Dec 9, 2014 | By Alec

Anyone who has ever worked on a multi-component 3D printing project will verify that the actual printing process can be very time consuming. Quick experiments and new ideas easily take hours to complete, and can be very frustrating. And then there's the price of those endless rolls of filament your printer consumes.

Fortunately, prof. Krishnan Suresh's team at the University of Wisconsin has now shared a very useful piece of software that will significantly reduce printing time and expenses: Cloud Topology Optimization. This handy program will allow you to easily optimize the size and shape of your STL files without sacrificing durability or functionality. Their method relies on high performance finite element analysis and cutting-edge topology optimization to remove unnecessary material prior to printing.

Figure 1: Topology optimization can create a light weight part for 3D printing.

As the figures illustrate, you can simply upload the STL file of your choice and adjust its settings, after which the software will easily and quickly (visually) modify your design to its optimal shape. Additional constraints such as symmetry can also be imposed to guide the software towards a preferred design. The final design, often computed in less than a minute, can be saved in a standard STL format for 3D printing. This will not only save you hours in printing time, but also in design. For a complete tutorial on the software's functions and abilities, check out this YouTube-based tutorial.

Until now, Cloud Topology Optimization was only available for desktops, either as a standalone, or embedded within SolidWorks. But it can also be accessed from the comfort of a browser at The software is supported on most browsers including Firefox, Chrome and Opera, Internet Explorer (partial support) and Safari (with WebGL enabled).

Figure 2: Cloud based topology optimization at


Posted in 3D Software


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micheal wrote at 12/10/2014 11:38:48 AM:

Really informative blog article. Really Great.

Nugget wrote at 12/10/2014 1:12:46 AM:

THIS is a gift from the heavens, no, not even close to meshmixer, , this is orders of magnitude better than meshmixer for optimizing prints

Dow Jones wrote at 12/9/2014 2:44:01 PM:

I believe the meshmixer folks have been doing this for a number of years ready or at least very sinlmilar.

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