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RE: Opinions on "Multiframe"

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Multiframe can be found at: http://www.formsys.com

I use the windows version, but not very often. Recently envelopes for load
cases were added which is a vast improvement. It has so called "design"
modules for steel design. The codes available are AS4100, ASD, LRFD, BS5950,
Eurocode 3, and a few others. The Beta version is also currently out for
AS4600, cold-formed design, also to the US LRFD (AISI) specification.

I find the design reports over long, even the brief version of the reports.
Whilst the reports can be customized, the options available are somewhat
limited. 

Compared to Microstran and Spacegass however the user interface is
excellent, very flexible. Data and results are presented in spreadsheet like
tables, and data can be copy/pasted to and from these tables. For example
dimension and geometry can be calculated in excel then pasted into
Multiframe, as can loads. (The program is only a frame analysis program, not
general purpose FEM)

The section maker in the Beta version has also been updated to calculate
section properties for cold-formed sections.

The main reason however that I got multiframe is for its COM Automation
interface. Most of the projects I deal with concern simple structures
supplied by builders and manufacturers in a repetitive manner. Tasks given
usually involve finding maximum heights and maximum spans that can be
achieved from a given section for a given structural form and application. 

With the COM automation I can program reports with the format that I want in
Excel or Word or any other application that supports COM, and also
manipulate the data to get the information I want (eg. Height versus span
capability chart for a gable frame). (Or at least that's the idea. At
present I have more confidence in Kleinlogel formulae for the task. In
Multiframe have to be careful how the dimension/geometry of an existing
model are adjusted to avoid loads changing direction.)

There are 3 versions : Multiframe 2D, Multiframe 3D and MultiFrame 4D. The
2D version didn't have the COM automation interface, not sure if it does
now. The 4D version introduces time, and comes with time series data for
various earthquakes. I've never been involved with earthquake design so I
cannot comment on that. (Section Maker and steeldesigner are additional
options.)

Whilst over all I think the program is excellent. There are a few things I
don't like. Such as the table of reactions, lists reactions for all nodes in
the structure not just the supports. Its display of vertical UDL on a column
looks like a horizontal load. The steel designer wants too many questions
answered. I want tension only members checked for tension. Have to check
members in batches appropriate to conditions for the member, cannot simply
check all members to the code. The "designer" also is restricted to a given
group of sections universal beams or universal columns for example, it
cannot select optimum from the two groups. So what ever group of sections
your original section is in, that is the group which will be searched and no
other. But then I mostly design cold-formed steel and timber so hardly ever
use the steel designer. When I use the steel designer, I generally argue
with it, having already sized the members using design capacity tables. (It
does only have a steel designer at present). The section libraries are also
confusing, since material property references are not brought over to steel
designer. Steel designer uses its own material properties. But once get used
to these things its not a real problem. (Most of the time I just use
Multiframe to test ideas, as a second opinion. A research tool.)

The program does improve from one year to the next. The drawing editor has
had new features added, and more ways of sorting and sifting data have been
added. And as I say I don't use it very often, but when I do it is easy to
pick up and start using straight away. And any additional features you
desire, program them using the COM interface. 

In any case you can download the demo and do all the testing you like,
including programming COM automation (examples provided for Word, Excel,
Access and AutoCAD).

Regards
Conrad Harrison
B.Tech (mfg & mech), MIIE, gradTIEAust
mailto:sch.tectonic(--nospam--at)bigpond.com
Adelaide
South Australia
-----Original Message-----
From: Marlou Rodriguez [mailto:mbrodrig(--nospam--at)mbrodriguez.com] 
Sent: Tuesday, 19 June 2007 06:18
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: RE: Opinions on "Multiframe"

I too used it back when it was Mac based.  I used it when I was in
school at Cal Poly.  For those who had Dr. Blackman in Cal Poly ARCE
department, that was little baby.  At the time it was fine to use and
learn from.  I have never used the PC based version so I can't comment
on that.  Give us an update on what you find out.  We are constantly
looking at upgrading our programs.



Marlou Rodriguez, S.E.

MBRodriguez Engineering Inc.

2355 Oakland Road, Suite 14

San Jose, CA 95131

Tel: (408) 432-4866

Cel: (408) 761-5013


-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Johnson [mailto:markajohn(--nospam--at)yahoo.com] 
Sent: Monday, June 18, 2007 12:12 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: Opinions on "Multiframe"

Anyone have experience/opinions on a FEA program
called Multiframe?  Good or otherwise?

TIA
MJ

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