The steel detailing and fabrication industry is constantly evolving and adapting to new technology, which in turn helps with the development of more intricate and efficient buildings. One of the most important innovations to reach this industry is structural steel fabrication drawing software, which has not only made the job of steel detailing easier but has also helped steel detailers expand their work across the construction cycle. Today, steel fabrication drawing is a core part of the construction cycle, helping with the planning, design and construction of steel structures.
In this article, we’re going to look at what structural steel fabrication drawing software is, how it helps the construction industry and provide a few examples of this type of software.
What does structural steel fabrication drawing software help with?
Loosely speaking, there are two main areas where software can help with steel fabrication drawing: computer-aided design and 3D modelling. Computer-aided design, also known as CAD, helps steel fabricators to create 3D images of ideas and concepts and transform them into usable drawings. These concepts can either be represented as 2D images or 3D to add extra depth and detail. When it comes to steel fabrication drawings, CAD software helps showcase lots of different aspects of a drawing, such as materials used, spatial visualisation and much more.
3D modelling is another area where software can help steel fabrication drawings. As the name suggests, 3D modelling allows steel fabricators to create intricate 3D models of concepts, which helps in the design and construction phase of a project. 3D models allow for much better visualisation and potential issues with a design, which helps with the overall success of a project.
Both CAD and 3D modelling work hand-in-hand to improve accuracy and efficiency in shop drawings and steel fabrication drawings, allowing for very complex and intricate designs. Steel fabricators enjoy much more precise drawings, which allows for the creation of more robust and sustainable steel structures while also reducing errors and cutting down timescales.
Examples of steel fabrication drawing software
There are a variety of different applications and software available to make the working lives of steel fabricators much easier and applicable to more areas of the construction cycle. These applications make it simpler to create accurate and intricate designs as well as establish estimates for various steel elements in a project.
For example, starting with a 2D image before creating a 3D render is a useful way to showcase the first draft to clients. Making changes to plans is also easier to implement, with edits being much more straightforward to make, track and roll out. It also lowers the chance of human error by removing a lot of the manual calculations that typically go into these drawings. Two examples of steel fabrication drawing software can be seen below:
Tekla Structures is a type of building information software that helps create 3D steel fabrication drawings. It’s a useful tool that helps with the design, detailing, fabrication and erection of all types of steel structures, including residential, commercial and even high-rise constructions. Tekla brings in sophisticated 3D modelling to streamline coordination across different departments by offering improved workflow and information sharing.
Tekla also helps bring in real-time fabrication management, allowing drawings to integrate into 3D models easily and precisely. What’s more, there’s automation that goes with this, so things like reports or shop floor drawings are generated automatically.
Advance Steel is a type of Autodesk product that functions as CAD software. It supports all of the standard CAD functionality and concepts, such as snap points and grip points. It’s typically brought into a project to help with things like 3D modelling and creating steel fabrication drawings.
Advance Steel also brings in a number of specialised functions with an extensive library of over 300 parametric steel connections to help with the creation of intricate steel structures. It also incorporates different drawing styles to help with automated shop drawings. Using Advance Steel is a useful way to create intricate and accurate drawings and steel fabrications while removing repetition by automating processes.