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Add variables to a custom component

Added August 31, 2016 by Tekla User Assistance tekla.documentation@trimble.com

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Add variables to a custom component

Add variables to a custom component

Variables are the properties of a custom componentcomponent that the user creates and uses for creating model objects whose composition the user can modify as a group

. You can create variables in the custom component editortool that is used for modifying component that is created by a custom component, and for creating dependencies between component objects and other model objects

and use them to adapt custom components to changes in the model. Some of the variables appear in the custom component's dialog box, while others are hidden and are only used in calculations.

Variable types

There are two types of variables:

  • Distance variablevariable used to bind the model object to the object planes or construction planes

    A distance variable includes a value and a dependency.

    : The distance between two planes, or between a point and a plane. A distance variable binds parts together, or works as a variable reference distancevariable used to pass on distance information in order to define properties


  • Parametric variablevariable used to define a value for a parametric property

    A parametric variable does not include a dependency.

    For example, name, material grade, and bolt size are parametric variables.

    : Controls all the other properties in a custom component, such as name, material grade, and bolt size. Parametric variables are also used in calculations.

Distance variables

Use distance variables to bind custom component objects to a plane so that they stay at a fixed distance even if the surrounding objects change. You can create distance variables manually or automatically.

You can bind the following objects to a plane:

  • construction planeconstruction object that represents a plane

  • reference points of parts (only custom component objects)

  • reference points of bolt groups

  • chamfers

  • part and polygon cutcut that is defined by a polygon


  • line cuts

  • reference points of reinforcing bars

  • reference points of reinforcement meshes and strands

  • fittings

You can decide which distance variables are shown in the custom component's dialog box. Show the distance variables if you want to be able to change the distance values in the dialog box. Hide the distance variables if you only bind objects to a plane.

Parametric variables

Use parametric variables to build dependencies between component objects and model objects. For example, you can specify that the size of a stiffenercomponent object that represents a structure that strengthens a steel beam or column

Stiffeners are usually plates.

Stiffeners are used to prevent web buckling at supports or concentrated loads.

depends on the size of a beam. If you change the size of the beam, the size of the stiffener also changes.

You can also create formulas to calculate values. For example, you can calculate the position of a stiffener relative to the beam length.

You can decide which parametric variables are shown in the custom component's dialog box. Show the variables that you can use for changing the properties of the custom component, and hide the variables that you only use in calculations.

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