Faster Steel Construction Documents


Industry Problem: Producing the drawings and other documents needed to fabricate and construct steel-framed structures can be a lengthy process.

CADLearning Expert Solution: Automate the creation of fabrication drawings, bills of materials, and NC files with Advance Steel.

To begin working in Advance Steel, users typically first model the steel structure in 3D. Advance Steel provides tools for laying out grid lines, placing columns and beams, and adding other components, such as bar joists, cross-bracing, stairs, decking, and so on. The program includes a huge library of steel shapes and components from all over the world, as well as custom tools—including specialized object snap modes—that make it very easy to build 3D models of even the most complex steel structures.

Once the major steel components have been placed, Advance Steel offers a large library of automatic steel connections that can be accessed through a unique palette called the Connection Vault. This is where users can find different types of simple and complex parametric connections. After choosing the type of connection, simply pick the structural members to be connected, and the software automatically adds the necessary clips, plates, bolts, and so on. Information panels in the Connection Vault include both text and images that clearly explain how to add each type of connection.

Once added to the model, make adjustments to the properties of the objects that make up the steel connections, such as changing the number and size of the bolts. As these properties are changed, the model immediately updates to reflect the changes.

After completing the 3D model, ready-made templates, predefined drawing styles, and drawing processes can be used to automatically produce erection drawings, fabrication drawings, and so on, complete with all labels and dimensions, as well as bills of materials. Advance Steel can also automatically generate the numerical control data needed to fabricate the various steel components using NC machines.

Making Modifications

At any time, modifications, such as changing the size of beams and columns, or modifying connections (such as changing the bolt quantity or spacing), can be made in the 3D model. Advance Steel informs users in real-time if documents such as drawings, bills of materials, and CNC data require an update. The program then makes it easy to update the drawings, complete with integrated revision control. All documents are updated to show the new dimensions and quantities, with automatically generated revision clouds. All that revision information also appears in drawing title blocks.

One of the most anticipated new capabilities in Advance Steel 2017 is its bidirectional interoperability with Autodesk Revit. Thanks to two new add-ins for Revit, users can now export structure data from Revit directly to Advance Steel, import data from Advance Steel into Revit, and synchronize the models in both programs as changes are made.

The Advance Steel Extension for Autodesk Revit facilitates the exchange of data between the two programs, while the Steel Connections Add-in for Autodesk Revit makes the same steel connections found in Advance Steel available for the first time within Revit.

-          David Cohn, CADLearning Senior Content Manager


CADLearning Playlist of the Week: Get started creating steel-framed structures.

  1. Selecting Objects 
  2. Using Filtering Tools
  3. Marking Objects 
  4. Understanding Coordinate Systems 
  5. Introducing Grids 

Did You Know?

With CADLearning Enterprise Solutions, companies are able to integrate their own custom content using flexible learning tools.

For more industry solutions, check out the full “Did You Know?” series:

  1. Make Civil Engineering Presentations Pop
  2. Renovations Made Easier with Point Clouds
  3. Light Up Your Design
  4. The Power of Programming without Coding
  5. Clear and Concise Drawings from 3D Models
  6. Organize Data to Better Manage a Product Lifecycle
  7. Faster, More Accurate Product Design with 3D Printing
  8. Simulations that Look More Lifelike
  9. Create Roundabouts in Moments


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