Inspire allows users to sketch 2D profiles that can be pushed and pulled into solids, or to import CAD data from other software. All major CAD packages are supported. Topology optimization is a mathematical method that generates the ideal material layout while also reducing local stresses and maintaining structural stiffness for the design. A “design space” represents the maximum volume a part can occupy. Parts can also be identified as “non-design space.” These will not be modified during the optimization. After an initial optimization, manufacturing and shape controls can be applied to the geometry to affect the topology result. Here symmetry and extrusion controls were used. The design space is assigned a material and loading conditions. The loading conditions are defined as forces, pressures, torques, and supports to hold the part. The design proposal results can be exported and refined in an external CAD package. By generating the optimal design geometry in Inspire, design cycle time is reduced. Welcome to the Inspire workspace. Inspire has a straightforward user interface that is quick to learn and includes a context menu allowing you to access commonly used functions. Objects in the modeling window can be selected using the mouse and manipulated using the Trans/Rotate, Show/Hide, and Measure tools. The toolbar across the top of the application contains tools for 2D and 3D modeling, optimization (materials, loading, controls, and constraints), and model handling. The Model Browser appears on the left side of the workspace, and shows all of the objects in your model in a tree structure. It is useful for organizing your model. You can adjust the view of your model using the mouse, keyboard shortcuts, and camera controls located in the lower left corner of the application workspace. The Run Optimization window appears when you click the Optimize tool. It allows you to select an optimization objective, and to define optimization targets and constraints. Displacement constraints can be applied to a model to limit deflections in desired locations and directions. The new violations table helps you to quickly understand problems with your model.
A global stress constraint can be applied to limit the maximum stress in the model during optimization. Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish are now supported.
Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish are now supported.
The new extrusion shape control generates constant cross-section topologies in a specified direction.
A quick clip showcasing geometry construction, load application, and solution generation with manufacturing controls.
Features & Functions
Sketch or Import a Design Sketch tools are used to build and modify parts by drawing sketch curves. Closed loops of curves automatically generate faces that can be pushed and pulled into solids when you exit sketching mode. Boolean tools are used to create a new object by combining, subtracting, or intersecting sets of solid objects.
Inspire supports the following CAD formats and versions for import:
- ACIS (.sab, .sat): through R20
- CATIA V4 (.model): all versions
- CATIA V5 (.CATPart, .CATProduct): V5R10 through V5R20
- IGES (.iges, .igs): 3 & 5
- JT (.jt): 6.0 through 9.5
- Parasolid (.x_b, .x_t, .xmt_bin, .xmt_txt): through 25.1.x
- ProE (.asm, .prt): 13 through Wildfire 5.0
- SolidWorks (.sldasm, .sldprt): through 2011
- STEP (.step, .stp): AP 203 and AP 214
- Unigraphics (.prt): 11.0 through NX 7.5
See the Ideal Part Topology optimization is the process of generating a shape in response to load cases, and is the core of solidThinking Inspire. The optimization process carves material away from design spaces, creating the lightest structure capable of withstanding the forces you apply to your model.
In order to perform an optimization, you must first define a design space and one or more load cases containing both loads and supports. You can also apply various shape controls such as symmetry planes, cyclic repetitions, and draw directions as well. You then run an optimization and await the results, which can take a few minutes to a few hours depending on the complexity of the model. Once the results are complete, you can interactively explore variations of the resulting shape.
Not all parts in the model need to be design spaces to run an optimization. In many cases, you will need to apply loads and displacements to the parts surrounding the design space in order to properly define your model. However, only the design space itself will be optimized.
Create the Design Space A design space is the initial part from which material is removed until a final shape is reached during optimization. You can create a design space by using the modeling tools in Inspire, or by importing parts from other solid modelers. Any part that is a design space will be reshaped during optimization, while any part that is not a design space will remain as it is.
A design space can have any shape or topology as long as it is a single solid volume. A part that is used as a design space should not be very detailed. To ensure the most freedom to generate a shape, you should use the simplest design space possible. The more fine details you have in the design space, the longer it will take to run the optimization.
