Advance Design is a mature and easy to use FEM Structural Analysis solution dedicated to structural engineers operating in a BIM environment.
While modeling in Advance Design is already as easy as possible, there are ways that can decrease your design time even more. Advance Design has the means needed to define geometry by using interactive tables. These tables should contain all the parameters needed to define the structure (Coordinates, Section, Releases, etc.). As one of the features of these tables is the ability to work with an Excel spreadsheet, it can be used to generate a model of complex geometries automatically, using for example Excel macros or even Dynamo scripts. So let's see what it might look like when using Dynamo Sandbox tools.
Dynamo Sandbox is an open-source environment for visual programming. Programming with Dynamo is becoming more and more popular and can be successfully used to define geometry in a parametric way. And one of the advantages of using Dynamo to prepare a complex model is the ability to preview geometry.
Figure 1 – Model in Dynamo
In order for the geometry modeled in Dynamo to be transferred to an Excel table, a necessary step is to prepare an appropriate custom node.
Figure 2 - Dynamo Custom node
Its task is to convert geometric data of linear elements so that they can be presented in Excel using the same syntax as the tables generated by Advance Design. By properly combining these data and exporting them to Excel, the result is a table with linear element data.
Figure 3 - Table exported automatically from Dynamo
Once exported, you just need to import the table in Advance Design, using the interactive (Data Grid) tables. To do this, model in Advance Design the same number of linear elements as you have in the Dynamo structure, and then use the function to import data from Excel to interactive tables.
Figure 4 - Data grid structure
As a result, in Advance Design, we will get a model generated in Dynamo.
Figure 5 - Advance Design model after import
After the model is completed with further data, such as loads, FEM calculations can be performed
Figure 7 Self-Weight Diagram
In conclusion, here is another application for the Data Grid of Advance Design. One that will help us ease the modeling process and gain time by using an open-source piece of software like Dynamo Sandbox.
Special thanks to Konrad Ociepka (Polish Graitec department) for the idea and preparation of the example.
Read more about different functionalities of Advance Design in the following articles: