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This page will help you navigate the finer points of Pointwise and act as a guide if SSI needs one.

Go here if you want to learn more about meshing in general.

Someone please watch these


  1. Import the native SolidWorks file.
  2. Check the integrity of the solid model.
  3. Reorganize surfaces prior to meshing.
  4. Set mesh defaults.
  5. Mesh the model.
  6. Adjust resolution of particular surface meshes.
  7. Assemble the unstructured block.
  8. Generate the volume mesh using T-Rex.
  9. Set CAE boundary conditions.
  10. Export the CAE file.

CAE = Computer aided engineering

Importing a Solidworks File

Importing native CAD is the same process as importing neutral CAD formats in Pointwise. From the File menu, select Import, Database. Pointwise recognizes the correct format based on the file extension. In this case, SolidWorks part files end with .sldprt.

The model size tolerance is an important consideration when importing CAD files into Pointwise. We recommend adjusting the model size tolerance to within about an order of magnitude of the largest spatial dimension of the geometry. This parameter is found in the File menu under Properties. Setting the appropriate model size tolerance helps Pointwise's geometry kernel interpret and process the geometric information with the highest possible degree of accuracy. In order to maintain maximum integrity, this step must be performed prior to importing the geometry. If you do not know the actual model size, import the geometry using the default model size tolerance, record the value from the File, Properties panel, undo the import, set the appropriate model size tolerance and re-import the CAD file.

Check Integrity of Solid Model

Pointwise can import the solid model and exploit the information it contains about how the surfaces are stitched together. Even when using native CAD files, it is a good idea to check to see if the solid model is watertight. This is carried out in the Create, Assemble, Models panel by selecting the model and clicking Assemble. If the solid model is watertight, there should be a single model (all surfaces green) and zero lamina boundaries (red edges). If the solid model is not watertight, the tolerance can be increased to automatically close the gaps.

Reorganize Surfaces

Quite often the arrangement of the surfaces created by the CAD software is not optimal for meshing. For example, the body of the filter tube is made up of four surfaces, but we probably only need one surface mesh patch to represent the whole tube. The complementary capability to Pointwise's solid modeling is quilting. Quilting allows the user to redefine the meshing regions from the original CAD surfaces to something more meaningful. In the filter tube example, we want Pointwise to create one surface mesh patch on all four filter tube surfaces. This is accomplished by quilting the four surfaces into one logical meshing region. By not requiring the grid boundaries to follow all the CAD topology, we end up with a simpler grid topology and higher mesh quality.

The quilt assembly feature has the ability to automatically assemble the quilts based on an angle criterion. The angle is defined as angular deviation between the normals of the adjacent surfaces.


Adapted from From CAD to CFD in Five Minutes: The Complete Story of Meshing a Real Geometry Using Pointwise

DIY Pointwise Instructions

Getting Past the Blank Screen Great tutorial for a 2D NACA airfoil.

SU2-Pointwise Workshop: Surface and Volume Meshing

Command Cheat Sheet

Note: This guide is only for Windows.

Legend: RMB=Right Mouse Button, LMB=Left Mouse Button, MMB=Middle Mouse Button


New - Ctrl + N

Open - Ctrl + O

Save - Ctrl + S

Save As - Ctrl + Shift + S

Print to File Setup - Ctrl + Shift + P

Print to File - Ctrl + P


Undo - Ctrl + Z

Redo - Ctrl + Y

Cut - Ctrl + X

Copy - Ctrl + C

Paste - Ctrl + V

Delete - Delete

Delete Special - Ctrl + Delete

Project - Ctrl + Shift + J

Split - Ctrl + Q

Join - Ctrl + J


Zoom, Undo Zoom - Ctrl + F2

Zoom, Zoom to Fit - F2

Zoom, Zoom to Selection - Shift + F2

Manage Views, Recall View 1 - Ctrl + 1

Manage Views, Recall View 2 - Ctrl + 2

Manage Views, Recall View 3 - Ctrl + 3

Manage Views, Recall View 4 - Ctrl + 4

Manage Views, Recall View 5 - Ctrl + 5

Manage Views, Recall View 6 - Ctrl + 6

Manage Views, Save View 1 - Alt + 1

Manage Views, Save View 2 - Alt + 2

Manage Views, Save View 3 - Alt + 3

Manage Views, Save View 4 - Alt + 4

Manage Views, Save View 5 - Alt + 5

Manage Views, Save View 6 - Alt + 6

Set Rotation Point - Ctrl + Shift + Right Mouse Button

Reset, View - Ctrl + R

Reset, Pan - Ctrl + U

Reset, Rotation Point - Ctrl + Shift + R

Demote, Redraw - F5

Show Domains - Ctrl + F3

Show Connectors - Ctrl + F4

Show Nodes - Ctrl + F5

Show Database - Ctrl + Shift + F5

Show Axes - Ctrl + Shift + F3

Show XYZ Axes - Ctrl + Shift + F4


Select All - Ctrl + A

Unselect All - Ctrl + D

Toggle Selection - Ctrl + T

Adjacent - Ctrl + Shift + N

All Adjacent - Ctrl + Shift + A

Mask - Ctrl + M


Assemble domains without opening the panel - Ctrl + B

Assemble blocks without opening the panel - Ctrl + Shift + B


Dimension - Ctrl + W

Distribute - Ctrl + G

Initialize selected domains/blocks - Ctrl + I


Re-Execute - Ctrl + E


Help - F1

OK - Ctrl + Enter

Cancel - Esc

Apply - Ctrl + Shift + Enter

Clear message window - Ctrl + Shift + Delete

Display point position and distance between it and last selected point - Alt + Right Mouse Button

Cycle through selectable entities under cursor - Spacebar

Cycle through selectable entities under cursor in reversed order - Ctrl + Spacebar

Mask all except for spacings - F7

Mask all except for blocks - F9

Mask all except for domains - F10

Mask all except for connectors - F11

Mask all except for database - F12

Toggle Entity Mask - Shift + Mask Function Key

Unmask all except for spacings - Ctrl + F7

Unmask all except for blocks - Ctrl + F9

Unmask all except for domains - Ctrl + F10

Unmask all except for connectors - Ctrl + F11

Unmask all except for database - Ctrl + F12