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Where Can I Find Steel Shapes?

martin_o_learymartin_o_leary Member Posts: 3
I am trying to design a basic testing fixture, and I am intending to use a piece of C-Channel for the base. I understand that Onshape doesn't have the same catalog I was accustomed to having with Inventor. I tried downloading some free files, but the file format proved incompatible.

If you have had success importing standard steel shapes, how did you accomplish this?


Best Answer


  • cyclonewadecyclonewade OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 53 ✭✭
    edited May 2015
    Do you still have access to your Inventor library?  Outside of recreating the structural profiles, I might think about using the upload function and translating the inventor part directly into Onshape.  After the part is in Onshape, I would use the Direct edit commands to change lengths and such.  I actually prefer the "USE" sketch command and then use the extrude command so you can explicitly specify the length of the structural member.  If the inventor part doesn't translate well directly, export it from Inventor as a neutral file and run with that into Onshape.  It should be noted that the imported file would need to have at least one solid body that is extruded in the channel shape.  The SW library for "weldment" structural shapes only contains sketches, so importing directly from the these types of SW parts would not work in the absence of a solid body.

    Here is an example with a 8020 Extruded Aluminum Profile in which I converted the edge and made a couple of extruded members.


    Good Luck!


  • martin_o_learymartin_o_leary Member Posts: 3
    Thanks for the response @CycloneWade !

    Unfortunately, I do not have access, that was at a previous employer. That's good to know on the sketch vs. solid distinction. I'm fairly certain the free file I tried to upload was just a sketch. I guess my hope for this thread was someone sharing an open library of parts, because my drafting talents are limited, and creating the profiles is a challenge for me.
  • cyclonewadecyclonewade OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 53 ✭✭
    What dimensional size do you need?  I'll create them from my SW library. 
  • martin_o_learymartin_o_leary Member Posts: 3

    Thanks so much! I should be able to make just about any C-Channel size I need using this. You just helped me fill in the blanks between the information I gathered.
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 1,947 PRO
    edited May 2015
    I'd love a tool in Onshape to be able to add profiles (common steel/aluminium) straight into a sketcher from a library.

    It would be good to have a doc like @CycloneWade has done with a full set of profiles however I think it would be more useful at the sketch level.

    Coping parts of a sketch from 1 sketch to another at a global level could also be useful here.
    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • cyclonewadecyclonewade OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 53 ✭✭
    edited May 2015
    Hi Bruce,

    The part has multiple tabs and most of them only contain sketches.  I agree a library of sketch features would be handy.  The preview in the documents page doesn't show sketches so I created a small extrude on a sample tab just for the preview window.
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 1,947 PRO
    @CycloneWade your spot on with what you have done and I'd love to see the full library. You can use the copy tab to get these out into your doc but the point I was trying to make is there is limitation on getting multiple profiles in a part studio. 
    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • 3dcad3dcad Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,424 PRO
    Sketch library would be really nice and with Onshape style it would be 'just a sketch' free to modify when removed library constraint..
  • michael3424michael3424 Member Posts: 487 ✭✭✭
    Lew Merrick has uploaded a number of structural cross sections and other component libraries to GrabCAD:


    The actual "part" files might be in GeoMagic format but he also has dimensional criteria in the form of Excel or some sort of open source equivalent spreadsheet.


  • devon_sowelldevon_sowell Member Posts: 52 ✭✭
    Devon Sowell
    Engineering Consulting Partner
    Professor, Engineering Technology, Palomar College, San Marcos, CA
    [email protected]
    760 809 9046
    CarlsbadCAD Carlsbad,CA
  • onshaperonshaper Member, Mentor Posts: 98 ✭✭✭
    vote up for BSMET bible
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