Engineering Sketch Pad ESP Training in June

esp-logoThe developers of ESP, The Engineering Sketch Pad, will offer a “virtual” training throughout the middle of June. Unlike the in-person, one-week event of last year, which covered both parametric geometric construction and the coupling to analysis suites (CAPS), this will initially only focus upon the geometry portion. The training sessions  will occur during the late mornings (Eastern time), which will consist of the lectures – see the agenda below. The hands-on exercises will be done as homework. Assistance for the exercises will be made available.


This post is presented on behalf of our friends from MIT and Syracuse Univ. who are responsible for the Engineering Sketch Pad (ESP) software – Bob Haimes, John Dannehoffer, and Marshall Galbraith. “We” in the text below refers to them.

We will be using Blackboard, which only requires a web browser (and no plugins). This mode of communication has not been blackballed by any organization (that we know of).

We do not anticipate having to limit the attendance, but we would like to know beforehand who will be attending. Therefore please e-mail Bob Haimes ( with your coordinates and whether you would possibly like to take the CAPS portion of the training at some later time. You will be acknowledged with the Blackboard URL that we will be using.

Note that we are in the process of releasing Revision 1.18 of ESP, which will be the basis for the training and will contain the training material. This should be available the week before the start of this event and it is your responsibility to either build ESP from source or pick up the appropriate PreBuilt distribution. Please ensure it functions on your equipment (report any problems, preferably before the training itself). The ESP web site is:


Image from Various Consequences. source

Agenda (all times listed are Eastern):

Session 1: Overview – Friday, 12 June 2020,  10:00 – 11:00am

  • Background and objectives
    • ESP architecture
    • Distinguishing features
    • BRep terminology
    • Overview of training
    • ESP Graphical User Interface (GUI)
      • starting ESP
      • GUI layout and features
      • view manipulation
      • getting info
      • StepThru mode
      • .csm code editor
  • Homework exercise
    • bottle

Session 2: Solids Fundamentals (1) – Friday, 12 June 2020,  11:00 – noon

  • Constructive solid modeling process
  • Feature Tree
  • Branch types
    • primitives
    • Boolean combinations
    • transformations
    • applied features
    • miscellaneous
  • Homework exercises
    • L-shaped bracket with hole
    • elliptical cylinder
    • bolt

Session 3: Solids Fundamentals (2) – Monday, 15 June 2020, 10:00 – 11:00 am

  • Grown Bodys
    • RULE
    • BLEND
  • Aircraft components
    • wing (using RULE)
    • fuselage (using BLEND)
    • duct (using REVOLVE)
  • Homework exercises
    • simple wing
    • simple fuselage
    • simple nacelle

Session 4:  CSM Scripts (1) – Monday, 15 June 2020, 11:00 – noon

  • Format of the .csm file
    • special characters
    • valid CSM statements
    • number rules
    • parameter rules
    • expression rules
    • Attribute and Csystem rules
    • patterns, if/then, and throw/catch
  • Miscellaneous Branches
  • Homework exercises
    • rectangular plate
    • round plate

Session 5:  CSM Scripts (2) – Wednesday, 17 Jun 2020, 10:00 – 11:00am

  • Scripting best practices
  • Debugging CSM scripts
  • Homework exercise
    • rectangular plate
    • round plate

Session 6: Using UDPs, UDFs, and UDCs – Wednesday, 17 June 2020, 11:00 – noon

  • Difference between UDPs, UDFs, and UDCs
  • Using user-defined primitives (UDPs)
    • list of UDPs shipped with ESP
    • calling a UDP
  • Using user-defined functions (UDFs)
    • list of UDFs shipped with ESP
    • calling a UDF
  • Using user-defined components (UDCs)
    • list of UDCs shipped with ESP
    • calling a UDC
  • Writing a UDC
    • creating the interface
    • example UDC
  • Creating a waffle
  • Homework exercises:
    • reflected cone
    • wing BEM

Session 7: Sketching Fundamentals – Friday, 19 June 2020, 10:00 – 11:00am

  • Introduction
  • Programming Sketches
  • Drawing a Sketch
  • Editing an existing Sketch
  • Image manipulation in the Sketcher
  • Sketching best practices
  • Homework exercises
    • U-shaped bracket (version 1)
    • U-shaped bracket (version 2)
    • oval
    • bi-convex airfoil (with arcs)
    • swivel base
    • bi-convex airfoil (with splines)
    • fuselage cross-section (with Beziers)

Session 8: Selection & Attribution – Friday, 19 June 2020, 11:00 – noon

  • Selection
    • selection list
    • selection by identifier
    • selection by attributes
    • selection by coordinates
    • selection by bounding boxes
    • adding to the selection list
    • subtracting from the selection list
    • sorting the selection list
  • Attribution
    • attribute types
    • setting attributes
    • editing attributes
    • using attributes
    • special attributes (_color, …)
  • Homework exercise
    • wing BEM

Session 9: Sensitivities – Monday, 22 June 2020, 10:00 – 11:00am

  • Background / Objective
  • Configuration vs. tessellation sensitivities
  • Alternative approaches
    • analytic derivatives
    • code differentiation
    • finite differences
  • Computed examples
  • Application to grid generation
  • Computing sensitivities in ESP

Session 10: Putting it All Together – Monday,  22 June 2020, 11:00 – noon

  • Multi-fidelity models
  • Using UDCs to build aircraft components
  • Assembling an aircraft
  • Multiple views
  • Example
    • transport

Register Today

Send an e-mail Bob Haimes ( with your coordinates and whether you would possibly like to take the CAPS portion of the training at some later time. You will be acknowledged with the Blackboard URL that we will be using.


Thank you and hope to “see” you in June,

Bob Haimes (

John Dannenhoffer (

Marshall Galbraith (

P.S. Did you know Pointwise has a native interface to ESP? Create your geometry models in ESP and easily mesh them in Pointwise.

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