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Introduction and Installation

CUBIT is a geometry and mesh generation and manipulation tool created by Sandia National Laboratories. The tool can be launched from the command line (using ./cubit in the installed directory) and has the option to run either with or without a GUI. Installation requires acquiring a license and a download link. Find more information about this process here.


Cubit can create geometries, mesh them, and visualize the results, while also allowing for importing geometries, meshing them with specifications, and exporting the mesh files for other applications to make use of. All of this can be implemented on the command line using CUBIT commands.


CUBIT has its own geometry editor, but there are options to import geometries from other file formats. It can import STEP and IGES (Boundary Representation- brep) geometry formats, as well as STL files (Stereolithography, widely used in 3D modeling software). The file formats that can be used with CUBIT are:

Geometry/CAD (Imports) Mesh (Export)
ACIS (.sat, .sab) Exodus II
STEP (.stp, .step) Abaqus format
IGES (.iges) IDEAS- Universal
Pro/E (.prt) NASTRAN- BDF
Facets (.avs, .stl, facet) Patran
STL (.stl) LS- Dyna
Exodus II Fluent

Editor Features

Cubit has an extensive geometry editor, robust meshing tools, and good visualization using VTK. The editor allows for free camera movement, and the toolbars allow for extensive geometric functions. In editor selection of primitives is useful, especially for performing operations such as subtraction, union, and intersection. The editor allows for transparency and wire-frame viewing as well. The editor has a smaller axes indicator in the bottom left corner rather than in the middle of the geometries, and also has allowance for both meshes and geometries to be viewed in the same editor. It allows for specifying the color of primitives separately for clarity.

Ease of Use

Once CUBIT has been obtained, it is an intuitive and easy tool to use. There are tons of options, and it does have somewhat of a learning curve, but it is an extensive mesh and geometry editor that can be powerful and useful.

  • Note: On Linux Fedora 22, the dependency libpng12 was not installed. Simply use:

dnf install libpng12
and then run cubit.

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