Both solidThinking Inspire & solidThinking Evolve have grown to become tools that designers just can’t do without. solidThinking Inspire allows design engineers, product designers, and architects to create and investigate structurally efficient concepts quickly and easily and solidThinking Evolve allows them to develop forms faster, using either Windows or Mac OS X.
Very recently, Nicholas Hardman, the Director of HardMarque walked us through his experience of using both the software to design and additive manufacture a titanium automotive piston. This is his story….
HardMarque is a digital design and manufacturing studio focused on creating “Future Factories”, additive-manufacturing facilities that focus on just-in-time production and delivery of custom, made-to- order parts ordered through the Internet. They took upon the challenge to re-imagine the current piston design process to manufacture a piston, so that the new process creates a version that is lighter and equally strong.
The industry here is: Automotive/Additive Manufacturing
The Results that came out of the process can be outlined as thus:
- Concept generation in Inspire and refinement in Evolve.
- Developments of new piston design that is 23.5% lighter than the original design.
- Easy export and integration with additive manufacturing equipment.
- Manufactured using titanium additive manufacturing.
Nicholas has been a long time CAD user and once he discovered Evolve, he was immediately taken by the organic structures created in the software, as well as its ease of use.
“[Evolve] has freed me up immensely. I can truly design in 3D on the fly as opposed to being forced to design in a sketch-based fashion, which is essentially 2D”
This is what he has to say about solidThinking Inspire, “Using Inspire, I can design products that are lighter and just as strong, if not stronger than their counterparts. The organic shapes created in Inspire are perfectly suited for additive manufacturing.”
Nicholas explains that with regards to the titanium piston, applying accurate loading conditions was absolutely imperative to the process. “There’s a force acting on the piston crown from the expanding combustion gas, and there’s also lateral force acting on the sides of the piston from oil pressure against the cylinder wall.” Nicholas collaborated directly with the solidThinking team, and a colleague to apply these loads in Inspire.
Inspire was used to generate the ideal shape for the piston and then imported back into Evolve where the team was able to interpret the results into the final piston design, which was manufactured in titanium.
The final design weighed 289g, which was 23.5% lighter than the 378g original, yet just as strong.