• What is a lattice structure?

  • How do lattice structures benefit your models?

  • What lattice patterns are available?

What is a lattice structure?

The Eiffel tower structure efficiently supports its weight as it reaches into the sky. Similar to a simple lattice, this self-supporting structure is supported by volume and air. The high strength to weight ratio possible with lattice enables this spectacular architectural achievement which opened to the public on 31 March 1889.

Lattice structures are topologically ordered, three-dimensional open-celled structures composed of one or more repeating unit cells.

Lattice structures allow creating lightweight designs with geometry that is unachievable by traditional manufacturing methods. To manufacture the intricate lattices in our models, we use the additive manufacturing process otherwise known as 3D printing. We use 3D printing to print lattices because conventional manufacturing methods are unable to produce such complex geometry.

Lattices are made of nodes, cells, and beams below the photo, indicating how to tell a lattice structure.

How do lattice structures benefit your models?

Lattice structures can increase the strength of the models with the repetition of three-dimensional open-celled structures in a part. There are many benefits of implementing this kind of geometry in CAD modeling.

Here are the 3 key points lattices can bring to 3D models.

Shock absorption

Lattice structures help create shock-absorbent parts due to the shape that has been added to the original model. Lattices can aid in safeguarding products from drops or collisions by better absorbing impact energy. Products such as bike helmets can benefit from being lighter and shock absorbing for competitive racing.

3D lattice structure added to helmet

Weight Reduction

Lattice structures can help reduce the weight of the part and thus save material. In traditional manufacturing, to improve the weight of the part, we take away material where it is not critical to optimize the material usage. Through latticing, you can remove material in the essential areas of the part too. However, we redistribute the material using a lattice structure for the whole model.

Solid Cube: Weight:137g

Lattice Cube: Weight:25g

Please take a look at our: Generative Design Blog on Quadcopter

Generative design quadcopter

3D printed on U3DS 3D Printer

Heat Distribution

Lattice structures allow for a lot more surface area to be visible in a model.

The benefits are models that need to allow for heat exchanges in part.

Heat distribution is essential in many electrical components, for example, desktop computers, servers, and mining rigs. In all computers, the central processing unit’s performance, otherwise known as the CPU, is limited by the amount of heat produced and taken away from the computer. Additive manufacturing combined with lattice structures can help make efficient heat transfer models that can help keep the part colder by distributing heat.

The above images show a robotic hand that needs to house electrical components and so a lattice structure has been added to help with heat distribution to stop the motors on the finger joints from overheating.

What lattice patterns are available?

There is a wide range of software available to produce lattice structures. Here are the most common patterns available for creating inside models:

1. Triangles

Triangle patterns allow 3D models to be more robust and rigid, helping to reduce the model weight and increase its durability, excellent for models that need to be extra tough under high pressure.

2. Hexagons

Hexagon patterns allow 3D models to be more flexible, say for instance your model is a car tyre with this geometry; it would give enough flex in the road for you to drive on lattice wheels.

3. Stars

3D printed on U3DS 3D Printer

All 3 of these patterns allow good heat distribution but the star-shaped pattern deals best with spreading the heat evenly on the model. Lattice structure could be used to create heatsinks for computers we all use on a daily basis to help with cooling.

The examples above are just some of the most common lattices we can use in our 3D models. Some advanced software has the capabilities to design our own lattice structures.


The topic of lattice structures and additive manufacturing is a key process in all types of the 3D printing process, FDM, SLA, MSLA, SLS. For U3DS 3D printers, lattices enable the printers to achieve key benefits that are discussed in this blog that other manufacturing techniques do not have the option to support such as injection molding, CNC 5 or 7 axis machines, lathes, and laser cutters.

The U3DS LipsOne and U3DS PlusUltra are large volume machines bringing precision and speed with them to print exceptional physical 3D models for various industries.

By bringing the U3DS 3D printer to market, the U3DS team would like to offer our expertise to optimize your 3D printing journey to a professional standard, in the comfort of your own working space.

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