I am considering buying StruCalc or BeamChek to help calculate beams. Does anyone here use these or recommend something similar?
Hi Cory. I have used both programs but currently use StruCalc only. The biggest advantage of StruCalc is the ability to have 3 spans as well as a cantilever on each side. If I remember correclty BeamChek is only capable of 2 spans. StruCalc also runs I-Joist products. I think BeamChek would only do solid sawn but not sure. StruCalc also works good for me because that is the same program my local building department uses for plan check. That way I have an apples to apples comparison for any descrepancies. IMO StruCalc is a superior program but I think it cost more too. Hope this helps.
I have used BeamChek in the past. It worked okay, but was limited in that when you did 2 or 3 spans on a beam they all had to have equal conditions. For my designs this was rarely the case.
My software of choice is put out by the Canada Wood Council and is called Woodworks Sizer. They have a Canadian and an American version. In Canada we use limit states design but in the USA they use working stress design. This software will do it all. Wood joist, beams in regular dimensional, rough timber, dressed timber, pressure treated, wet conditions, wide flange steel beams, LVL, I-joists, etc.
I think this is by far one of the best structural software programs out there! They also have a free trial.
Canadian version here http://www.cwc.ca/index.php/en/woodworks-software/canadian-edition/downl...
US version here http://www.cwc.ca/index.php/en/woodworks-software/us-edition/downloads
Produced with technical guidance from the wood industry's codes and standards engineers.
SEISMIC & WIND LOADS
WoodWorks® is produced by the Canadian Wood Council (CWC). The American Wood Council (AWC) provides technical guidance for CWC's development of the US version.
With WoodWorks® Sizer, you can size beams, joists, columns and wall studs to meet the 2005 National Design Specification® (NDS® ) for Wood Construction.
Design Entire Structures – Concept Mode
Design Beams – Beam Mode
Design Columns – Column Mode
I use several different ones and all of the below are pretty flexible and some are free ;
1) Simpson Strongtie recently took over Keymarks Keybeam and now it's called CS Beam
2) Forte by Weyehaeuser was Trus Joists primary software specifier
3) BC Calc. is Boise Cascade product specifier.
4) Have tried CWC Woodworks mentioned above.
I am currently switching over from mostly CS Beam to BC Calc. because that's whose product line the local lumber supplier is carrying.