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Re: STEEL: Connection Design Software

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Bill,
I batted this one around a few years ago. I do work occasionally for a few steel fabricators and have built a few Excel spreadsheets which I use, mostly in metric. I looked at Descon and thought it comprehensive but too expensive if you bought both the connections and bracing connections packages and at that time it was available only in ASD. There were both English and Australian programs which offered connection design capabilities ( and to AISC specs) but they were part of the bigger software packages, although I think one of the English ones may have been a separate connection proram. The only connection design software I have seen that stood alone outside of Descon was offered by Tedds. This was several years ago, it didn't do shear connections (they felt the steel manual handled shear connections adequately) and was only $400 US, because it was still being developed. I don't know its status now and if it is any larger. I think it best to use the AISC Connections manual and build your own spreadsheets and maybe compare the results against the Descon output and the steel manual. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Gary

Bill Polhemus wrote:
Been awhile since we batted this around.

We've been using Descon. To be honest, I'm not thrilled with the price/performance and their support has been less than stellar. Most of our problems have been related to installation and licensing issues - it almost seems as though we're going back to the "bad old days" of copy-protection schemes that make the software a real pain in the arse to use.

I also don't like the fact that you can select EITHER LRFD OR ASD and not both (unless you pay double, at least). Seems to me that with the present code provisions it's not that big a deal to swing both ways.

On the plus side, it does seem to be fully-featured, it does go by the latest AISC code provisions, and the sketches it puts out are really almost detailer-quality.

Is there any sort of alternative out there that anyone would recommend? Would love it if IES would do a program like this; I still consider there stuff the best bang-for-the-buck of anything out there, including their entire line of products.

Regards to all.

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