Sharpen your Skills and find the RAM Elements Hidden Gems

This week my department kicked off a series of weekly FREE Insider Skills Seminars geared to sharpen your skills.  These seminars will keep you up-to-date with new features, dig deeper into criteria, and can serve as an extension of our blog posts. 


Event:  Insider Skills

When: Friday's @ 1pm eastern/Noon central/10am pacific   

Where:  Blackboard web based sharing


Here is  our full schedule for 2013:

Week 1:  ProStructures -  June 7,  July 5, August 2, September 6, October 4, November 1, December 6

Week 2:  AutoPIPE- June 14, July 12, August 9, September 13, October 11, November 8, December  6

Week 3:  STAAD -  June 21, July 19, August 16, September 20, October 18, November 15, December 13

Week 4:  RAM - June 28, July 26, August 30, September 27, October 25, November 22, December 13


For the login procedures  go to these links:






Let's get on to some Hidden Gems in RAM Elements.


Recently Beth blogged about the Material Design Parameters in RE.  These really are a whole bucket of gems that even seasoned users tend to forget about.   The parameter that I always find most useful and forget about the first time around is the unbraced length.  As a default RAM Elements calculates the unbraced length of the member as distance between end nodes.  If you have  other members bracing your member of interest or steel deck you will definitely want to enter the values in Steel Parameters.


There are several unbraced length parameter spots giving you flexibility to set separate unbraced lengths for compression checks (weak or strong axis) or bending checks (tension and compression flanges). 



The fields that I will give the official Hidden Gem title is the CLT and CFT parameters.  Use CLT when you have deck or any other Continuous Lateral Torsional restraint systems on your members.  Just be aware that when CLT is selected that lateral torsional buckling is not considered in the design.  Use CFT for members that have Continuous Flexural-Torsional restraint.  Note that AISC section E4 will be ignored in your compression checks.

Hidden Gem #2 for RE is the model merge powered by OpenRE.  Access the model merge option under the RE button>Import>OpenRE (model merge) while in the destination file.  Select the model to merge in and fill out the parameters in the dialog.



The last RE Hidden Gem for today is context sensitive help (CSH).  I love this feature in RE and I can't talk about it enough in trainings or blogs or seminars.  In RE's pad environments - modules, section database, etc. the CSH is right there docked to the right or bottom of  the window.  It offers targeted help with insights into how items are implemented into RE, code references, and implemented equations.  You can also get CSH in any of the datasheets by clicking on the Help button on the spreadsheet ribbon.  The CSH will explain order of selection for the tools in that sheet or give more info on the parameters.  Here is one of my favorite CSH sections that I refer to often when explaining the local axis nomenclature in RE.



Let me know what workflow, tool, or topic you would like more info on and I will turn it into a blog or an Insider Skills presentation!


Don't let projects get you overstressed, RAM gives you strength.