At CORE studio we have been working intensely for the past few months developing our second plugin for Autodesk’s visual programming tool Dynamo. DynamoSAP is a parametric interface for SAP2000, which we built on top of Dynamo. The project enables designers and engineers to generatively author and analyze structural systems in SAP, using Dynamo to drive the SAP model.

Overview

DynamoSAP is an open-source project and is currently available on Dynamo’s package manager. We developed the project in C# using Visual Studio, and tested it with Dynamo 0.7.5 and SAP2000 version 16. The package prescribes a few common workflows, which are outlined in the package’s sample files.

The library provides a wide range of opportunities for automation of typical tasks in SAP, such as:

  1. Creating a structural model. The package allows users to generate structural members by using the standard geometries provided in Dynamo. For instance, lines define structural frames and meshes are translated into structural shell elements. All of these elements are aggregated into a structural model that can then be exported to SAP. Section properties, loads, load patterns, load combinations, restraints, releases and groups can be added as definitions either in Dynamo or in SAP. Changes in both geometrical and structural parameters in Dynamo are updated in SAP when Dynamo runs.

  1. Reading and editing an existing SAP model. A model created in the structural software can be read by DynamoSAP to get the member geometry and the assigned properties and definitions. The plugin also allows users to edit the imported model in Dynamo. For example, loads can be assigned to elements or elements in the existing project can be grouped.

  1. Running analysis and visualizing results. The package can trigger the structural analysis of a SAP model and retrieve the results in Dynamo. DynamoSAP includes nodes for intuitive visualization of these results, allowing the designer to review the model more efficiently than by using SAP by itself. Additionally, designers can compare results for different load cases and load combinations, enabling a seamless comparative analysis review process. Releases and loads can also be displayed in Dynamo.

Reading SAP analysis results (left) using DynamoSAP (right)

Installation and further development

To install the package, search for DynamoSAP in the Dynamo package manager – Dynamo > Packages > Search for a package – and install the package. Once the package is installed, you’ll likely want to check out our sample files in the package’s samples folder.

We will be actively developing these tools in the next few weeks and are happy to support you in using them in the coming months. We encourage you to send us your feedback and submit your comments (or bugs, if you find any) on the project’s github repository’s issues page.

Happy structural optimization, folks!