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Affordable Structural Analysis software

Affordable Structural Analysis software

Affordable Structural Analysis software

(OP)
Hello All,

Is it still possible to actually purchase a structural analysis package for two and three dimension frame type problems? Everything seems to have gone to subscription or quasi-subscription models. I am not interested in becoming someone's "after-work" or "forever" payee.

I had wanted to purchase a copy of Microstran, but Bentley purchased them and has converted them to the "forever" payment model. Quite unfortunate as it was my favourite analysis package by a mile.

Not to side track my own thread, but I have half a mind to try to find someone's old copy for sale. Buying someone's old license might be an option; Not illegal here or in Europe.

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

I have used MicroStran for the last 20 years and was disappointed that the boys sold to Bentley. I too have a dislike for subscription-based usage.

When I worked on Canada (1989-1991) I used a Canadian program called P-Frame (2d) and S-Frame (3d). It was a great program and very advanced at the time for graphic input via grid line and mouse click for members etc. I am not sure if it is still around.

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

Last I checked RISA-3D offered both subscription and stand-alone licenses. I'm trying to get my boss to get me copy since Bentley went towards a subscription model.

I really wonder if they realize how many people are being driven away because of this?

Maine EIT, Civil/Structural.

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

I use a Mac and have been using frame-mac since 1991. It is 2D only, but is a breeze to use. Does all my beams and frames.
I have to run it under an emulator now as it is not compatible with the newer operating systems, but I would be lost without it.

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

I have been extremely irritated with the forever pay requirements of the software companies as well. You pay through the nose for their program and you don't really end up owning anything. It's not like their subscriptions are cheap either. The stand alone versions of the programs would be great if the code people didn't change their mind every 5 minutes on how they want to calculate wind loads. I am running stand alone versions of a few programs now. In order to upgrade I am looking at a $10,000+ because I bought the program so long ago. That's a tough nut to swallow.

Now it appears as if AutoCAD is taking the same route. You can only receive reduced upgrades if you enter into a yearly agreement with them. Seems like they are looking for a way to increase profits.

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

(OP)
It is entirely about profit, and it leaves us stuck in the middle.

Frankly what we need to do is start an Open Source project. In the mean time I'm hoping to still own my shirt after finding software...

Care to sell one of those old licenses? *sigh*

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

google "fea software", found "http://cuylaerts.net/"

Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

(OP)
Nice one rb; I've been searching for similar and hadn't seen that one yet...

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

CEL

FYI, the software companies get mad when old licenses are transferred without their consent.

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

SteelPE: They can get mad all they want, it's legal in the US AFAIK: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2008/05/court-s...

The EU supreme court also ruled, in no uncertain terms, that you can sell used software licenses period. As much as they don't like it these companies can't legally stop you from selling used software licenses. However, I believe services can be restricted; so warranties, updates, customer support, and so on likely can't be transferred.

Maine EIT, Civil/Structural.

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

I'm just curious, which companies have gone to subscription based services only. I know there has been talk about Bentley (RAM / STAAD) moving to subscription based. Is that what everyone's talking about or are there others?


Note:
You would think that I would know (seeing as I work for a structural software company, RISA). But, I spend so much time focusing on what we're doing that I don't always see what's going on with our competitors.

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

(OP)
Josh: What is the cost of a RISA license? Is it a one time purchse and I own the right to use it forever type license?

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

(OP)
Like TME said, however I would be open to paying a reasonable transfer fee to a software producer in order to get support/etc which was accessible to the original owner.

I have absolutely no issue with paying fair value for a product; I take exception to paying repeatedly for something which does not continue to cost the licensor in terms of maintenance. This is not a utility grid, but a completed software package. It is not reasonable to expect to be paid for the same work completed work ad nauseum.

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

well i guess the sotfware develops are saying that they have to do a continuing job maintaining the software.

then what of MS, just walking away from old versions of Windows ?

Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

(OP)
Well rb, in our case our site gear is on Win XP Pro toughbooks (CF-29) machines which we've converted to digital islands. We also have Ghosted images including all software and resources we want. Everything in the office is Open Source Linux.

Frankly I would prefer to purchase someone's older license for structural analysis software!

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

Not to be the devil's advocate and I don't work for a software company, but how bad are the subscription costs? We have Bentley everything, STAAD, Microstation, etc. and I never hear it's a burden.
They have a motivation to answer questions and keep their software up to date and we have a monthly cost, instead of getting hit every couple years with a big bill. Plus we can get updates pretty much for free.

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

Agree with JedClampett. Our yearly subscription fee for Bentley is very reasonable.

Faith is taking the first step even when you can't see the whole staircase. -MLK

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

My problem is with a number of issues.

One is being slave to Bently regarding using licenses on multiple computers and transferring the licenses between them requiring an internet connection. We can and have run into instances where we did not have an available internet connection on-site and had to install or reinstall STAAD. As we still have our hardlocks this isn't an issue, with a subscription and requirement to connect to the internet this is.

In addition, what if Bently went out of business or their servers were down? Suddenly you can't transfer licenses or reformat your pc without losing your software. What if 20 years from now you wanted to look at your old design model. Sure you might have an old PC or operating system and can install and run the software but what if you can't get a license?

You're then not in control of your software that you bought. You don't decide if an update is worth the money or not, you can't decide to sell your software without Bently approving it. It boils down to the fact that this is DRM at it's worst and anyone who does anything digitally such as video games, audiobooks, music, etc. knows that DRM will ONLY hurt the legitimate user. The people who pirate software, music, video games, almost always get a better product when DRM is involved because their illegal version isn't tied down. It's a crap system that keeps getting perpetuated by the software industries.

Maine EIT, Civil/Structural.

