Steel for MicroStation CONNECT Edition

Following up on some of our users' request, the Steel MDL application is now available for MicroStaion CONNECT Edition. The Steel MDL application allows you to select steel sections from an available list of standards and place them in your design files.

[NEW] Join or View this STEEL for CONNECT Webinar (Date: 2020-3-5).

The download for this utility can be found here.

Installation Instructions:

Place the following files in the ...\MicroStation\mdlapps\ folder.

The steel section data files (.stbl and .stf files) can be put in different directories if desired (see below).

To Load Steel Application

Key-in MDL LOAD Steel in the Key-in dialog.


Utilities > MDL Applications > Loaded applications

The Steel toolbox opens.

To Use Steel

The Steel toolbox has two icons, ‘Place Steel Section’ and ‘Steel Section Parameters’. Clicking on place steel icon will start placing a steel section. The steel section is chosen in the Tool Settings dialog. Additional placement parameters are in the Steel Section Parameters dialog, accessible using the Steel Section Parameters Icon. 

Section Data Tables

When the application starts up, it reads one or more steel section data tables from ASCII file(s). These files contain the section dimensions. Steel for MicroStation CONNECT Edition supports two different steel table formats. One format is that of the "steel97" application that has previously been available, and the other is the steel table format from the Structural for TriForma application. The latter format has been updated more recently and is believed to be more reliable, however there is no warranty, expressed or implied regarding the accuracy of the steel table information in either format.

A number of steel section files have been included - steel99.stbl, which was earlier compiled for the steel99 application available on the ProCADD web site, modified to the steel97 format; and 12 steel files in the Structural for TriForma format (cisc.stf, corusCUSTOM.stf, German.stf, japan.stf, korean.stf, maisc.stf, pacific.stf, Polish.stf, Russion.stf, uk.stf, usAISC21.stf, usLRFDv3.stf). We recommend that you select the steel tables that are applicable to your work and delete the rest. Alternatively, they can be moved to different directories and the STEEL_TBL configuration variable set up to find the appropriate tables for any project (see below).

The format of steel97 application ASCII data format contains the section name, section type, and dimensions.


     S12x35            2 12.000000 0.428000 5.078000 0.544000    1.187500
     S12x31.8          2 12.000000 0.350000 5.000000 0.544000    1.187500
     S10x35            2 10.000000 0.594000 4.944000 0.491000    1.125000
     S10x25.4          2 10.000000 0.311000 4.661000 0.491000    1.125000
     L8x8x1            7 8.000000 1.000000 8.000000 1.625000  
     L8x8x0.875        7 8.000000 0.875000 8.000000 1.500000  
     L8x8x0.75        7 8.000000 0.750000 8.000000 1.375000  

The section types are:

1 W-Shape
2 S-Shape
3 HP-Shape
4 M-Shape
5 C-Std. Channels
6 MC-Misc. Channels
7 L-Angles
8 WT-Tees
9 MT-Tees
10 ST-Tees
11 Struct. Tubing
12 Std. Pipe
13 X-Strong Pipe
14 XX-Strong Pipe

The TriForma format differs in some particulars. See the beginning of the file usLRFDv3.stf for documentation. These files must have the extension ".stf". Note that the steel application cannot process steel sections with types 6,7,8,13,14,15,16, and 17 in .stf files - their definitions are simply ignored.

The TriForma format follows the new AISC guidelines and does not include fillets for many of the shapes, since these vary widely during manufacturing. The program supports nonzero radius values, but in many cases the radius is set to zero.

The application finds the steel tables using the following algorithm:

  1. If there is a configuration variable "STEEL_TBL", the application looks in that directory for all files with extensions ".stbl" and ".stf" and attempts to read them.
  2. If there is no configuration variable "STEEL_TBL", the application looks in the directory that is pointed to by the MS_DATA configuration variable and attempts to read all files with extensions ".stbl" and ".stf".
  3. Looks in the directory pointed to by the "TFDIR_DATA" directory, if there is one, for files with ".stf" extension.
  4. The application always looks for all files with extension ".stbl" and ".stf" in the directory that the application is loaded from.

Placing Sections

  1. Click on the "Place Steel Section" icon.
  2. Select the appropriate steel section table from the top option button.
  3. Select the appropriate steel section type from the second option button.
  4. Select the desired section by name in the combo box.
  5. Choose whether to fill or hatch the steel section, or neither.
  6. Indicate whether you want to create a cell from the steel section.
  7. The cell name will be the section name if this is turned on.
  8. Choose colors, etc., by using the Steel Section Parameters dialog, if desired.
  9. The hatch spacing is equal to the current text height times the spacing factor.
  10. The justification point is stored per section type. To change it, edit the value in the Justification column of the table in the parameter dialog. Double click slowly in the desired cell to get the combo box to come up.

Please note that this application has been ported as is and there will be no further development to enhance its functionalities. You can find alternative CONNECT Edition parametric workflows for the above here.