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Structural Member tool... The chocolate teapot.


Hi Everyone.

Despite the 2D/3D issues and missing profiles I highlighted last month I persevered with the tool to try and make it work for me, hoping that it would speed up general arrangement drawings. Unless I'm missing a trick and need a rigorous training course on how to properly use it, I don't consider it at all fit for purpose.


Lay out a column grid, and then link together with beams, try to move the beams in the z-axis, and then the columns disapear to a flat poly.... but only some of them! others move in the z also, and some don't move at all.

Cannot change start and end elevation values in columns with any degree of predictablity... enter a value and sometimes nothing changes.... somtimes the original value returns... Drag the column in the Z axis, and the values leap around all over the place, enter new values, and suddenly it changes to a whole new value which you didn't enter, nor drag to!!


Linking beams together I've found to be very touchy and unpredictable and sometimes links are broken for no reason... Beams linked into columns causes really odd behaviour on editing.

Using the resize handles give you a nice orange preview of what to expect, but when you release, the member leaps to a whole new, undesired and incorrect position, again with strange numbers appearing in the OIP boxes. Start and end conditions change at random, so suddenly they go from automatic to custom, and unless you're constantly monitoring the OIP during editing, errors easily creep in.


The Member ID box appears to be a dumb value and won't warn you if you're repeating a number, I might as well use record formats instead of this.... This tool could be great... I.E. edit a beam numbered B1, then all the B1's change to suit... Change a Beam to B2, and you have a new one to play with, but at the moment I can number every different beam with the same number... Passive which is a real shame, should ideally be similar to the drawing number co-ordination.


For live work, this tool is a massive liability! My models become real steel orders and ultimately a real building, so not only do I consider this very risky when ordering thousands of pounds worth of steel, but also, the potential exists of putting lives at risk. (But hopefully no-one will ever get that far!!!)


What sort of time scale is expected for the tool to come out of beta? Is it likely to be a service pack or wait until 2018 for a complete release?

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OK, same issues here.

Total Mikado here after some attempts


- Joins seem to be valid for Beams only, forgetting the Columns

- Trying to re-connect in Top Plan View changes Z Heights (please reliable axis lock in general)

- Trying to correct BEAM Start or End Heights by manual input seems to add that value to the

  unwanted value instead of overwriting.

  (After some attempts to get back to 3m, input a -12 m brought me back)

- Columns in Top Plan appearance destroyed

- Sometimes rest of join caps stay after connections unjoined, sometimes not

- Editing distance from join is ignored

- no better control in 3D either


I think there is a general lock needed in SM to avoid any rolling and to keep things horizontal or vertical.

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Thanks for looking into it from a mac also... I thought it was me using it all wrong at first, but clearly it's not just me!



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I sympathize with Russ but am also relieved that I am not the only one to experience these pathologies.   A programmer might say "Thar be dragons!" in the Structural Member Tool.   I know what it is to "code against effect" empirically in a buggy environment instead of coding by manual and to spec.   And that is what I have had to do here.  Programmers call this "a kluge."


The user-defined beams spec out fine, but when it comes time to set them, I can do little more than enter arbitrary values and then see where the beams land (!).   Moreover, the Tool seems unable to sense a change in Design Layers, so correct offsets are applied with respect to the previous layer.   

Edited by FrStephen

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