I would like to get a pretty accurate method to do finite element analysis (FEA) on my 3d designs considering the infill. I use Autodesk Inventor to design parts but the FEA can only be applied to a solid body (100% infill). Does anyone know software that can convert a 3d design to another but considering the infill so I can use FEA more accurately?
Rhino will let you create a custom lattice structure inside the solid object, this can in turn be used to create infill using grasshopper (an inbuilt scripting tool):
- create a standard cell size and apply the lattice,
- convert the whole thing to solid,
- reimport into inventor
Check out Hypermesh Optistruct, which lets you perform topology optimization to identify the optimal distribution of material within any matrix in order to satisfy desired performance criteria.
Similarly Scott Hollister's work describes the procedure to design a porous scaffold to meet conflicting requirements such as mechanical properties for strength and porosity % for material diffusion etc.
In Tymrak, B. M., M. Kreiger, and Joshua M. Pearce. "Mechanical properties of components fabricated with open-source 3-D printers under realistic environmental conditions." Materials & Design 58 (2014): 242-246., the authors suggest that one of the strongest factors influencing simple tensile strength of a 3D printed part was the ratio of its measured mass compared to its expected mass calculated by the slicer. Given that many printers under-extrude (especially when used with manufacturer's calibration settings) the accuracy of your model may be moot if your model isn't as solid as you'd expect it to be. The authors also suggest that the presence of fillers and pigments affected overall part strength.
The researchers at the not-for-profit Nia Technologies develop technologies for 3D-printed prostheses. They have some published research, but I'm not aware if it includes their FEA technique or tools. From an informal discussion with one of their staff, it seems that material variability and even environmental conditions while printing have measurable effects on final strength.