If you are thinking about your first steel detailing software, or moving up to a full 3D modeling software, I’m going to inform you of my experiences using Tekla Structures as a steel detailer.
I attended a seminar on Tekla Structures and was very impressed with the direction this software was headed and the development team behind it was vast. If you are intending to learn this software I highly suggest investing the extra money in the training class.
Your working environment is a fully rendered 3D model so you can visualize any aspect of the model and see any possible problems that need special attention. The program is very robust and feature rich and can be overwhelming at first. After 10 years of use there is nothing I can not do in this program and have been a beta tester also.
The program handles all your connection needs by way of macros to execute on the selected members. The developers were kind enough to even give the user the ability to create custom components to suit your needs and can be made very intelligent to perform different tasks depending on framing conditions involved. Before this ability existed the user might have to learn C++ to develop their own custom intelligent macros but that is now a thing of the past and a very powerful tool.
Drawing creation is very simplified and can even be tailored to your needs, automatic and manual dimensioning possibilities. You can custom create your own customer templates for logos and bill of materials. Drawings can be printed to a variety of file formats and my personal favorite is Adobe’s pdf format which also makes it nice for electronic transfer to your customers.
You can export all applicable cnc machine data file in either DSTV or Peddimat format. Fabtrol file export is also possible. There is also a vast assortment of import file abilities. The last project I did the architect used Autodesk Inventor and provided me with his files. I was able to import his 3D model in and use it as a template, worked wonders for accuracy.
There is far more to be said of this software and in my ten years this software has developed into a marvel and is still growing with a very large user base.