Create a steel spiral beam

Added May 4, 2021 by Tekla User Assistance

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Create a steel spiral beam

Create a steel spiral beam

Use the Create steel spiral beam command when you want to model spiral staircases and complex architectural shapes, for example.

Basic concepts related to spiral beams

The images below illustrate some basic concepts related to the creation of spiral beams. Note that if you change the positioning, the entire geometry of the spiral beambeam that follows the form of a helix and is defined by a start point, center point and the rotation axis

Spiral beams can be concrete spiral beams or steel spiral beams. They can be used to create spiral staircases, complex architectural structures, and concrete parking ramps, for example.

Spiral beam can rise from the work plane or be flat. If the spiral beam rises, the total rise is defined between the start and the end point.


(1) Start point (the first point picked)

(2) Center point (the second point picked)

(3) Direction of the rotation axis (the optional third point picked)

(4) Center axis

(5) Total rise: the distance from the start point to the end point, parallel to the center axis

(6) Rotation angle: the rotation angle of the spiral beam, given in degrees. Note: positive value = counter-clockwise rotation, negative value = clockwise rotation.

(7) Radius: the distance from the start point to the center point, perpendicular to the center axis

Create a spiral beam

  1. On the Steel tab, click Beam > Spiral beam.
  2. Pick the start point.

  3. Pick the center point.

  4. To set the rotation axis in the work planeplane that the user has chosen in a model and that is currently active for working on in a model view

    Newly created, copied, or moved model objects comply with the work plane. For example, shifting the work plane to follow a sloped plane makes it easier to model sloped structures.

    +Z direction, click the middle mouse button to finish.


    Alternatively, instead of clicking the middle mouse button, you can pick a second center axis point to define the direction of the rotation axis.

    Tekla Structures creates the spiral beam. For example:

  5. Click the spiral beam to select it.

    The contextual toolbarfloating toolbar that contains commands for modifying the most common object properties

    The user can customize the contextual toolbar.

    appears with the following options:

    (1) Rotation angle

    (2) Total rise

    (3) Twist angle at start

    (4) Twist angle at end

  6. To add more rotation, enter a bigger value in the Rotation angle box.
  7. To make the spiral more loose, enter a bigger value in the Total rise box.
  8. To change the radius, move the start point or center point.


  • Spiral beam has a single, constant radius.
  • Unfolding of spiral beams whose total rise is larger than 0.00 does not produce completely straight results in drawings. The amount of deviation in the part profile outlines and part length depends on several factors: the type, size, and length of the profile; the amount of total rise; and the amount of rotation angle and detailing used.
  • Spiral beams are not always untwisted in unfolding. If unequal twisting is applied to the start end and end end, the unfolded drawing shows an unfolded but twisted part as a result.
  • Connections and details may not work as expected with spiral beams.
  • DSTV export of spiral beams may not produce a correct result.
  • You cannot export spiral beams as parts in IFCfile format commonly used in BIM that facilitates software interoperability

    IFC is an open specification developed by the IAI (International Alliance for Interoperability).

    Model can be exported into an IFC file.

    export. If you are modeling cast-in-place structures with spiral beam, you can export the geometry to IFC as pour objects.

Steel spiral beam properties

Use the Steel spiral beam properties in the property panecontrol element in Tekla Structures user interface in the form of a side pane window

The property pane can be used to show and modify the properties of model objects.

The property pane can be customized by using the property pane editor.

to view and modify the properties of a steel spiral beam. To open the properties, double-click the spiral beam. The file name extension of a steel spiral beam property fileobject type specific file that contains values of properties or settings used in the property pane or a dialog box

Property files are saved in the current model folder. The user can create and modify property files and copy them to the project or firm folders for future use.

User-defined attributes related to a specific object type are stored in a separate property file.

is *.sb.

If you have customized the property pane layout, the list of properties may be different.





User-definable name of a beam.

Tekla Structures uses part names in reports and in Document manager, and to identify parts of the same type.


Profile of the beam.


Material of the beam.


Type of finish.

Finish is user-definable. It describes how the part surface has been treated.


Use to group beams.

For example, you can display parts of different classes in different colors.

Numbering series

Part numbering

Part prefix and start number for the part position number.

Assembly numbering

Assembly prefix and start number for the assembly position number.


On plane

Beam's position on the work plane, relative to the beam's reference line.


Rotation of the beam around its axis on the work plane.

At depth

Position depth of the beam. The position is always perpendicular to the work plane.


Rotation angle

Rotation angle of the spiral beam, given in degrees.

Total rise

Distance from the start point to the end point, parallel to the center axis.

Twist angle at start

Twist angle at end

Twist +/- angle of the spiral beam at the start/end of the beam.



Click the User-defined attributes button to open the user-defined attributes (UDAs) of the part. UDAs provide additional information about the part.

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