In the past, if you wanted to construct a steel structure,you first needed to manually create a construction plan and draw hundreds of sketches on paper. This can be a tedious process and it is very impractical compared to using PC steel structure design software.
One of the hardest part in creating steel structures by using sketches is the fact that you can not test the resistance of the steel structure only after you have built it. Steel structure designers now use specialized software to achieve their goals.
Today, anybody who has the design capabilities, can use specialized software that allows you to easily create complex steel structures with a lot more ease than if you would do this manually.
In this article, we will explore some of the best software options on the market that can get you started designing your steel project.
Advance Steel - Autodesk
Advance Steel from Autodesk is one of the most powerful tools for designing steel structures on your PC.
This software is built on the AutoCAD platform, giving you the power to create 3D modeling, use parametric steel connections, stairs, railings, etc. You can create sheet metal and folded plate work by using its integrated features.
You can use Advance Steel to access and transfer data and properties about your project, and easily create complete structures with the Dynamo extension.
You have the ability to isolate specific parts of your project and obtain detailed data about it with ease.
Advance Steel also has a wide range of objects and other tools in the program’s library.The wide range of objects found in the library help you advance your project faster, eliminating the need to create every element from scratch.
Key features of Advance Steel from Autodesk include:
- Intelligent structural objects
- Steel shop drawings
- NC data- can generate data for CNC workshop machines
- BOM’s based on design data
- AutoCAD Plant 3D interoperatibility
- Robot structural – optimize structures using bidirectional links
- Open and flexible API
- Ability for several users to work on the same project at the same time
- You can color-code objects based on approval status
If you feel like you need a step by step tutorial on how to use Advance Steel, you can find a good range of tutorials to choose from this page.
The software from RAM Steel is one of the best software options on the market that allow you to design and create steel structural plans. This program is extremely useful, and its features guarantee you a professional software that can be used no matter the complexity of your project.
With RAM Steel you can automate parts of the design process, allowing you to save time and work more efficiently, by concentrating on other parts of the project.
One of the most efficient features of RAM Steel is its powerful computation of tributary loads. This allows you to create buildings in accordance with the building codes, and can help you reduce the loads put on your steel structure joints.
Key features include:
- You can design and analyze structural models
- Wide range of international standards and specifications
- You can test your steel structure’s stability by applying winds, seismic loads, etc.
- Ability to generate design documents
- You can transfer structural model geometry between applications
Edilus Steel is another great tool for designing steel structures and also has BIM (Building information modeling ) input.
This software aids you in designing and verifying any steel structure. Edilus Steel can work perfectly with other software from Edilus like Concrete or Edilus Masonry. This allows you to create entire buildings from scratch while having specialized software for each part of the structure.
With Edilus Steel you can make calculations for the entire structure or specific parts of the structure, solve structural issues with ease, create diagrams and graphical representations, etc.
Best features include:
- Ability to use FEM solver to calculate and test your design structure
- Each BIM model is created using parametric objects – columns, beams, bracings,etc.
- Magnetic Grids – allows you to create magnetic points in the structure of any shape and size
- 3D input – with the ability to control, insert, and move any feature
- Ability to observe every part of your steel structure by graphic analysis of strain and displacements
- Dynamic constructions price estimating
If you feel like you need a step-by-step guide on how to use Edilus Steel, click here.
Dlubal Software - RSTAB
RSTAB from Dlubal is another complex and powerful tool that allows you to design steel structures.
By using RSTAB you can quickly analyze a structural model and then easily calculate the forcess and deformations that apply to your structure. For designing your building even further, you can find a wide range of Dlubal add-ons on the official site.
One of the most useful features of RSTAB is that it’s perfectly compatible with CAD software and Building Information Modeling (BIM). This allows you to streamline the transfer of information from one software to another, making it easier than ever to add a new level to your design.
Some of the key features of RSTAB include:
- 3D Finite Element Analysis and Design – used to define structures, loads and materials for planar
- Can analyse stress of members and surfaces and compare them to limit stresses
- Warping Torsion – lateral torsion analysis of members
- Eigenvalue stability analysis – liner and nonlinear stability analysis
If you need a tutorial on how to start using RSTAB, go to the official support page.
- Editor’s Note: If you’re interested in other engineering software, check out our wide collection of guides.
Tekla Structural Designer
This software option is a great professional tool created for designing steel structures. This program has a wide range of features for steel design that allow you to easily create or edit existing designs efficiently.
You can use Tekla to quickly observe any differences between design schemes by using its quick comparison feature. This software is designed to be incorporated into BIM software.
Key features include:
- Ability to optimize multi-material buildings
- Fully automated software
- Integrated analysis and design – time of analyzing data is reduced considerably
- You can add reinforcements to your design – columns, slabs and automatically apply changes to entire structure
- Ability to design entire steel structure automatically, based on requirements
In this article, we explored some of the best options on the market that allow you to create steel designs on your PC. The various features of each of these programs will surely get you on your track with your designing task.
What options did you choose from the list presented in this article ? Let us know why in the comment section below.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2018 and has been since updated for freshness, and accuracy.