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VisualAnalysis 12.0 Help

Working in Model View

Drawing Mode

Set the drawing mode between {Draw Nothing, Draw Members, Draw Plates, Draw Cables, or Draw Areas } to determine what kinds of elements you create by dragging the mouse. These options are available in the Model menu, on the toolbar or in the Filter tab of Project Manager.

Drawing Tips: To prevent drawing elements in a Model View use Model | Drawing Mode | Nothing. If you wish to draw elements between existing nodes but not between grid points, then turn-off any grids using Grids tab of the Project Manager.

Using Grids

Grids are helpful "layout" tools that let you predefine acceptable locations for nodes in the model. New in this version is the ability to use multiple grids and grids with irregular spacings. The Grids tab of Project Manager or the View | Grid Manager menu allows you to access the Grid Manager for creating or adjusting grids and also turning them on or off. With grids turned on, your mouse dragging operations will "snap" to grid-points as well as to already existing nodes (in that order). You can adjust the grids at any time without affecting any existing model objects. Grids are only used to help define the locations of newly created nodes.

Sketch a Member

In order to sketch a member in the workspace of Model View, make sure that you are in the "Draw Members" mode by selecting this item from the Model menu.

Then drag your mouse and hold the button down while moving. You may drag to and from grid points or existing nodes. The mouse cursor will change to show that you are creating a member and will "rubber band" a line to show where it will go. Simply lift the mouse button to create the member.

If the grid is not turned on you will not be able to create any new nodes by sketching members. You may also sketch beyond the border of the window, watching the coordinates in the lower right corner of the Status Bar to determine when to release the button, or you may wish to "zoom out" before drawing.

Members that you sketch default to the properties of the previously drawn or edited member, so it is helpful to define properties as you create your model.

Sketch a Plate

Make sure that you are in the "Draw Plates" mode by selecting this item from the Model menu.

To sketch a plate element in the Model View, Click once on a grid point or existing node to define the first corner. Then as you move the mouse you will see a "rubber band" line and a special cursor. Click (push and release) on each subsequent corner of the plate to define the four corners. To draw a triangular plate element, click on the starting node to finish the shape. The operation might fail if the plate edges cross, or if the plate would otherwise be ill formed.

Skteching Area objects is similar to plates, except the polygon may have more than four sides.

Auto-Split Members

By default VisualAnalysis attempts to keep your model well-defined by connecting all member elements as you sketch models. If you sketch a new element such that it crosses or intersects an existing element, VisualAnalysis will automatically split and connect the new element (in a cascading fashion) to produce a well-defined finite element mesh. You can prevent any auto-splitting behavior by holding the Alt key while sketching. Then you will need to manually split elements or otherwise insure your model is well defined.

There is a preference setting under Edit | Preferences, in the Desktop section that allows VisualAnalysis to prompt you for the desired action {split, no split, cancel} if you prefer a more explicit method of control.

Modeling X-Braces

The normal way of modeling X-bracing members is to draw two independent member elements that cross but do not connect. This is appropriate because the members typically carry only axial forces and do not need to interact for a valid analysis. You can handle any design unbraced length issues in the design group by specifying a mid-point brace, as appropriate for your situation. To draw members that cross but do not split, hold the Alt key on the keyboard when sketching the crossing member.

Caution: If you decide to connect your X-braces (so you have four member elements instead of two), you should avoid the tension-only member option and  be careful with member end releases. Both can easily result in unstable model configurations.

Extend a Member

Generate new members along the axis of an existing member to either a specified length or to an intersection with another member (if there is such a member). You may extend the member either forward (local +x direction) or backward (-x). If you extend a member to a specific length and your new member crosses one or more existing members, you have the option of combining your new members with the member to be extended or leaving them as separate pieces.

Note: If your extended members cross plate elements, these will be automatically split (meshed) regardless of your auto-split settings.

Snap to Members

Drawing with a Grid

Members are drawn to grid-points. If newly created members intersect an existing member, this will cause the existing member to be split at that grid-point according to your auto-split settings.

Drawing without any Grids

If no grids are displayed, you can still sketch members from an existing node to a member snap--point which are defined at member quarter points (L/4, L/2, 3L/4).

Copy Member Properties (Format Painter)

VisualAnalysis allows you to "copy & paste" member properties. Select a member, use Edit | Copy, and then select any other member elements before using Edit | Format Painter. You will be prompted with a small dialog box asking you which properties of the original member you would like copied to the others, such as: Shape, Material, Beta Angle, or other properties.