A shape generated by optimization is contained entirely within the volume of the original design space, since material is only removed and not added. You specify the amount of material to keep either as a percentage of the design space or by entering a target weight.
Control the Result Shape controls are used to induce symmetric shapes, shapes with cyclic repetition, and shapes with draw directions for casting or stamping. While optimization always requires the presence of loads to generate a result, applying shape controls is optional and provides additional design goals that must be satisfied by the optimizer.
The two basic categories of shape control tools are symmetry and draw directions. These are applied to a design space and are not included in load cases. Once shape controls are applied to a design space, they remain in effect regardless of which load cases are used during an optimization run.
Certain shape controls, like symmetry and cyclic repetition, cannot be applied to a design space simultaneously because they would create conflicting design goals. Inspire prevents you from applying any combinations of shape controls that would conflict with one another.
Assign Materials and Loading Before running optimization, you need to define at least one load case – a set of loads and displacements that act on your model. You can:
Apply Forces - A force is a type of load, and can be concentrated at a single point on the model or distributed evenly across an edge or a face. A force can also be applied at the center of a hole.
Apply Pressures - A pressure is a distributed force that acts perpendicular to every point along the face.
Apply Torques - A torque is a twisting force and can be applied either to a face or to the center of a hole, in which case it acts on the interior face of the hole.
Apply Supports - Supports are physical constraints that are used to hold a part so it doesn't translate or rotate when loads are applied to it.
Apply Displacement Constraints - Displacement constraints are used during optimization to limit the deflection of an optimized part.
Export the Design Proposal Inspire supports the following CAD formats and versions for import:
Inspire can also export optimization results directly to solidThinking Evolve.
- STL (.stl)
- IGES (.iges, .igs)
- Parasolid (.x_b, .x_t, .xmt_bin, .xmt_txt)
- STEP (.step, .stp)
Inspire Workspace The Inspire application workspace is divided into several sections:
- The pull-down menus, which include the File, Edit, View, and Help menus.
- The toolbar, which provides access to tools for modeling, optimization, and other basic operations.
- The modeling window, where you can manipulate the model using the mouse, keyboard shortcuts, and camera controls.
- The model browser, which shows all of the parts, assemblies, and alternatives in your model in a tree structure.
- The property editor, which allows you to edit the properties of a selected object.
- The context menu, which pops up whenever you right-click on an object in either the modeling window or the model browser, and allows you to quickly access commonly used functions.
- The unit system selector, which allows you to change the default unit system.
Modeling Window Once you have selected an object, the tools on the right side of the application toolbar allow you to manipulate that object in various ways:
- To select an object, click on it with the mouse. Multiple objects can be selected by clicking-and-dragging to create a box, or by holding down the CTRL key.
- To translate an object, select the Trans/Rotate tool or use the T keyboard shortcut. You can also click-and-drag an object to translate it.
- To rotate an object, select the Trans/Rotate tool or use the R keyboard shortcut.
- To hide an object, select the Show/Hide tool in the Show/Hide icon group or use the H keyboard shortcut, then click on the objects you want to hide. Hold down the Shift key and click an object again to show it.
- To isolate an object, select the Isolate tool in the Show/Hide icon group or use the I keyboard shortcut, then click on the object you want to isolate.
- To show all objects, select the Show All tool in the Show/Hide icon group or use the A keyboard shortcut.
- To measure objects, use the Measure Length, Measure Angle, or Measure Weight tools in the Measure icon group.
Inspire Toolbar The toolbar contains a variety of modeling, optimization, and other tools shown across the top of the application. Each icon group contains several tools which are highlighted as you hover over them with the mouse.
- The File tool allows you to create, open, and save model files in a variety of formats.
- The modeling tools allow you to sketch lines, rectangles, circles, and arcs; trim and break curves; push and pull faces; and use Boolean operations to create new objects.
