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Skicat (Structural) (OP)
4 Jan 08 16:16
I'm beginning to learn ETABS at our office and I've been trying to determine the most efficient way to model a structure.  I concede that if the model was going to be simple, I would just create it using the drawing tools in ETABS.  However, as the structures become more and more complex, it seems that it is easier to draw the model in 3D in AutoCAD and import a .dxf file.  A friend in the office creates every model in ETABS by first modeling the first floor and then copying it up and modifying as necessary.  Given that often times floors stack, I can see how this method works also.  What is your preferred method to model in ETABS?  Thank you.  
EBARRERA (Structural)
5 Jan 08 1:51
Both methods are good for modeling structures in ETABS. The first one will be better for structures with irregular shape, while the second one will be better for regular multi-story buildings
drile007 (Structural)
5 Jan 08 15:57

I allways create a model with Allplan (AutoCad) and never with Etabs, since Etabs is very clumsy. It's also the third option Revit-Structure, but I never used it and I never heard any commnets on behaviour Revit-Etabs.

Drile007

Skicat (Structural) (OP)
11 Jan 08 10:00
I've been tinkering with importing a 3D autocad .dxf file of a 17 story concrete building into etabs.  As you know, ETABS allows you to initialize a model with a default.edb file in which you can pre-set all of your materials, frame and area objects as well as your design defaults and load cases / combos.  In theory, it's a great idea.  In practice, it's kicking my butt.  If I start a new file, and go directly to file -> import -> etc, etc, it prompts me to open the 3D .dxf model with a default.edb file if I please.  When I do so, the program is reading the story data from the default file, which is not consistent with the number of stories in my model.  I talked to CSI and they recongnize the problem.  OK, no big deal.  The way to work around that is to, as a first step, open the defualt.edb file and then import your model into that file.  You have to promptly save the file as a new name to avoid over-writing your original model.  No big deal.  Well, even though I took the time to input the correct story data into my default file, when I go to modify the stories in any way (add, delete, revise height), the story data form is all messed up and nearly impossible to deal with.  Ok, ok, still no big deal.  When you import your model, ETABS assigns section properties to columns, beams, slabs, etc.  I thought this would be extremely handy.  I'm not sure it is.  It seems to be a huge pain to go story by story editing the frame elements to make them match your structure.  So the conclusion I've come to is that as efficient as it seems to be to import a 3D .dxf, in the end it seems easier to just import the grid and start from scratch.  Sorry for the long post, you can tell I'm frustrated.  All of that aside, I still love CSI :)

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