Creating a Parametric Steel Section

Since the old STEEL MDL application is not supported in MicroStation CONNECT Edition, you can use advanced Parametric Modeling features to create steel sections as per your requirements. In this blog, we will create a parametric steel C-Section cell as an example. Item types that contain additional information such as make, grade of steel, type of section, etc. can also be attached to this parametric cell. 

SEE RELATED TOPIC: Creating a Parametric Steel Section (Instructional Video)

Based on this example other Steel Sections like L, T, TS, W, Pipe, etc. can be created with variations and used as needed.

Follow the steps below to create a Parametric C-Section:

  1. Create a 3D design model. Make sure the Ability to Place as Cell is turned on in the Create Model dialog and Cell Type is set to Parametric.
  2. In the 3D model, create the following Local Variables and Variations in the Variables Dialog: (Variations here are based on the AISC Steel 99 table. Section sizes from any other steel table can also be used).
    Note: The C Section Length variable is not documented in the Steel table standard. You can set it to desired lengths of the sections.
    Variables                                                      Variations (Units = inches)                                                           
    C4x5.4 C6x8.2 C7x12.25 C8x11.5 C9x13.4 C10x25 C15x33.9
    C Depth 4.000 6.000 7.000 8.000 9.000 10.00


    C Flange Width 1.584 2.000 2.194 2.260 2.433 2.886 3.400
    C Flange Thk 0.296 0.343 0.366 0.390 0.413 0.436 0.650
    C Web Thk 0.184 0.200 0.134 0.220 0.233 0.526 0.400
    C Section Length 54.00 66.00 96.00 96.00 222.0 120.0 144.0
    You can create the above variations manually or import them from the Steel Section Variables.csv file.
    Following video shows how to create a variation:

    Likewise, as many variations as needed can be created.
  3. You can create and attach desired Item Types to the variations. In this example I have created an Item type called Steel Section with Property Definitions - Make, Grade and Shape.
  4. In the Top view, draw a simple C – section element using the Place Line/Smart Line tool. Place the top left corner of the profile and the ACS at the origin (0,0,0). This will set the insertion point for the cell.
  5. Define the following 2D Constraints:
    • Parallel and Perpendicular constraints to the vertical and horizontal edges.
    • Fixed Constraint to the top left corner and the left edge.
    • Equal constraint to the edges of both flanges to make them the same size.

    • Distance Constraints C Depth, C Flange Width, C Flange Thk, C Web Thk. to the edges.
       Following video shows only a few constraints being applied as an example:
      Similarly other constraints can be applied to the profile.

  6. The cell is now ready with its variations. (The variations mentioned here are just a few out of the many available in the Steel table. All desired variations from the table standards can be added to the Variables dialog as needed.)
  7. Test these variations. 

    This 2D profile can be extruded to desired lengths using the Solid by Extrusion tool for use is 3D designs. You can extrude the sections using the C Section Length constraint. 

These extruded 3d cells can be inserted in any design as desired. Refer to the video below.

Similarly, parametric sections can be created for other Steel Sections like L, T, TS, W, Pipe, etc. Refer to sample DGN.