I work a lot with plate elements in FEMAP and often need to communicate structural changes to the structural designer. The best way to do this as I see is by producing FE-model plots with plate thickness information.
Unfortunately this is made extremely cumbersome in FEMAP (V11.1.2 and earlier). Manually thickness plots can be created using View Options -> Countour/Criteria Level -> Set levels... and manually defining the spacing of the legend. This plot then needs some manipulation e.g. in MS paint to produce a plot like the one attached.
This procedure has several drawbacks and I will not bore you with all the details. I would not recommend anyone to use the procedure but I am not aware of any alternatives and somehow the thickness plots must be created.
My question therefore: Does anyone know how to efficiently produce HQ plate thickness plots from FEMAP? All help highly appreciated!
View/Advanced Post/ Contour Model Data
Once you toggle on the display, then select "plane element thickness" under property data
You can also find the icon shortcut for this on the default toolbar.
Yes, this option is used in the plot attached. The problem remains: the legend does not automatically adjust to the number of thicknesses in the model being presented. E.g. 17 mm and 17.5 mm plate may well be shown with the same color if one uses FEMAP equally spaced legend.
Here are a few ideas and APIs which might help:
- first you need to decide through which medium you create a legend, the most direct being output and property value. You're saying your problem is the fact that thickness values are discrete and arbitrarily spread, reason for which the output legend has a hard time creating nice plots. By property then.
- good looking plots imply colors that are easily differentiable. When using FEMAP's color "randomization" sometimes you won't get a "nice" color pattern immediately. For this the "Color Prop" API quickens the process and limits to "nicer" colors.
- then the macro "2D Thickness Plot" might help you. The original idea is from E.Crespin. It creates a legend using textboxes. Use the 3 constants in the header to set where the texts are set on screen.
This can be tweaked and improved in many ways:
- texts could be added in a specific "Propert Legend Layer", which allows you to keep them and switch them on and off
- macro could detect if you are in a group, in which case the texts are added to the group (otherwise you won't see them)
- this macro sorts properties by thickness then gives the same color to properties with the same thickness. This might not be what you want
Keep in mind the fact that this work that well if you have too many different thicknesses: textboxes will go off screen! Model Data Contour will be better then.
Hope this helps,
This was an EXTREMELY useful API!
I made a minor change to the 2D Thickness Plot: The legend is plotted for plate element in the active group only. In this way the user can control the extrent of the shown structure an limit the number of thicknesses in the legend.
In our company we tried to solve the problem with thickness plot. We developed FREE tool for femap that plots plate thickness using labels. Also it can plot Plate property id or id and title.
We would like to share it with Femap users. Registration is not required on the website to download the tool :
Can you send me neutral file of frame (from your post) and I will make plot using our tool:
I downloaded your thickness-plot tool and ran the installer. It appeared to crank away for a while during the install but in the end gave no explicit feedback. In FEMAP there is no obvious command added. Or does the tool run stand-alone? Do you have any instructions on how to use the tool?
Thank you for your comment.
Our tool is standalone and it does not create command in Femap (but this is good idea to add also button on toolbar in Femap).
This is first version of our tool and setup is very basic. After installation the shortcut on your desktop is created. (I'm going to improve that too today).
After running a tool press F1 and there is very short instructions.
Again thank your for feedback. I hope together we can create tool which is valuable for a lot of Femap users.
Setup is improved and you will see when tool is installed.
Also after feedback of my colleagues I fixed an issue with too much labels for curved sections. Added extra option to also make a plot for hull (but it should be without connected stiffeners) like on this example:
Please download v1.1 (same location as yesterday):