and the tool
PolyNURBS enables you to transform the raw calculated geometry by
the software into an ergonomic part.
Modify allows you to build and modify the volumes you have created.
Draw your first sketch with the
Once the sketch is finished, escape it. Inspire will then generate the surface corresponding to your sketch. To turn it into a volume, use the Push/Pull tool. You can choose to extrude a surface in one direction, or create a volume by making the surface revolve around an axis.
Click and pull the surface to generate a volume. You can type in the exact value
of the extrusion if you wish to be more precise.
To construct a second sketch, you only need to select a
sketch creation tool and click on a surface of the solid you have
just created, and the sketch plane will appear. You can modify the location
and rotation of the plane with the
Move the plane tool to adapt it to your needs.
You can create a new separate part from a sketch, either by clicking on the
New Part tool while editing the sketch, or simply by pressing the
shift key while extruding the sketch into a volume. You will then
notice on the picture below that there are now two parts in the
Model Browser (
It is crucial to have separate bodies to distinguish the
functional parts from the
Design Space. Loads will be applied on the handles to simulate the
action of the cyclist's hand, the handles are therefore functional and their
geometry must not be changed by the software. However there will be no loads
directly applied on the bike frame, thus you will let Inspire generate the
shape of the part by making it a
design space. A part is by default functional. With a
right click on the part, you can check the
option design space. The selected part will then appear brown.
In order to gain time while conceiving, you can generate multiple distinct parts
in a single sketch, as long as those parts are in the same plane.
Once the parts are extruded, there will be multiple bodies in the software. You
can then operate a
Boolean operation between two bodies. Three options are possible:
Combine two bodies (
Subtract one body to another (
Intersect two bodies (
When subtracting, you must indicate the
body Target and the
body Tool (
the tool cuts the target). Inspire will automatically delete the
body Tool, unless you check the
Keep the tools option.
The extrusion tool can also be used to cut mater instead of adding mater, the extrusion will therefore be counted as negative by the software.
By using the Boolean tool to create a gap where the wheel will be, you will obtain the final geometry of the model.
You can now add the loads in order to optimize the bike frame.