Understanding our new latticing technology


Learn more about the changes happening in nTop 3.26, when we introduce our new latticing technology.

What is happening?

Our 3rd generation latticing technology will be coming out of beta, with the release of nTop 3.26 which will be available on the week of May 30th, 2022

The new latticing tools are easy to use, even faster than before, and offer you a greater level of control over complex lattice structures. They also provide the basic infrastructure for the truly revolutionary features that are coming up next.

Get up to date:

Latticing Technology Transition Guide

Understanding the lattice data types


Frequently Asked Questions:

1.0 What is changing with the lattice blocks?

With nTop 3.26, our new latticing technology will be promoted to production status. The new technology includes 37 blocks that have been available under the Beta ribbon tab for the last 22 months and are already employed by hundreds of users. 

The new blocks are now available in the Lattices ribbon tab and Search bar. If you were using the new latticing technology while it was in beta, please note that some of the block names have changed to reflect the updated data type name changes. The Lattices ribbon tab has been redesigned to improve the usability and discoverability of the latticing workflow.

The old latticing technology has not been removed from the software. These blocks (25 in total) have been deprecated, which means they are still available to use, but they will not receive updates or bug fixes going forward.


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2.0 When does this change take place?

This change will occur with Release 3.26 of nTop, which will be available the week of May 30th, 2022. 


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3.0 Why is this change happening?

The new latticing technology introduces a consistent architecture and workflow for creating lattices, regardless of the lattice type or base part geometry. The new blocks provide greater control over lattice generation, enabling higher performance parts and a wider range of designs. 

More importantly, the new architecture allows us to rapidly release new latticing features in the future.  It lays the foundation for a novel and powerful Field-Driven optimization capability to automatically generate lattice designs that are optimized for your specific engineering requirements. You’ll be hearing more about this capability in the coming months!


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4.0 What are the benefits of the new lattice blocks?

  • With the new latticing technology, you can separately control each of the three fundamental latticing elements: the Unit Cell, the Cell Map, and lattice parameters, providing maximum adaptability to your design constraints.
  • We’ve also introduced the ability to use Field-Driven Design techniques to control the lattice Cell Map. By controlling the Cell Map with Fields, you can take advantage of simulation and other data to spatially vary the sizes of the cells themselves.
  • Whether you are using a graph (beam or face) lattice, TPMS, or custom Unit Cells, the steps to create a lattice are the same. This makes it easier to rapidly explore other lattice types and even set up Design of Experiments for optimization.    
  • New filtering utilities have also been added to select lattice beams based on length, angle, connectivity, containment, or thickness. This capability allows you to fine-tune your lattice structures and optimize them for manufacturing.
  • Finally, the performance has been improved by up to 50x. In one benchmark example, a lattice with 50,000 unit cells used to take 45-60 seconds to generate on a well-equipped laptop. Now, it rebuilds in 1-2 seconds!


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5.0 What if I was already using the new lattice blocks when they were in beta?

If you were already using the lattice beta blocks in your workflow, you do not need to take any action to update your existing files. nTop’s backward compatibility mechanism will automatically update your model to version 3.26 or above. 

However, you may notice some cosmetic changes. You will see the beta labels removed from those blocks. You might also see the name change on one or more of the beta blocks. Specifically, the term “Body” has been removed from many of the beta block names. For example, the Periodic Lattice Body block is now called Periodic Lattice. Use these new names when searching and adding blocks to your notebook. Apart from these cosmetic changes, your notebook will be the same and re-run as expected.


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6.0 I’m using the old latticing blocks, how will this affect my work? Can I continue using them?

The old blocks have moved to a deprecated status in this release and were replaced by newly architected blocks, which were previously in beta. You can continue to use the deprecated blocks. Deprecated blocks are maintained, like a frozen “snap-shot” in time, but they will not receive updates or bug fixes going forward. 

Your existing notebooks and designs will open and re-run as expected. Your notebooks will NOT be automatically updated for you. You are in control of your notebook and can transition to the new technology at your own pace. 

However, we strongly recommend that you use the new latticing blocks when creating new workflows. We also recommend you update your existing notebooks or custom blocks to use the new blocks if possible. The new technology is more robust and offers a greater level of control. In upcoming releases, we will be building upon these new capabilities to bring you industry-leading latticing features to further enhance your product development processes.


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7.0 Does nTopololgy plan to remove the deprecated lattice blocks in the future?

There is no immediate plan or timeline to End of Life the deprecated blocks (i.e. remove them from the software).

However, any deprecated block may be put into End of Life status in the future if we believe it is justified and has a minimal impact on our users. If a block is to enter this phase, all users will receive advanced notice and guidance on updating their notebooks.


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8.0  The deprecated blocks do not appear in the Search bar. What should I do?

You must enable deprecated blocks to see them in the Search bar. Go to File > Settings and select the General tab. Then enable the “Show deprecated blocks” option. With this setting enabled, deprecated blocks will appear in the Search bar above your notebook. 

Note that search results are ordered such that deprecated blocks will appear last in the list. Deprecated blocks are not available in the Ribbon to encourage the adoption of the new latticing technology. 


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9.0  Will my custom blocks still work?

Yes, custom blocks containing one or more of the deprecated lattice blocks will continue to function. In fact, the details to FAQs “I’m using the current latticing blocks, how will this affect my workflow? Can I continue using them?” and “How do I update my notebooks to the new latticing blocks?” also apply to custom blocks.  


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10.0  How do I update my notebooks to the new latticing blocks?

When you open nTop files in Release 3.26 or later, the deprecated lattice blocks will have a yellow warning icon in the top right corner. Clicking on the warning icon will display the block’s Information panel and a link to Learn More. Clicking on Learn More will open this page on the new latticing technology. Here you’ll find a Latticing Technology Transition Guide with details and examples for updating each deprecated block, amongst other useful information concerning the new lattice technology. 

Remember, you can also continue to run your notebooks as is. There’s no need to upgrade to the new latticing technology immediately. You can do it when the time is right for you.


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11.0  Will the new blocks give me the exact same output?

This depends on your design and which blocks you’ve been using. In most cases, you will be able to create identical output as your original workflow. See the Latticing Technology Transition Guide for specific details on each block. 

There are cases where the new blocks leverage improved algorithms and the output will be of higher quality than that produced by a deprecated block. For example, the new Voronoi Volume Lattice block has better performance, but the inherently stochastic output will be different when an optional Mesh input is provided. Again, these differences are documented in the Latticing Technology Transition Guide referenced above. In cases where a deprecated block is used in a certified design process, you can always continue to use the deprecated block.


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