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Define connection properties in the joints.def file

Last updated March 12, 2019 by Tekla User Assistance tekla.documentation@trimble.com

Software version: 
2019

Define connection properties in the joints.def file

Define connection properties in the joints.def file

The joints.def file contains general connection settings and connection-specific settings for different connection types. You can use the joints.def file to set the default properties for different connection types. Joints.def is a text file that you can open and edit in any standard text editor.

Tekla Structures uses the values defined in the joints.def file for the properties that do not have values in the connection dialog boxes. If you manually enter values in the connection dialog boxes, the manually entered values are used instead of the values in the joints.def file. AutoDefaultspredefined properties that AutoConnection uses when creating connections

also override the values defined in the joints.def file.

Tekla Structures stores the joints.def file in the system folder. Tekla Structures searches for the joints.def file in the standard search order: model, project, firm, and system folderfolder that is used for storing files that define default settings

.

How to use the joints.def file

The joints.def file contains general connection settings and connection-specific settings for different connection types in separate sections. You can modify the joints.def file using any standard text editor.

When you modify the file:

  • Enter absolute values or names.
  • Do not use feet and inch symbols.
  • Ensure that the profiles exist in the profile catalogcatalog that displays profiles and information on the profiles

    In addition to the available profiles in the respective Tekla Structures environment, the user can add fixed or parametric user-defined profiles to the profile catalog. It is also possible to import profiles to the profile catalog.

    .
  • Ensure that the bolts exist in the bolt catalogcatalog that displays predefined objects that can be used in a bolt assembly catalog

    Predefined objects in the bolt catalog are bolt elements, for example, bolts of different sizes and lengths, washers, and nuts.

    .
  • You can set the measurement units at the beginning of the file.
  • You can define in the JOINTDEFAULT line whether Tekla Structures uses the default values in the joints.def file or the system default values, for example, as follows:

    • Value 1 means that the default values defined in the joints.def file are used.
    • Value 0 means that the system default values are used.
    • The // characters at the beginning of a line mean that the line is a comment line. Tekla Structures does not use the information on these lines.
  • You can force Tekla Structures to use the system default for a particular property by entering the value -2147483648 for the property.

Connection-specific properties

The properties for clip angles, shear tabs, end plates, gussetcomponent object that represents a plate that connects braces to a beam, column, or base plate

connections and diagonal connections are in separate sections. Each section begins with a header row that contains the column labels, for example as follows:

joints.def

Do not add columns to the file. If Tekla Structures cannot find a property in the connection-specific section, it searches for the default property in the general defaults section.

Connections that use the joints.def file

The following connections use the joints.def file:

  • Welded gusset (10)
  • Bolted gusset (11)
  • Bracing cross (19)
  • Tube gusset (20)
  • Tube crossing (22)
  • Two sided angle cleat (25)
  • Corner tube gusset (56)
  • Corner bolted gusset (57)
  • Wraparound gusset (58)
  • Hollow brace wraparound gusset (59)
  • Wraparound gusset cross (60)
  • Wrapped cross (61)
  • Gusseted cross (62)
  • Corner wrapped gusset (63)
  • Beam with stiffener (129)
  • Column with shear plate (131)
  • Bolted moment connection (134)
  • Clip angle (141)
  • Two sided end plate (142)
  • Two sided clip angle (143)
  • End plate (144)
  • Shear plate simple (146)
  • Welded to top flange (147)
  • Welded to top flange S (149)
  • Moment connection (181)
  • Column with stiffeners W (182)
  • Full depth (184)
  • Full depth S (185)
  • Column with stiffeners (186)
  • Column with stiffeners S (187)
  • Column with stiffeners (188)
  • Shear plate tube column (189)
  • Bent plate (190)

Example: How Tekla Structures uses the joints.def file

This example explains how Tekla Structures calculates the bolt diameter and other properties of the Bolted gusset (11) connection using the joints.def file.

The height of the diagonal profile is 10". Tekla Structures calculates the bolt size and the number of bolts according to the profile height. It searches the BOLTHEIGHT rows for a profile height of 10".

As the profile height is greater than 8.0 but under 12.0 , Tekla Structures uses the row with profile height 8.0. This sets the bolt diameter to 0.75.

Tekla Structures uses the bolt diameter to assign the bolt and part properties. It searches the DIAGBOLTPART rows for bolt diameter 0.75.

The following property values are used:

Bolt diameter 0.75
Number of bolts horizontally 2
Edge distance horizontally 1.5
Edge distance vertically 1.5
Distance between bolts horizontally 2.5
Distance between bolts vertically System default is used.

Tekla Structures does not use the connection plate(1) part that represents a flat structure

(1) In some contexts, for example in analysis, the term plate object may be used to refer to plates.

(2) plate that represents a steel structure

(2) Plate is mainly used as a connection piece or as a floor plate.

thickness or angle profile properties in this connection.

