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RE: Structural Engineering Software

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"I recommend you try RISA-3D. It's solid, reliable, quite easy to learn and
use. I believe it will cover 99.9% of your needs (if not 100%). Good
technical support, too, and by the way, I'm not a RISA salesman on

Gabe Bohm
San Dimas, Ca."

To add to Gabe's comments - I too highly recommend Risa Technologies new
version of RISA-3D. It is truly a user-friendly and intuitive software.
Bruce Bates should be commended as he did what most software developers fail
to do - take the time to design it right.

With this said, I have also worked with MultiFrame 4D from the Daystar line
of software. Originally created as a MAC product, MultiFrame has been around
for a while and is a rock solid software with excellent user support. A
quarterly newsletter is sent to registered users which announces upgrades
and touts the programs capabilities. As with RISA, Multi-Frame is very
intuitive and user-friendly. It is an excellent software. The only complaint
I have is that it requires a hardware Dongle for protection against
unlicensed use. I found that my printer (I use it with my laptop) did not
work when the Dongle was in place and had other problems with hardware that
uses the parallel port as a pass-through.

One final program that I played with and which is extremely powerful is
STRAP. Although I played with a very limited evaluation copy, I found that
the program was excellent. I don't think STRAP is as easy to use or learn as
RISA and Multi-Frame, but this is because it takes time to learn the menu
structure as most of the commands, however intuitive, are nested and require
time to learn where they are located.

STRAP was the only program that came with a cold-formed library although the
other two allow the user to create custom libraries.

All have excellent graphics (although I have not confirmed this, but I think
that RISA is easier to interpret the type of connection used).

I am not discounting the value of other software's that perform FEM - I
don't have as much experience with them. Avansee looked to be an excellent
program bogged down with very poor vendor support. The best thing that the
developer could have done was to associate themselves with a strong company
like RAM Analysis who has the capability of overcoming the weakness of the
developer and create a very strong market competitor. Avansee was also a
very intuitive and easy software to learn. As I mentioned, I think most of
it's weaknesses will now be alleviated with their relationship with such a
solid company as RAM.

Dennis S. Wish, PE
SEConsultant(--nospam--at) <mailto:SEConsultant(--nospam--at)>
(208) 361-5447 Efax

"Y2K?  Been there, done that:o)"