For a detailed explanation of table editing please refer to the RAM Manager manual (RAM Manager - Help - Manual).
In general, the master steel table is a text file that can be edited using any text editor (e.g. Word Pad). To add new sections to the table, just add new lines to the file within the appropriate section of the file (W, TS, etc.). Section names should not include any spaces, they should be unique and no more than 15 characters long.
If you prefer to use the program's built-in table editor, you can access this from the RAM Manager Tools menu.
If the added sections are to be used in steel beam design, then you must also add those section names in the steel beam design table (e.g. RAMAISC.BMS) followed by a space and then a "+" sign. The meaning of this and other symbols is discussed in the RAM Manager manual under Beam Design Table. Place the new section in the list of beam section between the next lighter and heavier sections (i.e. sorted by weight).
It is always recommended to use a new file name, rather than editing the original master and design beam tables because the original tables are reinstalled with each new version of the software.
Also note, the steel tables used in the RAM SBeam program are in the same format. Appendix A from the RAM SBeam manual can be read here: Appendix_A_RAM_SBeam_Tables
Make sure the table has the right extension. Some editors insist on appending an extra .txt on to the end of the file name when saving. So you end up with something like Mybeams.bms.txt rather than just MyBeams.bms, and that causes the files not to have the right extension so they are filtered out. Removing the trailing .txt extension may require some changes to the windows file browser default folder options as shown below:
The most reliable approach is to copy one of the files provided with the installation, then edit the contents of that new file and save using Notepad or Notepad++.
Also, make sure the file is placed into the correct folder locations. The default location for Tables in Windows 7 is:
C:\ProgramData\Bentley\Engineering\RAM Structural System\Tables
But this can be confirmed by opening RAM Manager - Criteria - Master steel table and looking at the top.
Note, the path to the Tables directory can be modified by editing the ramis.ini file as indicated on the RAMSS Files [FAQ] or by reinstalling the software and changing the directories.
If the file is listed, but gives an error like "Improper Units on line 1" it might be that the custom table is not a plain ANSI text file, but a text file with formatting.
Be sure to save the files as "plain Text" or with ANSI encoding only.
If the custom beam table is not a plain text file and includes any formatting which might come from using a rich text editor, then you can get a cryptic message like the one below when running the beam design.
Copy the text to a new plain text file as outlined above to solve such a problem.
When using built-up shapes as composite sections the new built up shape will need to be added to the master table and steel beam design table. When using built-up members, note the following:
All of the calculations of the composite section are still based on an assumption that the shape is an I-shaped section, all of the equations used by the program for wide-flange beams were derived from that shape. If the plastic neutral axis falls down in the bottom flange or within the added shape, the results given by the program will potentially be wrong (except for the case of a plate).
When the reinforcement is a plate, it is straight-forward: specify the bottom flange with a thickness of the combined flange and plate (tf' = tf + plate thickness) and specify the width as the width that would produce the same area as the combined flange and plate (bf' = (area of flange + area of plate) / tf'). This will give correct results, except the check for width / thickness requirements of the bottom flange will be based on the tf' and bf' dimensions rather than the real dimensions (which shouldn't be a problem unless the plate is very wide and thin). In this case Note, you do not have to specify the values of Area, Ix, Sx, Zx, etc. in the table(i.e., only specify the top and bottom flange dimensions and the depth and web thickness). If those values are left blank the program will calculate them based on the rectangular section dimensions.
Reinforcing the section with something other than a plate is more complicated. The dimensions specified for the bottom flange would have to account for the contribution of the real configuration of flange and channel or tube. You can't do this so that both the Zx (plastic section) and Ix (elastic section) are correct if the PNA or Ybar for any of the conditions (pre-composite or composite) falls in the bottom flange or in the added shape. I would try the following: calculate the bottom flange thickness as the overall vertical dimension of the flange thickness + the vertical dimension of the added shape (e.g., tf' = tf + tw for a channel, tf' = tf + b for a tube). Then calculate the area of the bottom flange + the area of the added shape. Then calculate the "equivalent" flange width (bf' = (area of flange + area of added shape) / tf'). Note that this is identical to what was done in the previous paragraph for a plate, but especially in the case of an added tube these dimensions will look very odd (thick and narrow). Again, do not specify the Area, Ix, etc in the table; let the program do that. Again, as long as the PNA is not in the bottom flange, the program should calculate Z correctly. I think that the deflections will also be correct as long as the elastic neutral axis (Ybar) does not fall within the bottom flange or added shape. Note that one major problem is that the program will not correctly perform any of the b/t checks for the added shape (for example the b/t ratio of the tube web) or for the bottom flange. If any of the elements are slender the composite design would be invalid.
Beams in RAM Steel are always considered plumb, i.e. web-vertical. Some users will edit the master table inverting the major and minor axis properties to create a new horizontal section with a new name, like "HSS4X8X1/2". Keep in mind, the program does not know that the beam is really a rotated member and therefore:
Consequently, this is more acceptable for rectangular tube shapes than for wide flanges.
Regretfully not. When creating custom sections, the user is limited to the shapes or profiles in the master table. For a cruciform section we advise users to make a new wide flange shape with the outer dimensions of the combined section, accurate flange and web thickness dimensions and user input values for area, inertia etc. Such a section will be analytically accurate, but the section will still appear as a wide flange in the graphics, and the design checks will all be performed using code provisions for wide flanges.
To activate larger depth trial groups, edit the column design table (or use the ramasic2.col table which includes all the AISC shapes). You'll find details in the Ram Manager manual, look for the section titled, "Column Design Tables".
RAMSS Beams [FAQ]
Customizing Reinforcing Bar Tables - How and Why
New Workflow for tables in RAM Structural System Version 14.06