General defaults in the joints.def file

Tekla Structures uses the general defaults in the joints.def file if it cannot find a connection property in the connection-specific section.

For example, for clip angles, Tekla Structures determines the bolt diameter and the number of bolts according to the secondary beam height. If the secondary beam is higher than the highest value in the clip anglecomponent object that represents a right angle that is made of a standard L-shaped profile and that connects parts

section in the joints.def file, Tekla Structures uses the default bolt diameter in the general defaults.

The properties in the general defaults section in the joints.def file are:

Property Description
boltdia Bolt diameter
pitch Distance from the center of one bolt to the center of the next bolt
clipweld Weld size
angle-cc-inc Tekla Structures adds bolt to bolt distance and web thickness, then rounds up the result using this value. Complies with the US AISC standard.
lprofgapinc Tekla Structures rounds up the angle profile gap using this value. Complies with the US AISC standard.
lsize Size of the angle profile
copedepth Notch size
copelength Notch size
boltedge Edge distance
webplatelen Haunch plate height (h)
webplatewid Haunch plate width (b)
beamedge Setback distance between the end of the beam and the main part
knifeclr No longer used
clipedge Edge distance for bolts (clip angles only)
gap No longer used
shearplatethk Shear tab thickness
endplatethk End plate thickness
shearweld Size of weld
cliplsize Size of angle profile (clip angles only)
flangecutclear Flange cut clearance
slotsize Size of slotted hole
clipslots

Part with slotted holes:

  • 1 = beam
  • 2 = angle profiles
  • 3 = both

This property is the Slots in option on the Bolts tab.

clip_attac

Clip angle attached to the main part and secondary parts:

  • 1 = both parts bolted
  • 2 = main part bolted/secondary part welded
  • 3 = main part not welded
  • 4 = main part welded/secondary part bolted
  • 5 = both parts welded
  • 6 = main part not bolted
  • 7 = secondary part not welded
  • 8 = secondary part not bolted
  • 9 = both parts bolted/welded

This property is the bolt attachment option on the Bolts tab where the location of bolts is defined.

copedepth_inc Tekla Structures rounds up notch depth using this value.
copelength_inc Tekla Structures rounds up notch length using this value.

Bolt diameter and number of bolts in the joints.def file

In the joints.def file, the BOLTHEIGHT rows in each connection-specific section show the default bolt diameter and default number of bolt rows for the connection type.

Tekla Structures determines the bolt diameter and the number of bolts according to the connection type based on the following properties:

For According to
Clip angles Secondary beam height
Shear tabs Secondary beam height
End plates Secondary beam height
Gusset connections Angle profile length
Diagonal connections Profile height

Clip angle, shear tab, and end plate connections

Tekla Structures calculates the default bolt diameter and the number of bolt rows vertically according to the height of the secondary beam. You can enter the following properties:

Property Description
name BOLTHEIGHT
part ANGLECLIP
sec.beam.height Maximum height of the secondary beam for a certain number of bolts
diameter Bolt diameter. The diameter must exist in the bolt catalog.
number_of_bolts Number of bolts vertically

Gusset connections

Tekla Structures calculates the default bolt diameter and the number of bolt rows horizontally according to the length of the angle profile. You can enter the following properties:

Property Description
name BOLTHEIGHT
part GUSSET
lproflength or angleproflength Length of the angle profile
diameter Bolt diameter. The diameter must exist in the bolt catalog.
number_of_bolts Number of bolts horizontally

Diagonal connections

Tekla Structures calculates the default bolt diameter and number of bolt rows horizontally according to the profile height. You can enter the following properties:

Property Description
name BOLTHEIGHT
part DIAGONAL
conn.pl.height or profileheight Profile height
diameter Bolt diameter. The diameter must exist in the bolt catalog.
number_of_bolts Number of bolts horizontally

Bolt and part properties in the joints.def file

Once Tekla Structures has used the joints.def file to calculate the bolt diameter, it uses the result to assign other properties to bolts and parts, according to the connection type.

In clip angle connections, for example, the default properties for bolts and parts are in the rows that begin with ANGLECLBOLTPART in the CLIP ANGLE section of the joints.def file.

The table below lists the properties that you can assign for bolts and parts in each connection type.

Property Description Clip angle Shear tab End plate Gusset Diagonal
name Identifies the connection type.

For example, GUSSETBOLTPART for gusset connections.

