I want to do a non-linear analysis (possibly SOL 400) on Nastran. I used PyNastran (python module) to set-up the BDF file for a Linear buckling analysis (sol 105). However I feel like it might be too difficult to set everything up correctly with non-linear analysis due to the little information I found. Tutorials on the subject all recommend a pre-processor like Patran, which I don't have.

Does anyone know a free pre-processor that can actually produce the nastran input file (BDF)?

I know of salome-platform.org, but my understanding is that it cannot produce the BDF file. Or is there another solution to my problem?

Any help to solve my problem would be appreciated. Thanks!

  • $\begingroup$ So purchase Patran and do the job properly. $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jan 5, 2020 at 6:44
  • $\begingroup$ There are some discussions about this on NASTRANS Discord channel. MYSTRAN and pyNASTRAN devs are there. $\endgroup$
    – Foad
    Commented May 9, 2020 at 6:34

1 Answer 1


As far as I know, there is no free preprocessor for Nastran.

According to the docs (https://docs.salome-platform.org/5/smesh/user/importing_exporting_meshes_page.html) Salome will export to Nastran format, but it's just the mesh (nodes and elements). It won't do the case controls and all the nonlinear solution control parameters and all the other things in the deck

If you want the full deck, I think your options are patran, hypermesh, NX (or write the deck yourself in a text editor... That's free but big learning curve)


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