ClearCalcs for StruCalc Users

This article is for experienced StruCalc users learning how to use ClearCalcs. It explains key similarities and differences between StruCalc and ClearCalcs for each calculation. Click a link below to jump to the calculation or feature that you'd like to compare.

For entirely new users, we recommend using this article as a reference while following along with our 3 step getting started guide that walks through how to create and export your first calculation.

If you have any questions getting started, please don't hesitate to contact support.

Table of Contents

Calculations

Features


Calculations

StruCalc users will feel right at home with ClearCalcs' expansive range of calculations. Help is baked into the platform, so if you're ever unsure what something means, just click the field label to immediately drill down and see the description, formula, and references.

Concrete Footings

StruCalc has easy design modules for square, continuous, round, and rectangular footings. ClearCalcs also has calculations for square/rectangular (Spread Footing) and continuous footings (Strip Footing). Round footings are coming soon (let us know if you would like them!)

ClearCalc's footing calculator is essentially the same as in Strucalc, but we also have these additional features:
  • Eccentric loads (including biaxial cases!)
  • You can specify X and Y axis bottom reinforcement bars separately
  • You can choose to toggle top reinforcement on as well
  • Rebar development length check

Beams (Beams, Joists, and Rafters etc.)

ClearCalcs takes a slightly different approach to StruCalc when it comes to designing joists, rafters, and floor beams. Instead of having separate calculators, our beam calculator is flexible enough to allow the design of each - by choosing a ' preset' when you create the beam, common inputs will be defaulted for you (for example, the floor joist beam preset will default to a repeating member). Read on below for some specific differences, as well as design examples.

Choosing Beams

StruCalc: Joists and rafters have separate buttons 

ClearCalcs: You choose a beam type first (ex. Wood Beam) and then the beam sub-type (ex. Floor Joist)

Beam Geometry and Supports

StruCalc: Specify the length of the left, center, and right span, and tick if there is a cantilever

ClearCalcs: Simply specify total beam length (sum of all spans) and place as many supports as you would like along the beam (ex. for a 5ft beam with a 1ft cantilever on the right, you would specify Length = 5ft, Support 1 = 0ft, and Support 2 = 4ft) - this will graphically show on the diagram so it's easy to tell what you've done.

Beam Loading

StruCalc: You need to decide between uniformly loaded and multi-span beams

ClearCalcs: All ClearCalcs beam calculations support unlimited supports and loads. 

StruCalc: Loads are given as 'side one' and 'side two' with a tributary width

ClearCalcs: You can manually enter and label the loads how you would like. If you would like to copy how StruCalc does it, you can simply create a row for each and give it the tributary width you desire.

StruCalc: Wall load is only available in Plf, not Psf

ClearCalcs: Wall load can be entered as plf loads by expanding the 'Line Loads' section below distributed loads, or can be entered in Psf in the distributed loads section just like other loads (just set tributary width to 1ft (1ft * 1psf = 1plf). You also have the flexibility to make it a uniform, or partial load. N.B. If you would like to enter in Plf, 

Rafters

ClearCalcs allows you to design rafters using our beam calculators (see above section on beams). You can still enter a roof pitch and set interior and eave length, just as you would in StruCalc, only you do it in the Wood or Steel beam calculator by choosing the 'Rafter' preset.

Rafter Design Example

Length and Supports

StruCalc: Enter interior length and eave length, plus roof pitch

ClearCalcs: Enter total rafter length, and as many supports as you would like, as well as roof pitch (for example, for a 7.5ft interior span, and a 1.5ft eave length, you would specify a total rafter length of 9ft with supports at 0ft and 7.5ft, creating a 1.5ft cantilever on the right)

Tributary Width:

StruCalc: Is based on O.C rafter spacing

ClearCalcs: Same, but to save time, if you select the Rafter preset, tributary width will default to the O.C Rafter spacing you specified in the Project Details panel when you created the project, but this can be overridden for each calculation if your rafters have different spacing.

Loads:

StruCalc: Enter Roof live load and dead load, and toggle snow on or off

ClearCalcs: Same, except you have greater control over snow loading and can add additional partial or point loads for things like solar panels. If you'd like to double the live load on the eave, just add a partially distributed load across that section of the rafter.

Bracing

StruCalc: Defaults to top bracing and you can tick toggle to add 'Bracing Applied to Bottom of Rafters'

ClearCalcs: Also defaults to top bracing, but has even more bracing options! N.B. The equivalent to ticking 'Bracing Applied to Bottom of Rafters' in ClearCalcs would be 'Top & Bottom Braced'

Hip/Valley Beam

ClearCalcs has a very similar hip/valley calculator that will allow you to enter plan view measurements and automatically adjust loads and lengths based on roof. To use it, create a beam and select the 'Hip/Valley' beam preset. This will let you set a side length and roof pitch and will automatically set a tapered/trapezoidal load on the hip.

Column

Guide coming soon.

Collar Tie

ClearCalcs does not currently have a dedicated Collar Tie module (but we're adding more calcs all the time!). Want to see it sooner? Let us know! We prioritise based on feedback.