* * * * *
bolt diameter The bolt diameter must exist in the bolt catalog. * * * * *
shear plate thickness Thickness of the shear tab   *      
end plate thickness Thickness of the end plate     *    
gusset thickness Thickness of the gusset plate       *  
conn. plate thickness Thickness of the connection plate         *
angle profile or L profile The name of the used angle profile must exist in the profile catalog. Enter the exact profile, for example: L100*100*10. *     * *
number Number of bolts in each row vertically and horizontally. * * * * *
pitch Distance between the bolts from the center of each bolt for vertical and horizontal bolts * * * * *
edge distance Distance from the center of a bolt to the edge of the part for vertical and horizontal bolts * *   * *
vert. bolt firshole Position of the first vertical row of bolts * *   *  

Gusset connection properties in the joints.def file

Enter the additional default properties for gusset connections in the GUSSETDEFDIM row . All gusset connections do not use all the properties.

Property Description Affects plate shape
name GUSSETDEFDIM  
boltdia_def Bolt diameter for all bolt groups

Tekla Structures uses this value if the Bolt size box is empty in the connection dialog box.

 
tol_prim Tolerance between the gusset and main part web  
tol_sec Tolerance between the gusset and secondary part web  
dist_diag_prim Clearance between the first secondary part selected and the main part  
dist_diag_sec Perpendicular distance from the last secondary part selected to the nearest secondary part  
angle_first_corner Corner angle dimension Yes
angle_sec_corner
dist_between_diag Clearance between braces  
first_bolt_from_line Bolt edge distance for the bolt groups on the Gusset tab  
corner_dx Corner dimension  
corner_dy Corner dimension  
movey

option on the Gusset tab

 
movez

option on the Gusset tab

 
dist1 Edge length of the gusset plate perpendicular to the lowest brace Yes
dist2 Edge length of the gusset plate perpendicular to the braces Yes
dist3 Edge length of the gusset plate perpendicular to the uppermost brace Yes
tol_lprof Edge tolerance from gusset plate to connection plate  
tol_stiffener Stiffener tolerance  
chamfer_dx Stiffener chamfer dimension on the Gusset tab  
chamfer_dy Stiffener chamfer dimension on the Gusset tab  
chamfer_corner_dx

 
chamfer_corner_dy  
side_length Side length  
diafit_length Fit length in the Bracing cross (19) connection.

Tekla Structures uses this value if the option on the Parameters tab is empty.

 

The example image below shows the properties of the Wraparound gusset (58) connection on the Picture tab.

  1. tol_lprof
  2. corner_dy
  3. corner_dx
  4. dist_diag_sec
  5. tol_sec
  6. angle_sec_corner
  7. dist3
  8. dist_between_diag
  9. dist2
  10. dist1
  11. dist_diag_prim
  12. tol_prim

Diagonal connection properties in the joints.def file

Enter the additional default properties for bolts and parts in the DIAGDEFDIM row. All diagonal connections do not use all the properties.

Property Description
name DIAGDEFDIM
boltdia_def Bolt diameter for all bolt groups

Tekla Structures uses this value if the Bolt size box is empty in the connection dialog box.

dist_gus_diag Gap between the gusset plate and the brace

If the tube profiles are closed with end plates, dist_gus_diag is the gap between the gusset plate and the end plate.

See the Tube crossing (22) image below.

dist_in Cut depth in the brace. Enter a negative value to prevent the connection plate from being inside the tube brace.

See the Tube crossing (22) image below.

dist_dv Brace edge distance to the edge of the connection plate. This dimension changes the width of the connection plate.

See the Tube crossing (22) image below.

sec_cut_tol On the Brace conn tab:

slot_length_tol
tube_cut_tol On the Brace conn tab:

conn_cut_dx On the Brace conn tab:

conn_cut_dy
round_plate_tol On the Brace conn tab:

flanges_cut_angle On the Brace conn tab:

dist_flanges_cut
dist_skew_cut
end_plate_thk End plate thickness

The example image below shows the properties of the Tube crossing (22) connection on the Picture tab:

  1. dist_dv
  2. dist_in
  3. dist_gus_diag

Profile dependent bolt dimensions in the joints.def file

For some connections, such as Clip angle (141) and Two sided clip angle (143) , Tekla Structures calculates the bolt size according to the profile size.

For these connections, Tekla Structures takes the bolt size from the PROFILEBOLTDIM rows of the PROFILE TYPE-DEPENDENT BOLT DIMENSIONS section in the joints.def file if you leave the corresponding options empty on the Bolts tab.

Property Description
width Profile width
one bolt firsthole For single bolts, distance from the edge of the profile angle to the first hole
two bolts firsthole For two bolts, distance from the edge of the profile angle to the first hole
pitch Distance between bolts from the center of each bolt, for vertical and horizontal bolts

For example, to find the bolt dimensions to be used with an L6X6X1/2 profile in a clip angle connection:

  1. Tekla Structures first searches the PROFILEBOLTDIM rows for L6X6X1/2 in the PROFILE TYPE-DEPENDENT BOLT DIMENSIONS section.
  2. If there is no match, Tekla Structures then searches the ANGLECLBOLTPART rows in the CLIP ANGLE section.

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