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

A stand alone license for RISA 3D comes with a CD and a USB key. Its your choice as to whether you purchase the annual subscription. No need for internet access and you can transfer the software from computer to computer. It may be legal to load it on multiple computers because it will not run without the USB key (you better check on this).

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

I'll chime in that the costs may be no problem for folks at larger firms, but for those of us who are sole practitioners, it's obscene. One company wanted half my yearly salary for their program.

I would love to see a tiered pricing system based on the number of users at a company, but that's not likely to happen.

As for AutoCad - check out DraftSight. It's free, does just fine at 2D drawings, and there's a whole forum here on it.

************************************
Please remember: we're not all guys!

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

We use Multiframe which used to be real reasonable for an annual subscription and included all the updates and unlimited technical support from Daystar, the supplier. I think the annual cost was about $500 per license. Now Bentley took over as the "channel partner" ( what ever that is) and they doubled the annual subscription license fee. Additionally, the updates are not as frequent as they used to be and are all web based through their website. I really like the software and have been using it for over 15 years, but have started to look at other packages to see if anything is as intuitive and not on the annual subscription.

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

Splitrings: Last year when I was looking at RISA they confirmed that it could be USB hardlocked and you can install on as many machines as you like as the USB key was your "license" and thus limited how many actual users could run the software.

Maine EIT, Civil/Structural.

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

Yes, RISA still uses a USB key and it is a perpetual license. Meaning if you choose not to pay any maintenance, then you keep the software. You just wouldn't be entitled to upgrades or tech support or such. If you keep your install CD (or downloaded exe) then you should be able to install it on new computers for quite sometime.

Not perpetually, of course, because at some point the install routines or the program itself will cease to function on the newer operating systems. And, the farther out of date you get the more computer savvy you have to be. For example the hardware key driver that gets installed with the driver functions for the Operating Systems used when that installation routine was put together. But, when Microsoft updates to version 9.0 of Windows then you have to be smart enough to go to Sentinel's website (the maker of our hardware keys) to find and install the newer drivers.

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

Or you just keep a legacy PC around or know how to run multiple operating systems.

Maine EIT, Civil/Structural.

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

I don't know what it costs, but I know SAP2000 still does traditional licensing.

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

CELinOttawa....JoshPlum is too professional to offer to sell RISA 3D in the forums and will not likely give you the price. He's a long time contributor to the forums and makes it clear that he works for RISA and doesn't promote RISA in the forums.

However, I'm not an employee of RISA so I can give you my opinion!

I am a RISA 3D user and have been for about 7 or 8 years. I've been using a variety of structural analysis programs over the past 30 years including STAAD, STAAD-Pro, ALGOR, mTAB-STRESS/FeMAP and a few others. RISA 3D is, in my opinion, very cost effective, robust and accurate. Several other active members that I know of in the forums use RISA 3D (Mike McCann, JAE, others). I would consider myself to be the biggest impediment RISA 3D has to overcome in analysis!! poke

When I took the plunge to purchase software after I started my business in 2005, it was a large purchase for me. I closed my eyes, pushed the button and bought it. Glad I did. At least part of the cost is deductible as a business purchase!

Any time you can get something that allows you to show more capability to your clients, helps you be more accurate with documentation and backup and saves you time...all for about $3k or less, it is worth serious consideration.

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

I would second Ron's view - Used RISA for a long while and like it.

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RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

(OP)
Hmm... Well, looks like I may have to pony up a few thousand dollars, but at least you can still get a "real", not needed to pay for annually, package.

Thanks all, it is appreciated.

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

CEL,
Not current with any costing, but Spacegass might be an option.

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

(OP)
Beerion: Very neat tool. I am impressed; I'd given some thought to doing something similar in Open Office Calc. I suppose now I'll just need to see if your program will run there. Thanks!

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

CELinOttawa - Excel VBA won't work in Open Office (or any other free program, as far as I know), and even though Open Office runs a variant of Basic, translating VBA to OO Basic is a non-trivial task, at least it was the last time I looked. I spent a few weeks working on a fairly simple translation a few years ago, and eventually gave up.

At the risk of flooding the forum with Sydney Opera Houses, I would also offer:
http://newtonexcelbach.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/fr...

All of the downloads are free and open source, but do require Excel (sorry).

Doug Jenkins
Interactive Design Services
http://newtonexcelbach.wordpress.com/

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

RISA here as Ron said.

Mike McCann, PE, SE (WA)


RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

I've been thinking about writing my own software for 2D work. Somewhat similar to STAAD in that you can pass it a simple text file with all of your points, loads, member types and then it spit out a text file with all of the results in some readable format that I can then pull into other programs like Excel or custom web apps. Basically a matrix analysis engine that is a 2D general solver.

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

(OP)
Medeek: That is a laudable goal, and I have done similar work back in Uni *cough* twelve years ago *cough*. Starting to feel like I'm really not the "YoungStructural" who started out here in '04.

Anyway, while a solver like that is a great personal project, I'm starting to think about putting what spare time I have into an open project. There are already very good solvers available (Frame3DD for example, see http://frame3dd.sourceforge.net) and, if done right, we should also be able to pass models to specialised EQ code and full FEA packages like Open Sees, Calculix, etc.

There are dozens of university based or started projects that have addressed the number crunching. What we in the industry need is for a bunch of people to start working together on a free GUI. GUI built = Job done. Sounds simple but would not be; I'm just trying to decide if I am up to the challenge!

RE: Affordable Structural Analysis software

Well, here I am giving some list of software's that can be use
1.DIANA:-This is the software which has multifunctional qualities and excellent performance.
2.MASTAN 2:- It is basically used by practicing engineers on nonlinear analysis.
3.DLUBAL:- It is mostly used for designing of constructions of steel, timber and aluminum.

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