Saturday, July 20, 2013

Topology Optimization in GE Jet Engine Bracket Challenge Entry

There is an interesting contest on GrabCAD for designing a lighter weight engine bracket for a GE engine the winner of which GE will produce and test using an additive manufacturing method (maybe DMLS). One of the contestants used PareTO software (methods based on these matlab scripts I linked previously) to design a pretty nice looking bracket.

Update: There are more entries that are using topology optimization.
  • KMWE and TU Delft Team Entry. This comment the team makes is interesting: "Since the optimised topology models are in stl we have started to first create a volume model with stp extension so we meet the competition recuirements. This takes a lot of time!" This bottle neck in the work-flow is similar to the problem CFD analysts have with structured grid generation. While many (most) 3D printers will take an stl format file (which is just a triangulate surface), you still really want the normal CAD formats (parametric) for a couple reasons. Usually for the metal printing processes you have to add support material. This is done more easily / accurately with something other than an stl. Also you want to be able to use the part in larger assemblies, and this is likely to go better using a native CAD format.
  • GE Jet Engine Bracket v1.5, Topology Optimized Bracket - V4, by Igor Lins e Silva
  • GE-jet engine bracket-opti-design-phase 1, by Cheng.Li
  • Engine Bracket V2.1, by Igor Lins e Silva
  • GE Challenge, by Charlie Pyott. I like this one because he uses a lattice, which reminds me of the octet truss things I was working on previously. Charlie also has a website with other interesting designs.