Sunday, October 30, 2011

Re: spreadsheet for structural shop drawing

It depends on what you wish to automate, and to what extent. It is possible using AcadLT and Excel/VBA to generate script files (*.scr) which will automatically generate workshop details of simple members. The details which are placed into Excel for the member strength checks, can be used to generate the part details. One thing with a lot of AutoLISP routines generated by drafters is that they require a lot more parameters than needed by engineering: because engineering calculates the other values from the real parameters.

Currently using such combination for coldformed steel sheds, but its becoming  cumbersome: too many dimensions required from drawings, or just far too time consuming to set up calculations for dimensions. All a work in progress programmed on as needs basis. There is a problem between that which is feasible to generate in the drawings, and that which needs to be extracted from the drawings to progress further and generate more drawing details.

So parametric software like pro-engineer, or Tekla structure are the way to go if can justify the cost. I can't , the buildings are too simple, and supply of work shop detailing also rare. However there is pressure for the cold formed shed industry to improve point-of-sale decision making. So I have incentive to develop custom applications to help my clients, since they are not going buy high end BIM software or get training for.

So if needs are simple can easily develop in-house, if can program with VBA, and know the Acad command language for scripts(*.scr).


Conrad Harrison
B.Tech (mfg & mech), MIIE, gradTIEAust
South Australia