Links and Linking Members Walk-Through
Summary: Link members and their loads to other members in a Vitruvius project, stacking "members above" down onto "members below" to make a more cohesive project.
Continue reading below for an in depth walk-through.
Links is an incredibly powerful tool that allows users to take individual Modules/Members in a project and connect them in a way that allows loads to stack and transfer vertically from module to module. Modules above will transfer their loads downward onto modules below, simulating a real-life transfer of stress values that is incredibly time saving over the traditional approach to calculating loads individually on a structural member.
Begin by creating a new Module, which will be your Module below. In this example I'm using a Floor Beam to represent my module below, but you can use a Footing, Roof Beam, Floor Joist, or any other module which allows a member above.
I'm going to rename my Floor Beam "Main Floor E. Bath SS Beam", delete the default load, and just use the default values for the span length, member width, member depth.
With the load deleted, be sure to save the module to a level that is on a level either below, or equal to, whichever member will be going above this member. For example, I want my member to be saved to the Main Floor because my member above is on the level 'Second Floor', which I've created in my project.
With my module saved, I'm ready to create a new member/module which will be my 'member above'. I'm going to add a new Floor Joist to my project, calling it 'Floor Joist System Above E Bath', since my beam below will be partially carrying the joists above. Add/remove loads based on the needs of your Floor Joist/Member Above and save the member above to either the same level as the member below, or a level above it.
Creating the Link
Now that you've created a member below and a member above, we can create the link between the two modules. With the member below selected ("Main Floor E. Bath SS Beam" in my case), click the Link button on the right of the loading diagram to open up the Wizard, then select the Level where your module above is located. In this case, the module that I want to link above is in the level 'Second Floor'. Click next when you've selected the appropriate level.
Next, select the module that you want to Link and click next.
Now you'll choose which Reaction/Support the module above will be connecting to the module below. I want my module above to connect with my module below at the left side of the beam, so I'm going to select the highlighted Support.
With the Support selected I'm prompted to select the location of the member above, relative to the member below.
In the case of a member above that will have a uniform load, like floor joist, I'll determine where on my member below the load will be located. For example, on my 12' Beam below, I only want the Floor Joist System above it to span from 6' to 11' feet of my below beam, so I'll specify that in the Load Start and Load End boxes.
Now that I've outlined which modules I want linked, and where the connection is made on the bottom member/member below, I'm shown data on how the module above's loads affect the module below. The last thing to do is click 'Add' to create the Link.
Finalizing the Link
A Link has been made between your two modules, and the last step is calc any modules which have links. Calcing each module will update the load values on the modules to give you the most accurate and up-to-date information on your modules.