I just bought the beta version of Thea Render, a software package that should help me get better at producing photo-realistic bridge models. I am hoping to produce photo models part-time for bridge design firms.
A) I like drafting/rendering/imaging, B) I know something about bridges and C) I could use the money! I thought videos would help me remember all the different steps and since youtube will store it for free…..I thought why not.
So here is a first/quick video showing depth of field in Thea.
Update: Mark (comment) is right that headed bars are gaining more interest in the bridge community. Here is a paper by John Stanton on rapid construction details.
Sitting in a seminar for rapid bridge construction in seismic regions, by John Stanton. (uw)
He is explaining an ABC cap/beam connection and a rapid pier design. The main point, typical of precast construction, is the lack of good connection details.
Mr. Stanton is discussing how they used 6-#18 bars to connect the pier cap to the columns. The development length was tested in the lab because the cap depth did not provide the code required development length.
He is discussing how this connection works well under sesmic loading.
In what can olny be called sour grapes on my part, I think the finally solution was a letdown. Two arches connected by a little platform bridge, meh, okay but nothing special.
I can’t belive this solution was the stated goal of the competition? Does it really compete with Calatrava’s design? I don’t think so. This is a bridge chosen by politicians. Okay, but safe.
We have a few of these kind of arches in our state, (we should join two bridges together!) maybe I could just send them the calculations and save them some more money….again sour grapes, but really, that’s the best solution?
Okay some Mondays are tougher than others but we have to soldier on….
Today I started teaching the moment distribution method started by Hardy Cross. (who is a minor god by the way.) We skipped the slope deflection method (not sure why) and then on to the direct stiffness method.
I have been busy with a) real work b) teaching and 3) thinking about a new part-time, side job. I keep thinking there is a market for 3D renderings done by a real bridge engineer. So I have been looking around at photorealistic software.
The problem is, I’m cheap! An intro package goes for $250 dollars and the big players are around $1500. So my question is, would design firms like 3D rendering done by a professional bridge engineer?
I was looking around the web for women (wow does that sound wrong!, keep reading..) bridge engineers. I know about Linda Figg and the contributions of Emily Roebling in getting the Brooklyn bridge built but I have not heard of many high profile women bridge engineers.
According to an article in the Washington post about “17 percent of undergraduate engineering degrees were awarded to women in the 2006-07 school year, the latest for which information is available, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.” They went on to say “the low numbers of women are holding the field back.”
I would say that the 17 percent reflects the number of women in my engineering class. So the first barrier to women in engineering is based purely on numbers. (In structural engineering I would wager the numbers do not reach 10 percent.)
I am not smart enough to understand why this imbalance in engineering is occurring, but with two daughters I am concerned with the trend. What do you think? Are things improving for women in engineering?
I have to teach the Direct stiffness method in a couple of weeks. Could someone point me to a nice basic introduction textbook or paper that I can use for my class?
The hardest part of teaching is breaking down information into easy step by step pieces…..and I am struggling a little bit with how to approach this subject. (It is not easy to teach to a large class something as troublesome as this type of analysis…)
I would also like to develop a spreadsheet or mathcad sheet to help out with problems. If you have something like that I would appreciate some help!.
I have been super busy working two jobs and not posting anything..(waaa I know, right! See I can talk that young hipster lingo)
I have been working on providing clear video tutorials on analyzing problems with STAAD for my class. The hard part is finding decent software to provide the videos! I want to provide high resolution, almost full screen, clear, beautiful small sized videos. You would think that would be easy with today’s software choices. Wrong if you don’t want to spend any money…
I have started using Camstudio. A great open source screen capture device. Couple this program with codecs from here, ffdshow tryouts, and you get some really good resolution, fairly small videos. I will post some as I get better!
Here is a quick STAAD example tutorial I made…you can expand it to full screen and it plays fairly well.
I recently handed back the first exam and I have some questions about grading an exam. The big problem, a student would miss an early step and it propagates throughout the rest of the question. Obviously that results in the wrong answer.
For example, if you are asked to draw the shear and moment diagrams for a frame and you get the initial reactions wrong, your diagrams are wrong. I can give points for the right “shape” but it becomes a guessing game for points.
Last year the exams were multiple choice, where the answer has to be correct, and the students hated them. This year the other instructor is trying a system of 0%, 50%, 100%. Meaning you get 0% if it is all wrong or you didn’t write anything. 50% if you get it “mostly” right but calculated the wrong answer. And a 100% for the correct answer.
In my case the average would be 60% for the exam, if I used that system (I think his was 64%). Only one student got them all correct.
So I am looking for advice on how to write a test that is easier to grade (15 hours last time) and gives a CLEAR cut point system. AND throw in the fact that students have demands and expectations about what scores they should get….
Finally spring is coming, so I threw in a watercolor I did for me mum. A propeller flower!
I had lunch with the chairman of the engineering department. He wanted to get my opinion on teaching methods for engineering students. (not sure why…)
I felt that students in my class understood how to analyze 2D lines on a board or a piece of paper but didn’t really understand how the lines related to the “real” world. I try to show real world examples and then the steps to analysis. But its difficult when you bounce around in your teaching duties like I do. I never know if they will need me again and so I hardly ever develop useful notes.
One of the things we agreed upon was the need for more 3D visualization and cadd skills in our students. They are taught cadd in their freshman year and then never use it again until their senior year.
What do you think? Do engineering students need more 3D visualization / examples in their courses to help them learn? Or…am I all wet yet again?
Okay quick study of a yellow brick road bridge. Hmmm, I probably need to provide a connection to the arches, railing, a less slippery surface and a full time gardener…But on the bright side, I learned stuff….(yes all about me..)
I was looking around the web and noticed this pedestrian bridge concept by Bing Thom Architects in Vancover, B.C. It is a 100′ foot long wooden structure slated for Tulsa, Oklahoma. Was it ever built? (my bridge competition sketchup bridge was 110′ so it would fit.)