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nTop 5 is here: Expanding the implicit ecosystem, boosting performance and precision

Written by Trevor Laughlin | VP, Product at nTop

Published on June 24, 2024


  • General

Key Software Capabilities

  • Integrations

For over 10 years, our mission has been to help high-performance engineering teams design beyond the limits of traditional CAD software. And in that time, you have amazed us with the products you have developed in nTop. From super-efficient heat exchangers to ultra-lightweight components for spaceflight, patient-matched implants that enhance bone fusion, and even golf clubs that provide much-needed assistance us weekend golfers desperately need.

Through every interaction we have learned so much that helps us continuously make our tools better. You keep pushing the limits of design for higher performance, and we aim to make sure nTop continues to handle whatever you throw at it.

Today we are excited to announce nTop 5, the next major release of our software and a leap forward in computational design technology. Included in this release is a new implicit modeling kernel that takes everything we have learned from your most sophisticated applications and delivers even greater performance and precision. And we are thrilled to announce five new integration partners who are now able to read and query implicit models natively in their software, so you can create efficient end-to-end workflows encompassing even more of the tools you rely on.

Build a better end-to-end process with implicit interoperability across simulation and manufacturing toolsets.

Last year we announced the availability of nTop Core, a developer library for software partners that enables their applications to natively read and query information within a *.implicit file created inside nTop. The intention here was simple–you have other software you need to use throughout the development of your product and we want to make it simple and painless to bring nTop models in.

This year we are excited to announce that, alongside nTop 5, nTop Core has also been updated to use our latest implicit modeling kernel. And with it, we have expanded the implicit ecosystem to include mechanical simulation, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), and build preparation tools with five new partners who have integrated nTop Core, enabling seamless exchange of implicit geometry into their software.

Manufacturing & production

By a wide margin, build preparation and manufacturing is the number one requested application for implicit interoperability. For good reason. As geometric complexity grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to use mesh-based 3D printing formats to move models between applications for design and build preparation and, ultimately, the machines that will produce them.

Materialise Magics

The integration with Materialise provides the ability to import parts designed in nTop and saved using the *.implicit file format directly into Magics, no mesh required. Once inside Magics, you can section the model for interrogation, measure critical features on the part, prepare and validate the build parameters for production, and generate optimized toolpaths.

Video - nTop x Wartsila x Materialise - Rapid 2024

Video - nTop x Wartsila x Materialise - Rapid 2024

Throughout early testing we have seen massive reductions in build preparation and slicing times across a range of applications. We are excited to announce an Early Access Program with Materialise where you can join to preview the technology prior to its commercial availability. To apply for early access, please register here.

Autodesk Fusion

The nTop for Autodesk Fusion add-in will enable nTop users to perform downstream tasks and more easily complete the design-to-production workflow for advanced manufacturing processes. nTop users will be able to effortlessly import their designs into Autodesk CAD/CAM tools using the nTop add-in for Fusion. Once inside Fusion, users can interrogate a model, integrate implicit models into larger product assemblies, and prepare models for production with advanced manufacturing toolsets.

video - nTop x Fusion - Rapid 2024

video - nTop x Fusion - Rapid 2024

This is now available inside the Autodesk App Store and can be used by current nTop and Autodesk Fusion customers, today.

Mechanical and CFD simulation

Highly complex geometries present a significant challenge when meshing for simulation because they require a larger amount of smaller elements to properly represent the part being evaluated. Not only does the mesh generation process take a long time, but it often extends the run time of the analysis beyond what is typically feasible to support an iterative design process. In many cases, this leaves physical testing or simulation of highly simplified models as the only options.

To help address this challenge, we are happy to announce three new simulation partners that have eliminated meshing from the workflow. Not only can *.implicit models be imported natively into their applications, but models do not require meshing in a traditional fashion for analysis. This has the potential to bring the time it takes for each analysis iteration down from days to hours, or hours to minutes.

Hexagon scSTREAM

Advancements in design strategies used for heat sinks, chill plates, manifolds, and filters require rapid CFD analysis capable of handling high-performing, complex geometries. To accomplish this, we have partnered with Hexagon scSTREAM, a CFD application capable of simulating large and complex designs with unparalleled efficiency and minimal manual intervention. The combination of scSTREAM and nTop Core relies on a direct data transfer technology for implicit models that avoids the need for users to simplify or compromise their design integrity. This makes it easier to incorporate CFD simulations earlier in design. The resulting combination enables users to perform 10x more simulations to help optimize their thermal design.

