Tips & Tricks: MotionView CAD Interfacing for Model Building

Assigning multiple densities to CAD components


MotionView11.0 brings with itself, a useful option in the already existing Tools > Import CAD or FE feature. Now the user has control over the density of each CAD component in his/her CAD file.

Topic details:

MotionView has a CAD import tool which supports importing from different types of CAD tools and FE formats. This tool can be accessed by navigating to Tools > Import CAD or FE…

Fig.1 Import CAD or FE dialogue

In the following steps, we will be learning how to use the Import CAD or Finite Element Model with Mass and Inertias option on CAD files and control densities of CAD components in the CAD file.


  1. In MotionView, navigate to Tools > Import CAD or FE… to bringing up the Import CAD or FE dialogue.
  2. Select the first radio button to select the Import CAD or Finite Element Model with Mass and Inertias option as shown in Fig.1.
  3. Next, under the Input / Output Filenames section, for Input File: option, from the given list, select the CAD format of the file to be imported (STEP, say). Browse the file by using the  icon. Please see Fig.1 for reference.
  4. For Output Graphic File: option, click on the  icon to browse to the desired location and type in a name for the graphic h3d file (step_graphic.h3d, say).
  5. Confirm that the Import CAD or FE dialogue looks like Fig.2 below.

Fig.2. Import CAD or FE dialogue at the end of Step 4

  1. Click on OK. This brings up the Import CAD dialogue as shown in Fig.3 below which can be used to individually assign density values to various CAD components present in the CAD file.

Fig.3. Import CAD dialogue for assigning individual densities to CAD components

  1. For the Input file length: option, select the unit of length (Millimeter, say) in the CAD file as shown in Fig.3. This will also have an effect on the existing inertial data.
  2. From the CAD components: list, select the components to which you wish to apply a certain density value. Multiple components can be selected at a time.
  3. Type in the density value (3e-5, say) in the field of Apply density to selected components: option as shown in Fig.3. Click Apply to assign this density to the selected components in Step 8.
  4. Once the appropriate densities are assigned to all the components, click on OK at the bottom of the dialogue. You should get a dialogue saying Import Succeeded as shown below. Click OK.



If you review the model after step 10, you will find that:

  • A separate graphic is created for each CAD component
  • A separate body is created for each CAD component
  • A separate CG point is created for each CAD component, which is automatically assigned as CM for the respective body.

When a CAD file rightly organized, the Import CAD or FE tool can greatly simplify the model building process in MotionView.


Please note that this applies only to the solid geometry present in the CAD file.



For detailed information on Import CAD or FE tool, please navigate to Help>HyperWorks Desktop>MotionView>MotionView CAD interfacing>Import CAD or FE.

Also, please refer to the tutorial MV-1035: Importing CAD or FE into MotionView.


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Dev Anand
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Dev Anand

About Dev Anand

Dev Anand joined Altair in 2004 and is currently the Senior Manager for Global Initiatives at Altair. He has over 16 years in the PLM industry focusing on global initiatives, business development, global customer support, program management, product design development and people management skills. He holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering Degree from M S Ramaiah Institute of Technology, India, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration with Operations from Symbiosis, India. He is also Six Sigma Green Belt Certified from General Electric Power Systems, who has been trained to be Project Management Professional from PMI, USA and also attended the Leadership program.