1. Create a folder structure to store your projects in correctly, create a projects folder and then create sub folders for each project. In that folder store the model which then creates its own relative folder and required sub folders. This keeps all models and databases separate and avoids conflicts.
2. Create a AutoSave folder location and adjust your system to save your automatic backup files to that known location, keep it simple and at the root of the System such as C:AutodeskAdvanceSteelAutosave.
3. Save your model at regular intervals.
4. Use a suitable Name for the Model such as the contract number, project reference or place name. This can be useful later on in the project, as the model name can be listed in the drawing and NC naming and also be linked to the actual file references.
5. Always Start you model at 0,0,0 in the World Coordinates
6. Be aware of how you model a beam/section "right to left" or "left to right", as this can influence how the front and the back of beam are displayed on an assembly drawing.
7. Columns - Always try to model so the Z Axis of the column flange is to the outside face of the building for perimeter columns.
8. System-line placement - When modeling horizontal members, roof members, floor beams, etc. always try to have the system line in the top of the profile at the middle of the flange. This affects the assembly drawing dimensioning.
For Columns try to keep it in the center, unless you have a specific need for one column flange face to be at a set location, as this means that if you change section then the change in size goes away from that face. So the flanges still remain in line. This is sometimes used where cladding is applied directly to hot rolled steel flanges. For purlins and Rails, try to keep the system line to the bottom face nearest the supporting beam, as then if the size changes for the rail, the difference goes outwards, rather than altering the hot rolled frame set-out.
Always try to make sure your system lines meet for beams columns etc. This is like you wire-line in the model and with this it is easy to check the primary position of and object, also the system line is used as the datum for the dimensioning of the Drawings and in other aspects of the modeling.
9. Remember your UCS, this is a vital tool in placement and orientation of objects within the AS environment.
10. For complex setting out of a building, say radial etc., always try to have some reference/construction line geometry in the system, create a layer and place it in there, it can be turned off, but is always there for reference.
11. Before you model a beam type, like poly-beam, or curved beam, consider how you are going to manufacture it and more importantly how you are going to detail it. For simple curves use curved beams, rather than poly beams, for complex beams, that may appear too easy to create as poly beams, look at how the original shape line is created, is it from a series of curves of known radii, if so, model it as a series of curved beams as you will buy it as curves and then weld or joint together. Poly-beams do not lend themselves to being dimensioned as radii, they work on points based upon the references they were created from.
KEEP IT SIMPLE - SIMPLE TO MODEL = SIMPLE TO MAKE.
12. Note the difference between holes and contours, make a decision on how the hole will be produced, drilled or cut out via cutting torch or profiler? This affects drawings and NC processing. For drilled holes use the Hole commands. For profiled holes use the Contour commands. The size of the hole makes no difference to how the NC describes it.
13. Assess your project before you start, look at how you are going to build the structure, how it is going to be delivered, where are you starting from, cranage etc. You can model it in Advance, but you are the one driving it, it goes where you steer it.
14. Try to use Macros where possible for Joints. When using macros, if you create a joint and think you may use it again somewhere, store it in the table with a suitable reference. For example bracings, you can set one up for Flats and one for Tubes, save each to the table and then when inputting bracing you can just select that default.
15. Use project Explorer to manage the model structure, set up views so it's easier to work on plan or elevation at a time.
16. Always use model roles, as this defines the prefix in numbering and also has influence with the drawing output. The drawing styles link to the Model roles to set the style within the process.
17. Use the standard numbering rules set in Advance Steel and try to work with those, always let program update the model numbering, DO NOT MANUALLY NUMBER UNLESS YOU HAVE TO, this can lead to problems.
18. If model is not complete, then try numbering using the Lot/Phase option with the box ticked. This means that the existing part of the model will have unique numbers. These numbers will not be used elsewhere in the model in later phases. This means you can carry on modeling and then just renumber at a later stage and numbers / items from phase 1 will not alter their numbers.
19. Use the preliminary numbering of the model, adjust the BOM lists to include preliminary numbers. These references never change and can be a good way to track items whose final number has changed. For example if pre ordering curved beams this reference can be used to track that component.
20. GA Drawings - Think about what you want before you start, map out how you are going to approach the drawings. For example floor plans first in level order, from ground up, then Elevations going around the building, Sections through the building, local details of special joints / typical joints, 3D Views of model. Lot phasing 3D views.
Plan it on a piece of paper, make a list, assign the drawing numbers for GAs to follow this pattern, so you may have 5 drawing for plans, 4 for sections, etc. Think about the SCALE on the paper, can you combine two elevations onto one drawing etc.
21. Parts Drawings - Think about how they are going to be manufactured - in house, sub contracted off profilers etc., all ordered in at once or in phases. This may change the paper size you choose to produce the drawing on. A3 or A4 single item, puts each part on its own drawing, makes it easy to send, each drawing is relative to each part and that part only.
22. Assembly drawings - Think about how they are going to be fabricated - all in one shop, subcontracted to various workshops, in phases etc. Sometimes easier to do single drawings for each assembly, as can be fitted onto smaller A3 size, most small fabricators only have limited printing facilities, so sending A1 drawings can mean that they print of at vastly reduced size leading to mistakes, omissions or lots of phone calls to clarify what something is. So set up to smaller sheet to start with a larger scale to show the details clearer.
23. Check the drawings - sometimes things get missed or mixed up in the model, and are not always picked up. Use the drawings to check what is being produced. A quick review can save you time and money in the long run.
24. Lists - Filter the model to produce lists for required items; use the lists that are set for Curved Beams, plates, beams. Use the list to check the model and that you have done all the drawings and things don't get missed.
25. NC files - If you want only plates of a certain size then use search filter to find and select them, then create the NC files. You can adjust the naming of the files and details shown on the hard stamp to include things like thickness, number off etc., using the defaults.
26. Be aware of the Defaults in the Management Tools, there are many settings it there that can be adjusted to change the out- come of drawings and modeling etc., depending upon what you require.
27. When building onto an existing structure this can be modeled in Advance, but you must remember to set that structure so that it is not used for the Drawings or BOM. These settings are on the Behavior tab in the object properties dialog. What this does is set it so that when the model is numbered, these existing components are numbered but with a negative value and are not consider for drawings or material lists.
Read more about different functionalities of Advance Steel in the following articles: