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Designing with Composites: Cutouts, Holes, and Simulation Surfaces

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Community Manager

Holes and cutouts are used in Fibersim to either remove or indicate that material should be removed from a designated location on the user’s plies. Holes and cutouts can also be used to help calculate more accurate weight, area, and cost data by taking into account the absence of material.


One of the main differences between cutouts and holes relates to the timing of when the material is removed from the ply. When assigning a hole to a ply, material is removed from the hole when the flat pattern is created. When assigning a cutout to a ply, the material is most often machined from the cutout region after a part has been cured. Therefore, the material within a cutout region will still exist within its associated flat pattern.

Holes and cutouts also differ, for holes are assigned individually to plies, while cutouts are assigned to entire laminates. Therefore, on whichever laminate a cutout is assigned to, all plies on that laminate will contain the cutout. Holes must be assigned to each ply individually unlike cutouts.CompositeCutoutsHolesSimulationSurfaces3.png

A key thing to remember when assigning holes to a ply is that the producibility simulations of plies do not take holes into consideration. Therefore, producibility simulations will run through holes and can affect how the rest of the producibility of the actual ply area simulates. In order to run producibility simulations while avoiding holes, there is a simulation option that allows the user to use a simulation surface instead of the actual laminate surface for their simulation. The user must first extract a new surface from the laminate that does not include the holes they are trying to avoid, then they must link the new simulation surface within the Simulation Options tab of their associated ply.