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questions about 3D modeling software for steel structures

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In this weeks ENR magazine the cover story is about
how the structural drawings for the Soldier?s Field
project in Chicago were developed in part using XSteel
and then the model was given to the steel fabricator
for use by their detailers for production of shop
drawings.  From what I read in the article it sounds
like there were some glitches, but it appears that
this team approach where the engineer produces a model
and then passes it to the steel fabricator?s detailer
might standard procedure in the near future (at least
for complex projects).  Personally, I?m really looking
forward to this cool stuff!

I?d like to learn more about XSteel and SDS/2 (a
competing product).  We have some pretty complicated
projects in our office with architecturally exposed
structural steel and it seems that there would be some
obvious benefits to being able to create a precise
virtual model of the structure during design. 

Does anyone on the list use either of these programs? 
I would be curious to here some opinions about each ?
advantages, disadvantages, ease of use, ease of
learning to use them, are they worth the cost, etc.

Thanks for any advice or comments anyone wishes to

Cliff Schwinger

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