Video - nTop x Hexagon x Ricoh - Rapid 2024

Video - nTop x Hexagon x Ricoh - Rapid 2024

Learn more about scSTREAM


Intact.Simulation provides mechanical simulation capabilities that remove the meshing bottleneck. With Intact.Simulation, you can setup and launch analyses directly from within nTop without any loss in fidelity while performing linear elastic analysis solved directly on the implicit model (thermal and modal analyses coming soon). Without a requirement for a conformal FE mesh, this novel method allows for faster iterations and the ability to analyze designs containing lattices and other highly complex geometries that are time-consuming and impractical in traditional FEA tools.

Video - nTop x Intact - Rapid 2024

Video - nTop x Intact - Rapid 2024

Christopher Yakacki, Engineering Research Principal at Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control had this to say after working with the Intact integration, “The integration of Intact.Simulation in nTop removes the meshing bottleneck and enables us to simulate complex geometry and lattices at the same pace we design. This has the potential of accelerating the optimization of these structures exponentially. nTop's partnership with Intact is an example of their commitment to address their customers' engineering challenges.”

Learn more about Intact.Simulation for nTop


To address the growing use of advanced design approaches to heat exchangers and manifolds, a solution for performing CFD analysis on products containing these complex features has become much needed. With this new integration, cloudfluid can now do just that. Through nTop Core, cloudfluid is able to import *.implicit models from nTop, set up the simulation on the model without meshing, and compute the results quickly using a cloud-based GPU solver–delivering significantly faster heat exchanger design workflow. In addition, custom blocks are available to set up and launch cloudfluid analysis directly from the nTop interface further streamlining the CFD workflow. This integration is currently in a technical preview period.

Video: nTop x cloudfluid - Rapid 2024

Video: nTop x cloudfluid - Rapid 2024

Learn more about cloudfluid

Design faster and with greater precision using the next-generation implicit modeling kernel in nTop 5

At the heart of every design application is a modeling kernel. Normally you don’t even realize it’s there. It sits in the background, receiving the inputs you plug into the user interface and doing its job crunching numbers and performing the necessary operations to display a model matching your intent back to the screen. It may not be visible, but the kernel is integral to everything a modeling software does. It dictates what capabilities are possible to develop and expose in the user interface, and it controls the performance and precision at which models can be created.

nTop is unique in that it has an implicit modeling kernel (as opposed to boundary representation kernels found in most 3D CAD software) that powers its ability to responsively generate complex geometries that are intrinsic to many high-performance products. This implicit kernel has underpinned nTop from its initial release until today, providing the footing for all the capabilities nTop has to offer: from latticing to optimization, simulation, rendering, meshing, slicing, and more.

As we look to the future, we want to continue to push the boundaries even further. Higher-performing products made possible by more complex geometries. Shorter development cycles powered by automation and faster modeling operations. Products with tighter tolerances. Seamless integrations with other tools you use in your workflow.

In order to deliver on that aspiration, we recognized a need to build a new implicit modeling kernel from the ground up. We wanted to take everything we’ve learned from more than a decade of working with you on your most complex design challenges and deliver a stronger foundation for expanded modeling possibilities, faster slicing, meshing, and rendering operations, and even greater precision.

When you open nTop 5 you likely won’t notice anything different right away. The user interface hasn’t changed. Your designs will look the same. But throughout our extensive internal testing, the new kernel has reduced the average computation time by around 10%. We specifically focused on improving the performance of boolean operations with large lists of primitive shapes, which now perform 90%+ faster on average. Please note that there are some operations that may be slower for certain geometries due to increased precision and algorithms that are sensitive to small numerical differences in inputs.

And best of all, since we built the new kernel in nTop 5 explicitly to raise the ceiling of what’s possible, this is only the beginning. We can’t wait to roll out even more enhancements and performance improvements made possible by this new kernel in the weeks and months to come.

Learn more about nTop 5

To learn more about nTop 5 and all of the partner applications now able to work natively with implicit geometry, join our webinar on July 30, or contact us directly for a demo.

And if you are attending RAPID+TCT this week, be sure to visit us at our booth #1546 where we’ll be showing all the latest capabilities and applications of nTop.

Trevor Laughlin

VP, Product at nTop

Trevor Laughlin is the VP of Product at nTop, where he is responsible for leading the product organization and vision, including product management, product design, and technical product support. Before joining nTop in early 2018, Trevor worked in the aerospace industry as a structural engineer and developed conceptual design software used by NASA. Trevor holds a Master of Science degree from Georgia Tech and Bachelor of Science from Iowa State University in aerospace engineering. He currently calls New York City home.