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RE: Steel Beam Design Program

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I do things a little complicated, however, for me, I know the process works.  I use two things when designing steel beams.  First, if the structure is at all complicated, or will take a lot of analysis busy work, I use STAAD Pro for the analysis.  I use this just to get beam forces (moments, axials, shears).
From there, I go to my personally developed spreadsheets.  We haven't dove into "composite" construction a whole lot out here, so my spreadsheets are for "non-composite" steel beams.  All I do is plug in my member forces, the beam unbraced length, and change the member size (via pull down) until I get the lightest section that works for the given loads.  The spreadsheet is pretty slick because it checks all aspects of design as well as slenderness ratios and width thickness limits all within.
I know the STAAD program has a design feature built in, however, I've never been very comfortable with it so I opt not to use it.  I find it very reliable for acquiring forces.
That's my process, and it works pretty good for me.
Dave Maynard, PE
Gillette, Wyoming
-----Original Message-----
From: Rich Lewis [mailto:seaint02(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2005 10:44 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Steel Beam Design Program

I am looking for recommendations for steel beam design software, both composite and non-composite.  I want a stand-alone program, not just part of a full package.  Please tell me about good programs and what makes them good.