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RE: Enercalc Reinforced Concrete Beam design

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O.K., I have received a demo of STRUCT.ect from Research Engineers and, at
first blush, it does not appear to be productive enough for me anyway, so I
will share how I am currently attacking the problem of producing
calculations that are analytically acceptable to me and meet my presentation

I set up a series of files in MS Word, Excel and MathCAD. I have created
(and in the process of creating) templates whenever I encounter a new
application. I put the file name in the footer for easy reference. The type
of template dictates which application I use to create it. I use Word for
cover sheet, specs, etc. I use Excel when I have a application that requires
lookups (although I believe MathCAD can do this as well) and then I use
MathCAD for those applications where showing the detailed calculations are
important. MathCAD is pretty powerful but I have to be careful not to make
the MathCAD template look like a computer program. I want the results to
look similar to hand calculations so that they can be reviewed easily.

I believe the downsides of using MathCAD (cost of the program, time to
create the templates) is quickly offset by having an extremely high comfort
level with the algorithms and control over the presentation of the
calculations (every page in my calculation package looks very similar-not
like they were created with different programs). I create a separate
template for each condition and not one that will solve every problem
eliminating the vastness of "0" data. For example, I have several simple
beam templates with different loading conditions and cantilever
configurations instead of one that does everything.

Although I have just started using this approach, it is already starting to
pay off in terms of pure productivity and comfort level with the results. I
am still wrestling with a few limitations in MathCAD. I would like a better
method to align items. There is no ruler bar like in MS Word nor are there
"snap" points like when I draw in MS Word. It would be nice to include a
drop down combo box (like I use in Excel) to select a beam size for example
(maybe version 8 will have VBA). I am still wrestling with getting sketches
into the templates that look good. For most of my simple beam diagrams, I
create them in MS Word and cut and paste them into MathCAD. My drawing
skills are limited to AutoCAD, so I am working on being able to sketch in
AutoCAD and then paste into MathCAD with proper line weights. There are some
utilities out there that will assist with this, but I am not there yet. And,
of course, it would be nice if OLE was not limited to one page. It also
would be nice if MS Binder would recognize MathCAD documents. I am also an
extreme novice to MathCAD features and possibly some of these issues will go
away although the templates I've seen from some of the experts look more
like computer programs (flow chart style) than hand calculations.

There are also a lot of pre-written MathCAD templates for structural
engineering applications. You can find them at:

Bill Allen
-----Original Message-----
From: Joseph Harouni [mailto:yosi_h(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 1998 5:53 PM
To: seaoc(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: Enercalc Reinforced Concrete Beam design

Does anyone know of an alternative to ENERCALC SEL5.0 (the window version)?
Thank You

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Dan Connell [mailto:bauengrg(--nospam--at)]
> Sent: Friday, July 10, 1998 12:53 PM
> To: seaoc(--nospam--at)
> Subject: Re: Enercalc Reinforced Concrete Beam design
> This message is just a general comment on Enercalc.
> We upgraded from the DOS version to the Windows 95 version last
> year.  Since
> that upgrade we have had nothing but problems with the new
> version.  I have
> downloaded all of the updates but still have problems.  General protection
> faults, page faults, complete freeze of the machine, etc.  These
> problems have
> occurred on 4 different computers in my office.  I have sense
> went back to the
> old DOS version because it works better  (not perfectly).
> Michael Brooks has not been able to help me with my problems yet.
>  He seems to
> be "too busy".
> If anyone else has had similar problems with Enercalc, Let me know.
> I like the new windows interface but the bugs give me too many headaches.
> Thanks,
> Daniel Connell
> Baumann Engineering
> Newport Beach, CA