diagrams for stair platforms

Discussion in 'Microstation' started by ut151469, Oct 11, 2007.

  1. ut151469

    ut151469 Guest

    I am designing steel stairs for platforms in power plants. Can
    someone give me an idea where I might get some information on how to
    set up working points for the elevations, etc. Any help would be
    appreciated. Also I know autoCad has a stair converter. Any
    converter for Microstation? Thanks.
    ut151469, Oct 11, 2007
  2. ut151469

    Ralph Hertle Guest


    Concerning Diagrams for Stair Platforms, Ramps and Towers

    I set up the dimensional geometry matrix for more than 4000 tread levels for
    a fossil fuel exhaust gas desulfurization plant, and that had eight tall
    stair towers, miscellaneous stairs, catwalks, and mezzanines. [The project
    was by Shaw Stone and Webster for PPL.]

    I used MicroStation to make the plans and elevations of the precise
    geometries involved. These were based upon calculations made outside
    MicroStation, and they were the base of the models made in MicroStation.

    I decided that after having been provided blurry red line sketches, numbers
    and ungrammatical oral instructions from the job captain, that together the
    total instructions were unintelligible during the next several days and
    weeks. There were also numerous instructions amounting to more than 400, or
    possibly 800, percent aggregate total redesign during the geometry layout
    stage. Confusion was the order of the day.

    I placed all the information that controlled the stair structure geometry
    into an Excel website replete with levels, heights, widths, depths, and
    tread offsets. Formulas governed the dimensions, and all numbers for every
    ramp were automatically calculated. Many more weeks with a calculator, or
    doing the geometry graphically using MicroStation, would have been necessary
    if Excel had not done the calculations. The information was available weeks
    and months later, and is the best way to provide the dimensional
    requirements to the stair structures manufacturer. [Scratch built stairs are
    not a good idea.]

    Break the design down into blocked sections for calculation in Excel. All
    working points may be included, located and numbered, and all code heights
    and widths can be properly noted. Excel also provides plenty of text
    capabilities for notes, headlines, and related information.

    Each ramp is drawn with a geometry cell that is modified using Fence
    Stretch, for example, and placed into the drawing. For the 3D geometry model
    the geometry profiles were formed using Extrude Element on the cells.

    The time consuming part of the work is making the numerous revisions, and
    the geometry is based upon the engineer's basic design schemes. I found that
    the design arrangements didn't often require many changes in the vertical
    dimension scheme, and any vertical changes were easily handled by entering
    new values into Excel and recalculating.

    If it had been necessary, it would have been possible to enter "IF" formulas
    in the Excel cells. If many level changes or added levels are necessary the
    number of risers per ramp changes, and the heights vary in, or not in,
    accordance with codes or practicality. In that way Excel can provide a
    greater or lesser number or risers of certain heights based upon the
    intended floor to floor heights.

    The detailed designed structures of the selected drawing types, either of 2D
    or 3D models, are easily done once the factual information has been made
    available, calculated and recorded.

    I would suggest that the project engineer who integrates all design matters
    be in agreement of the method to be used, e.g., using Excel and
    MicroStation, and that the job captain not make those decisions. The
    engineer decided the principles of design arrangement, and the job captain
    gives work instructions to make deliverables. That's a critical
    differentiation. Its a critical method to be decided, and that the
    information is then available to all concerned.

    The structural engineers and structural designer/drafters should know where
    the files are located and how to employ the geometry data and drawings for
    their designs.

    While the automated CAD stair layout sub-programs in CAD programs, for
    example, in IGDS or TriForma, can make the drawings, it is still necessary
    to have all the information notes precisely stated in a proper file.

    MicroStation's drafting commands are so numerous and functional that they
    make short work of the drawing; especially if there is any amount of custom
    designing involved.

    To make the finished 2D or 3D model add cells that have the desired amount
    of abstraction or detail. Cells may provide a high degree of
    representational accuracy concerning a specific vendor's stair product. I
    strongly recommend not using authoritarian stair symbols or generic
    stylizations, and that specific real-world vendor's products be used for the
    finished representations of the designs. Make a deal with the vendor to
    either get their MicroStation cells, or that you split the costs of creating
    the cells.

    With proper Excel files and models the vendor will be able to provide a
    better job, and his work of detailing and cost calculations will take less

    The resulting 2D and 3D models and drawings will have a properly shaped and
    dimensioned appearance that will enable other systems to be correctly
    designed in accordance with the stair systems. The dimensional information
    in Excel will be in a proper format that will enable the stair manufacturer
    to detail the products to be furnished.

    The Excel file is a better place for the dimensions than in a complex
    drawing, although a few simple dimensions may be placed in the drawing for
    wayfinding purposes.

    Reply if you have any questions.

    Let us know who you are and how your project develops.

    Ralph Hertle


    :I am designing steel stairs for platforms in power plants. Can
    : someone give me an idea where I might get some information on how to
    : set up working points for the elevations, etc. Any help would be
    : appreciated. Also I know autoCad has a stair converter. Any
    : converter for Microstation? Thanks.
    Ralph Hertle, Oct 13, 2007
  3. ut151469

    Thomas V Guest

    Did you consider using DDD or Feature modeling and linking to the

    regards /Thomas V

    Thomas V, Oct 14, 2007
  4. ut151469

    Ralph Hertle Guest


    DDD. . . . . . . Isn't that dimension driven cells?

    I've never used DDD. From the little I know I think that could work, and
    in large industrial and process mfg. projects the number of modified
    cells for stair ramps would be nearly 100%. Far less for inhabited

    Can you outline a way to construct a DDD cell for that purpose?

    For a 2D elevation drawing of the side profile the main numbers to enter
    would be the fin. floor-to-fin. floor distance, or FFD. For ramps of
    known numbers of risers, the fin. elev.-to-fin. elev. distance, or EED.
    Landing depth could also be entered.

    What is feature modeling? How does one link model features to a
    spreadsheet? Would the entire stair structure considered as a 2D or 3D
    model be a single data driven cell?

    Once a stair general design has been established the advantages of the
    linked model would be in the automation of the modifications. That would
    pay for itself in the first 100% change of elevation heights. Making
    drawings one at a time in scratch style would mean that both the
    calculations and the drawing would have to be changed for each revision.
    That's weeks of work at a probable rate of $4k per week not to mention
    that the job captain has to check everything at an even higher rate and
    order scratch revisions further raising the cost.

    Thanks for the information.

    Ralph Hertle
    Ralph Hertle, Oct 15, 2007
  5. ut151469

    Thomas V Guest

    Across a language barrier, I am Swedish, I'm lost in some of your
    jargong/techical terms . I do wish there could be some place on the net one
    could find translations and definitions of proffesional terms and jargong.
    Wikipedia/Wiktionary might be usable.

    Anyway - I use Triforma and Architecture and model most in 3d and then
    "calculate" the cuts for plans and elevation. The "stair maker" in TF is
    awful and there is a new tool announced for Athens. And Structural have a
    tool for stairs + handrails that is said to be ok for "industrial" stairs.

    But a scenario with setting up base data + "rules" for a stair in a
    spreadsheet and having that linked into ustn and "drivinging" the
    3d-geometry, for later TF 2d-"calcualtions", is a good one. Be it with
    DDD(=dimension driven desing), Feature Modeling or Generative Components
    (even if that probably is to use cannons on mosquitos), or even custom

    Feature Modeling has been around for a while in ustn v8,9. (TOOLS>FEATURE
    MODELING). And you can do amazingly much in 3d with custom linestyles -
    thinking of handrails.

    regards /Thomas V
    Thomas V, Oct 15, 2007
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