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Geometric and structural properties of cross sections

Create and Analyze Custom Sections

Engineers Choose ShapeBuilder

ShapeBuilder is the most popular section property calculator available. Customers tell us it offers "fast results" and is "very easy to use". This tool goes beyond civil/structural applications to include mechanical, aerospace, manufacturing, and construction industries.

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Make Custom Shapes

Create built-up or cut-down structural shapes quickly using a variety of techniques.
  • Import CAD, STEP/IGES
  • 25+ parametric parts
  • Manufactured shape database
  • Sketch outline
  • Use cold-formed shape libraries from RSG's CFS Tool

Easy Shape Changes

Powerful graphical editor allows you to modify or change things.
  • Drag & drop
  • Snap, align, space equal
  • Generate, copy/paste
  • Rotate
  • Any part as a hole
  • Merge, intersect, subtract

Do Composite Shapes

Find transformed section properties for shapes in multiple materials.
  • Wood/steel flitch beams
  • Composite steel beam
  • Embedded steel column
  • Cover-plated girder
  • Glass/aluminum frame

Get Stress Analysis

Investigate bending and shear stress distribution under body-force loading. Accurate finite element results.
  • Biaxial bending stress
  • Axial stress
  • Flexural shear stress
  • St. Venant shear
  • Shear flow, VQ/I

Export to VA

Create a library of shapes. Use these shapes as member elements in your VisualAnalysis projects. Even get design checks for certain profiles.


Manufactured Shapes

Includes built-in libraries of shapes from AISC, CISC, AISI, NDS, ADM, EuroSteel, Australian Steel, Rebar. Includes Historic AISC shapes, too.


Command Line

ShapeBuilder includes a simple command-line to provide another way of working with your shapes. This power-user feature offers the power of C# programming. Sometimes you know what you want to do, but not how, graphically. The command-line makes it easy.


Create your own external scripts. You can automate the task of importing a CAD file, calculating properties, saving the ShapeBuilder project and creating a report. This is just one example of streamlining your workflow with ShapeBuilder.

Find Shear and Torsion

Calculate torsion and warping constants for open or closed sections. View the warping function graphically.


Make Excellent Reports

Create a concise one-page report with graphics to show all the calculated properties. Include dimensions or stress results.

stacked steel i-beams

ShapeBuilder Specifications

The following section properties are calculated by ShapeBuilder. Please see the User's Guide for complete details and training videos.

Geometric & Structural Properties
Height, Width, Perimeter
Area, Net Area
Center of Gravity, Xc, Yc
Moments of Inertia, Iy, Ix
Product of Inertia, Ixy
Section Modulus, Sx+, Sx-, Sy+, Sy-
Radius of Gyration, ry, rx
Plastic, Polar, Principal Properties
Plastic Neutral Axis, PNAY, PNAX
Plastic Modulus, Zy, Zx
Polar Moment of Inertia, Ip
Polar Radius of Gyration, rp
Principal Axes Angle, α
Principal Moments of Inertia, I1, I2
Shear & Torsion Properties
Torsion Constant, J
Shear Center, Xsc, Ysc
AISC Flexural Constant, H
Polar Radius of Gyration about Shear Center, ro
Monosymmetry Factor, β1
Warping Constant, Cw
Other Properties
Modulus of Elasticity, E (for each part)
Modular Ratio, n = E/Ebase, for composite shapes
First Moment of Area, Qx & Qy
Body-Force Loads You Can Apply
Axial Force, P
Bending Moments, Ma, Mb
Shear Force, Vx, Vy
Torque, T
Stress Results
Normal Stress, σz (combined axial and bending)
Flexural Shear Stress, τxz, τyz
St. Venant Shear Stress, τxz, τyz
Combined Shear Stress, τxz, τyz
Resultant Shear Stress, τ
Crazy cross sections

What will YOU accomplish with ShapeBuilder?

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The possibilities are endless. Over the years, IES customers have handled all kinds of jobs:

  • Window mullions
  • Architectural columns
  • Custom pool covers
  • Flitch beams
  • Cover-plated girders
  • Web penetrations
  • Coped beam properties
  • Forensic shapes
  • Bolt group
  • Extrusions
  • Optimize cross sections
  • Effects of corrosion
  • Windmill blade
  • Laminate materials
  • Plot of land area
  • Built-up steel tubes
  • Encased concrete column
  • Doubled members
  • Welded assembly
  • Damaged and bent shapes

Customize with VisualAnalysis

Try both VisualAnalysis and ShapeBuilder together, right now to analyze frames with custom member shapes. The free trials are completely functional. Trials come with training videos and email support.

The IES Building Suite includes four of our most popular tools at a discount. Available in the Quick Order form, this bundle is an excellent value. ShapeBuilder helps you accomplish more in VisualAnalysis.

IES Building Suite: a practical, economical choice for engineers.
extruded steel sections