July 19, 2022
4 min read
Márton Tóth

The new direction of Steelspace

Over the last few years, we’ve been working a lot on our Steelspace platform, which we envisioned as an open, cloud-based service. In Consteel 15, the developments behind Steelspace have enabled us to save and share models online, but this is just the beginning of our project. Our goal is to create a community where structural engineers can easily share knowledge and collaborate with each other, which will help us collectively set a new direction for the way structural design is done.

Innovations in Steelspace

Implementing Steelspace is not easy. We encountered a number of technical difficulties during development, and in recent months we had to redesign the platform to make our vision come true. We have learned a lot during the process, which allowed us to define a new direction for the project with new technological solutions meanwhile rethinking the overall user experience. We redesigned the foundations of the service to facilitate effective collaboration during engineering work in the long term. Let’s look at what these innovations would be.

Simple folder system, easy to search

One of the main goals was to create a user-friendly system for storing and sharing models. The interface has been completely redesigned so that Consteel models stored in the cloud can be simply organized. You can create any folder structure, easily search for models, and multiple views and sorting options help you navigate through the models stored in the cloud.

Share with just a few clicks

Models can be shared with a few clicks. The system offers multiple sharing permissions, with the option to view the shared model only within Steelspace or with full access to open it in Consteel as well. You can decide to what extent you want or need to share your work with others. During testing, we have found that the number of models shared can quickly grow and become hard to navigate. To avoid this, you can create a separate, independent folder structure for shared models, which you can organize as you wish.

Demonstration of the folder system and model sharing

Quick display of models 

Another priority was to address the perceived weaknesses of the viewer interface: reduce loading time and improve usability. As a result, we have created a completely new graphics engine for the online display, which allows us to display models effectively, whether it’s a frame stand or a complete hall.

The viewer has been completely rethought, not just technically, but also in terms of user experience. When navigating the model, we tried to make it as comfortable as possible to explore the model visually. Rotating or moving it depends only on clicking with the left or right mouse button while zooming in and out is easily achieved with the mouse wheel.

Fast display of models

Viewing the model is supported by a completely new view setting system, in which we combined the functionality of the coordinate system and the view changer. As a result, during moving and rotating a model, the position of the model in the model space relative to the coordinate system axes is continuously visible. By clicking on the endpoints of the axes, you can easily set the model in the direction of a given axis, while switching between perspective and orthographic views. View adjustment does not stop at the projection type, scaling of certain model objects is also possible. Thus, if you want to take a screenshot, but the loads are getting cluttered, making it hard to see the calculations or the model itself, you can make them smaller or even turn them off completely with a click.

Coordinate system and view changer

Data display and filtering

In the world of structures, it is not enough to have a visual representation, for design work we need concrete data such as section type, material quality, and load intensity. These are just a few of the many data that can be extracted from the model, whose general data can be viewed in the right-hand panel, with the content changing dynamically depending on the number of selected objects. Selection can be done on the model or by clicking on the elements in the list on the left, and it is even possible to make a pre-filtered selection according to section or material. In addition, it is possible to view all the characteristics of a single bar, which are also displayed in a table on the right when selected. Objects that are important to you can even be labeled with their most important properties.

Filtering, properties and help guides

We’re very curious to hear what you think about the platform. If you need help, you can access quick guides from the ‘Help’ menu within the model viewer or a comprehensive description by clicking on the ‘More help’ button. We’re looking forward to your feedback on how useful you find our development in your daily work. To log in, please use the email address and password you have provided on our website. See you at Steelspace! 

Go to Steelspace

The author

Márton Tóth

Márton is a passionate software developer at Consteel. Usually develops infrastructure-related code for Consteel and works on the server-side of our web projects. Always wants one more monitor.

Back to the Blog

Simplify your design process with Consteel

Improvements in Consteel 15 update 8

Updates in Consteel 15

Get help with just one click