Automatic Optimisation in Additive Manufacturing:

Jonathan Byrne

Urban Modelling Group

Co-founder of U3D

University College Dublin


Optimisation in Nature

Additive Manufacturing

  • No complexity penalty
  • No machinability issues
  • Customised Components

Complex Internal Structures

Tooling and Machinability


Why Optimise?

  • Large monetary savings, in space, aeronautics, automotive
  • No complexity overhead with 3D printing
  • Rapid design iteration

A380 Hinge

ARUP: Tensegrity Structure

Finite Element Analysis

Hydralic Manifold (EOS, Withinlabs)

Automatic Optimisation:

Analyse Model:

  • Finite Element Method
  • Computational fluid dynamics

Improve model:

  • Evolutionary Algorithms
  • Topology Optimisation
  • Parametric Systems

Evolutionary Algorithms

Evolved Designs



NASA Antenna

Fibre Optics

Direct Mapping (Voxels)

Buildable Objects by Pollack and Funes (1999)


Topology Optimisation


GPU optimisation



  • Solid Isotropic Material with Penalization (SIMP)
  • Bi-directional Evolutionary Structural Optimization (BESO)
  • Soft-Kill Method

Topology Optimisation Software

  • TOSCA Abaqus (Dassault Systems)
  • Hyperworks Optistruct (Altair)
  • Ansys

Parametric Design

  • Rapid prototyping technique
  • Define the relationships between components
  • Higher initial overhead, but allows for rapid changes to the design

Open-Vehicle Sketch Pad (openVSP)


Turning Torso (Calatrava)

Messe Halle (Herzog & De Meuron)

Withinlab lattice optimisation

“All models are wrong, but some models are useful.”

George E.P. Box

The 99 line problem:

Accurate Modelling:

  • Realistic FEM model
  • Account for specific materials
  • Destructive testing
  • Non-destructive verification

Multiple load conditions:

  • trade-offs in design process
  • multi-objective fitness functions
  • Pareto-optimisation to generate varied designs
  • Independent real-world verification

3D printing constraints:

  • Constraints for wall thickness (Spaceclaim)
  • Account for cooling and heat dissipation
  • Support removal and cleaning


  • Accurate modelling
  • Multiple load conditions
  • Including 3D printing constraints