Among the many features that make modeling in Advance Design easier, today we will look at two simple ways to create your own library of common elements. These options can greatly speed up the modeling of upcoming projects, especially if you often use the same elements.
The first solution is to save element properties to file for assigning them to other elements in a current or new project.
Let us see a simple example. Consider a steel structure that has already been designed and verified. Thus all the individual elements such as columns, purlins, lateral bracing etc. are not only correctly modeled but also have their design parameters set correctly.
If in the next project some of the elements should be modeled and parameterized in a similar or identical way, we can create our own library easily. To do so, simply select an element (e.g. bracing) and use the ‘Save properties’ command located at the top of the properties window (Figure 1).
Importantly, all properties, both basic, such as section or material, as well as others, including release settings, system assignments, and dimensioning parameters, are included in such a saved template.
The template will be saved as a file in XML format, and you can decide on its name and location on the disk. In this way, you can create your own database of typical elements, both linear (steel, concrete or wood) and surface elements. Working with the next project, after modeling the geometry, we can select one or more elements of the same type (although not necessarily with the same properties) and load the properties using the ‘Load a properties file’ command (Figure 2).
Let us now look at another solution. When we want to create a library containing many elements with information about their geometry, we can use a slightly different mechanism – saving selected elements to the library. To do this, we use the commands available on the BIM ribbon (Figure 3).
The procedure is also simple. Select the objects (it can be any selection of objects of different types, including linear elements, surface elements, supports, loads and others) and export to a file, specifying the insertion point (Figure 4). When inserting into a new project, simply select the file and specify the insertion point.
In this way, we can create a library of typical structural parts (for example, girders, frames, trusses, bracing systems) and, together with the geometry, all the properties of the elements are preserved, including the design parameters. But this mechanism is more universal and allows you to write any object, for example a layout of selected loads, into the library. This functionality is also useful when one or more users separately model different parts of a structure. Then the element libraries export / import tool makes it possible to assembly these parts into one single project.