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Structural Steel Libraries



We are using all types of structural steel shapes on a project, consisting of angles, channels, beams, tees, etc. There are so many possible length variations, from 1 inch to 240 inches, and then fractions of an inch. Right now we are using a family table. For instance, we have a tubular steel shape family table, which takes into account all the varying sizes (10x6, 8x4, 4x4, etc.) and then each subset has different lengths ranging from 1 in. to 50 in. This makes for very large family tables. There are different family tables for each kind of shape (angle, channel, etc.). When we need a particular length, like 21.25 inches, we add that instance to the family table.

How do you handle structural steel shapes? Do you also use family tables? How do you break them up? Do you create individual parts at the assembly level, specifying a depth upto surface?
Sounds like you're already doing a good thing. You might want to entertain the notion of a UDF library where each member of the library would be for a unique shape (cross-section), however it sounds like you've already got your library done. You know, the family tables are easier to manage if you use MS Excel as an editor. I wanted to use MSE as an editor in 2000i^2 but it never worked consistently. Maybe the problem was fixed with a later build or in 2001.

Thanks for your input. Excel works great in 2001. It is a huge timesaver.
You're welcome!

By the way, did you create a text parameter for each shape and material stating the govering specifications? That is handy for when you do drawings; you can imbed that parameter in the materials note. It would be a timesaver.


Would you be willing to share your generic instance part? I'd love to have that for my library!

It's not quite completed yet. We're still in the development phase now. When it is complete with all the sizes and parameters (including the good one you suggested) I will post it on this site. But for now, I'll send you what I have, then you can download the finished version when I put it up later.

Still welcoming any more comments for this thread! :)

Did you check with RAND and/or PTC to see if that library has already been done? There's a good chance if the shapes are to industry specs. It doesn't hurt to ask. Also, there are some other third-party providers of library parts/shapes that you may wish to consider. Why reinvent the wheel?

Please let me know your findings.



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