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Beam Calculator

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I've recently started doing a lot more residential structural engineering for local clients and the first thing that I realized was that I was lacking a good beam calculator. I do have a number of spreadsheet calculators but I've found them hard to program and once I do have them programmed any changes are tedious since the equations in Excel are hard to follow (I know VBA can be used in macros).

To that end, I've started working on a web based beam calculator that will be able to handle sawn lumber, glulam and structural composite lumber, programmed in Perl/HTML/Javascript.

It is still a work in progress however the "sawn lumber" option should now give a full output. I will be adding in the PDF output as time allows and also the other beam types listed above.

Currently the selection of lumber species is also somewhat limited however adding new species is simply a matter of adding the appropriate values from the NDS into the database. If there is a particular species or grade you would like added please advise.

Any feedback, positive or negative is always appreciated.

The beam calculator is currently located here: http://design.medeek.com/resources/beam ... culator.pl

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It would be great if you could include the deflection distance as an output. Also if you could enter the maximum deflection distance and have it provide the required framing members.

It does calculate the maximum deflection however I currently don't have it generating a deflection graph. Is that kind of what you are looking for? Making the deflection as an input could be programmed however that will have to go into the bucket list since I have a number of items that will need more immediate attention. It would probably require a completely different interface since the intent is changed from the current app.

My current todo list:

1.) Add Glulam, SCL and Heavy Timbers to the beam type options.

2.) Add more common load cases as given in the AWC Design Aid #6

3.) Add the rest of the sawn lumber species from Table 4A and Table 4D

4.) Add values for Glulam combinations from Table 5A

5.) Add SCL design values from manufacturer's literature

6.) Add new features as requested.

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It's good. I like it.

However, when I first saw the page, I though that the graphic on the top was interactive. How cool would that be?

Wouldn't it be neat if you input the design values of the material, then stretch or shrink the length, width, and height of the beam, add distributed & point loads, and move the supports around graphically, with a mouse or a finger, while seeing the graphed results change in real time?

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I've considered using an SVG generated image with some fancy javascript to try and make it even more interactive but so far that is a bit ambitious.

Currently the input form's image is actually 4 images for each beam type. You will notice that the image changes with selection of loading, beam type and orientation (flat use). The idea was not to make it interactive as to provide a visual clue as to what option were being selected.

The user interface as a whole could probably use some work. I like the idea of changing options on the fly and have immediate updates without having to go back forth between the screens. I will have to give this some more thought.

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I'm working on adding these three load conditions:




Note, that any one of the applied forces can be input as zero so the actual load cases are quite large with these additional three configurations.

These 3 load cases will encompass the following load cases from the AWC Design Aid #6:

18,20,21, 22, 27,28, 29,30, 31,32

the current load cases cover the AWC load case 1 and 7.

The different span lengths must be greater than zero. The bearing lengths will be assumed the same for all supports.

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Glulam beam option is now working as well as its PDF report. I haven't entered many glulam beams from Table 5A yet but I think the most commonly used types are listed for now. The nuts and bolts are there so now its just a matter of entering some tabulated data for all of the stress classes/combos.

I've tested the glulam option against a number of sample problems from "Design of Wood Structures ASD/LRFD", so far it is giving the correct answers, however further testing will be required.

I do have a few issues with the drop down menus not sticking when one hits the back button on their browser, I'm still working on this.

For now only the simple beam load cases work. The other three are under construction.

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