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S T R U C T U R A L   E N G I N E E R I N G   S O F T W A R E

Design codes have become so complex that preparing structural calculations can be a very difficult task. Gone are the days of doing calculations entirely by hand. These days, most structural engineers prepare calculations by a difficult juggling act using "black box" type design software supplemented by spreadsheets and hand calcs.

Today's structural engineers need to have a balanced understanding of both engineering software and engineering theory.

There is an emerging need for engineers to automate their calculations in a systematic way, providing output that is accessible for good comprehension. What structural engineers really need is an application that asks them questions and produces output similar to hand calculations. Something that is readable with graphics and is easy to use and learn. Ideally, we need a method that is logical, geared toward production and comprehension.

DCALC (*) was written to provide structural engineers with derivable results, allowing engineers the means to check, modify and understand automated calculations.

DCALC ("DesignCALCs") software was written by a practicing structural engineer as a way to automate tedious calculations. Years in development since the late 1980's, DCALC has grown to address the relevant calculations that structural engineers need. Each calculation has a project behind it, and typically have been used on many projects. Now available for Windows, DCALC  is a package of everday "hamburger" programs for getting your calculations finished and checked on time.

DCALC has the following new and unique features:

  • DCALC software produces calculations which you can check. You can read the calculations complete with sketches and understand where the numbers come from, with fully documented code reference.
  • DCALC uses an integrated design approach. At the option of the designer, new calculations can read a database built of previous calculation results, thereby reducing input errors.
  • DCALC is easy to use. All DCALC programs have a consistent appearance and graphical interface. With DCALC, you can get your team off the ground and running, producing results in an organized fashion.
  • DCALC produces CAD drawings via DesignCAD, a powerful and inexpensive CAD package. DesignCAD drawings are compatible with other CAD packages, utilizing DWG and DXF formats. You will get a big head start with complex details, drawn to scale, automatically generated by your calculations. 
  • DCALC has flexible input. You can choose whether or not to use certain analysis results. You are not necessarily confined to using only DCALC results, but can provide input from other programs as well.
  • DCALC does LRFD Bridge Design. Bridge design programs are able to design either way - Standard Spec Service Load, Load Factor Design or the new LRFD Design Method. You can easily compare results between the old Standard Specification methods and the new LRFD method.
  • DCALC explores interesting topics. We try to cover interesting topics, like structural dynamics and seismic design, in a straight forward ways, intended for practicing engineers. Our online manual is a perpetual document that we continuously edit and expand. Check out the following:

    (*) DCALC Software has been written over a 30 year period, before the Internet, strictly designed as "number crunching software". As a so-called "legacy" application, DCALC is best suited for earlier Windows operating systems, especially Windows XP.

    Although DCALC has been installed on many Windows 10 computers, the installation has become increasingly more difficult.

    As a remedy for those dependent on this program, DCALC can easily be installed on a "virtual machine". In effect, a virtual machine is a simulated computer within a host operating system. A virtual machine setup provides a permanent solution for running proven legacy applications on future Windows operating systems.

    For those interested, read the above link, "How to Install DCALC on Virtual Box" We've pre-built the virtual machine running DCALC, which is downloaded. It actually works better on a virtual machine!

Click here to play animated demo (5 minutes)

For history buffs: What can structural engineers learn from the Revolutionary War?

"...It may seem counterintuitive that at a time when we know more than we have ever known, we think about it less..." - Author Neal Gabler, op-ed "The Elusive Big Idea", The New York Times, August 14, 2011.


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