Shear Wall

ClearCalcs does not currently have a dedicated Shear Wall module (but we're adding more calcs all the time!). Want to see it sooner? Let us know! We prioritise based on feedback.

Additional/New Calculations in ClearCalcs

ClearCalcs has several additional calculations not available in StruCalc including Wind Components and Cladding, Steel Member Design (bring your analysis results in from another program), Concrete Beams and Columns, Custom Cross Section Designer, Cold-Formed Steel Beams and Columns, and Portal Frame Analysis. We're adding more all the time - let us know what you want to see!

Features

Adding and managing new calculations and projects

Choose a calculation

StruCalc: Select the icon for the calculation you want at the bottom of the screen

ClearCalcs: Once you're in a project, you click the blue 'Add New Calculation' button in the sidebar and select the new calculation you'd like to add.

Choosing a material to design in

StruCalc: Select the icon for the calculation you want at the bottom of the screen

ClearCalcs: Once you're in a project, you click the blue 'Add New Calculation' button in the sidebar and select the new calculation you'd like to add.

Choosing specific beam types

StruCalc: Separate icons along the bottom for rafter, floor joist, hip/valley beam

ClearCalcs: Select the calculator first (ex. Wood Beam) and then select the sub-type from the presets list that opens up (ex. Rafter, Floor Joist). These presets use the same beam calculator, but pre-populate key inputs - for example, a Floor Joist preset will be set as a repeating

Screenshot_from_2018-08-20_11-14-17.png

Creating a new project

Both ClearCalcs and StruCalc have a similar concept of 'projects' with calculations housed within.

StruCalc: Create new project from File menu, new calculations appear at top of screen and at top of sidebar

ClearCalcs: Create new project from home screen, new calculations appear in sidebar as they are added.

Re-ordering, copying, and deleting calculations

StruCalc: Manage calculations in sidebar and top of page

ClearCalcs: All calculations appear in sidebar where you can drag and drop to re-order them. Click an individual calculation and you can individually copy, delete, or swap materials on the top right of screen.

Load tracking

Load tracking between beams, columns, and foundations is one of the best features in StruCalc as it allows fast and error free rundown of loads from the top to bottom of a structure. ClearCalcs load tracking works in a very similar way!

StruCalc: Click the blue hyperlink for "Point Live Load" or "Axial Live Load" to choose a member and reaction to load track from. Load is tracked in the right hand panel.

ClearCalcs: Click the blue chain 'link' icon next to a point load and select the member and reaction you would like to track from. The load is tracked directly in the point load table, and will dynamically update as you make changes to other calculations. If your changes cause a linked sheet to fail, it will show red in the sidebar.

Printing

StruCalc: Click 'print preview' in the sidebar to view and print a single calculation, or click the 'Print' icon on the bottom bar to print all.

ClearCalcs: Click 'Export' in the project sidebar to print an entire project, or click the 'Export' icon on the top right of a selected calculation to print the single calc. Calculations will download as a PDF that you can then physically print if you desire. In the Export dialog, you can choose to select or remove calculations from your print, as well as choose your level of print detail.

AutoSize

Both StruCalc and ClearCalcs give you the ability to automatically size members to speed up design.

StruCalc: Click 'AutoSize' in the sidebar, select desired grade, and run

ClearCalcs: ClearCalcs offers expanded options for finding your desired member:

  • Anywhere you see a blue filter icon next to a dropdown box, click to open a dialog box that will show all available options and how they affect adequacy, filter down or select the option you would like

  • When setting up a new project, you may specify your 'preferred' sections to use on the Project Details screen, or copy from a past project. Once you have specified your preferred sections, anywhere you see a blue magic wand icon, you can click to automatically select the most optimal section based on your preferences, or you can click the blue filter icon and see your preferred sections starred at the top of the list next to their adequacy. 

mceclip0.png

Adjusting member codes

StruCalc: Using 'Member Codes' in the sidebar, you can choose the building code and NDS you want to design to (up to 2015)

ClearCalcs: ClearCalcs is kept rigorously up to date and supports the most recent versions of the IBC and NDS

Adjusting deflection limits and defaults

StruCalc: Click the 'Options' cog icon to edit default loading and deflection limits program wide

ClearCalcs: Defaults are on a per project basis. When you first create a project, you will see a list of Project Defaults on the Project Details screen where you can edit preferences for default loading and deflection limits.

Materials editor

StruCalc: Click the Materials Editor icon on the bottom bar, select the type of material you would like to edit, and save its new properties

ClearCalcs: Unfortunately we do not currently offer the ability to save materials back to your library. We are constantly updating section catalogues, however if there is a section missing that you would like added, please don't hesitate to let us know - it can generally be done in a matter of days and benefits all ClearCalcs users.

Extra Features in ClearCalcs (Unit awareness! Formulas!)

We are constantly updating ClearCalcs, with new features coming out every few weeks. You can check out our Advanced Tricks section for updated articles on useful new features, but a couple of the handiest things you can do are definitely specify your own units system and type formulas into any input field.

Still need help? Contact Us Contact Us