- The optimization tools allow you to assign materials; apply shape controls, loads, and displacements; and run optimization on a design space.
- The remaining tools allow you to measure, translate and rotate, show and hide, configure (activate and deactivate), and select camera views.
- To view an explanation of how each tool works, select the tool, and then press F1 for Windows users or Shift + ? for Mac users to access context sensitive help.
Model Browser The Model Browser displays all of the parts and assemblies, load cases, and shape controls included in the model:
- To view the Model Browser, use the View menu or press F2.
- Each object in the browser is preceded by an icon that indicates the type of object. Clicking on an object's icon shows or hides the object in the modeling window with each successive click.
- Part alternatives are shown with radio buttons. Only one alternative can be selected at a time.
- To create an assembly, click the icon at the top of the Model Browser, then click-and-drag the desired parts into the new assembly.
- The additional icons at the top of the Model Browser can be used to Show All, Hide All, or Reverse the visibility of all objects in the browser.
- The icons at the far right can be used to find objects or to filter objects by type.
- The Load Cases folder shows all of the loads and displacements applied to the model, grouped into load cases. Individual loads and displacements can be added to and excluded from specific load cases using the context menu.
View Controls Mouse controls are used to pan, zoom, and rotate the model:
Additional camera controls can be accessed using keyboard shortcuts or the display controls located in the lower left corner of the application workspace.
- Pan the model by holding both the Shift key and the right mouse button while moving the mouse.
- Zoom in and out using the scroll wheel on the mouse.
- Rotate the model by holding down the right mouse button while dragging the mouse. This rotation method is called turntable rotation.
- You can also rotate the model by holding down the middle mouse button while dragging the mouse. This is called trackball rotation.
A complete list of keyboard shortcuts can be accessed by going to the Help menu, selecting Help, and clicking on Quick Reference.
Run Optimization Window In order to perform an optimization, you must first define a design space and one or more load cases containing both loads and supports. You then run an optimization and can interactively explore variations of the resulting shape:
- If your objective is to maximize stiffness, you have the option to define mass targets, either by total mass or percent of design space.
- If your objective is to minimize mass, you have the option to specify stress constraints in terms of a minimum safety factor.
- Frequency targets can be set in order to control the frequency at which an optimized part vibrates.
- Maximum and minimum thickness limits can also be defined to control the diameter of beam-like structures in the optimized shape.
- Gravity can be applied in cases where the weight of a structure is a significant part of the load it is bearing.
- One or more load cases can be included in the calculation.
- If no problems are detected, the Optimization Run Status window appears, allowing you to track the progress of the run. When the run is complete, a green flag appears over the Optimize tool, indicating that the run was successful.
What's New in 9.5: Displacement ConstraintsThe following new features and capabilities have been added to solidThinking Inspire for version 9.5:
- Optimization Objectives - When running an optimization, you can now choose to either maximize stiffness or minimize mass.
- Stress Constraints - A global stress constraint can be applied to limit the maximum stress in the model during optimization.
- Displacement Constraints - Displacement constraints can be applied to a model to limit deflections in desired locations and directions.
- Extrusion Draw Direction - The new extrusion shape control generates constant cross-section topologies in a specified direction.
- Export to OptiStruct - You can now export OptiStruct input files for advanced simulations.
- Standardized Unit Systems - Inspire now uses SI, MPA, IPS, FPS, and CGS standard unit systems.
What's New in 9.5: Violations TableViolations Table: The new violations table helps you to quickly understand problems with your model.
What's New in 9.5: Stress ConstraintsStress Constraints: A global stress constraint can be applied to limit the maximum stress in the model during optimization.
What's New in 9.5: Localized Language SupportLocalized Language Support: Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish are now supported.
What's New in 9.5: Extrusion Shape ControlExtrusion Shape Control: The new extrusion shape control generates constant cross-section topologies in a specified direction.
Inspire in Under a MinuteA quick clip showcasing geometry construction, load application, and solution generation with manufacturing controls.