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Re: engineering software

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We were a beta tester for the new windows version of
RISA3D for windows, and have had the final release
versions for a few weeks now.

This new version has some incredible strengths.

Input of data and visual checking of your model as
you build it is in a class all by itself.  It is SO
easy to use.  It is very graphical in nature, but
you can easily put everything in by typing in
everything if you want.  And you can do them both at
the same time if you want.  YOu can add a beam
graphically, and add the next one by typing it in
the spreadsheet, and so on.  Both input methods are
available in seperate windows and open at the same
time.  It has the ability to open multiple windows
with different views and or information of the model
at the same time.  You can easily jump from one to
another.  You can easily create custom shapes. 
Steel design and code checking are a snap with
RISA3D for Windows.  The dynamic analysis section is
"adequate" and up to par with most general purpose
3d finite element type analysis programs.  Output is
also great and very flexible as to how you want to
see the output, either in printed form or graphical.

Weaknesses of RISA3D for Windows.

There is no post processor for concrete.  So while
you can get the moments, shears and deflections of
the concrete sections, there is no way to do a
design or even check a design inside of RISA.  I am
told this is coming in future releases, but it is
anyone's guess as to when this will be out.

The dynamic analysis section is adequate for many
simple structures.  However, for some of our more
complicated buildings, it does not have the power
and options that SAP 2000 or similar programs have. 
We have both RISA3D and SAP2000.  The nice thing is
that we can create the basic geometry of a model in
RISA3D and then transfer it to SAP2000 by using the
"DXF" in and out features of both programs.  

I wish SAP programmers would take a look at RISA and
see what they have done with their data input

I have seen demo's of visual analysis and other
programs that have been mentioned, but I am not
really familiar enough with them to say how they
compare with RISA3D or SAP 2000.  For us, the
combination of RISA and SAP works well (covers all
of the bases).