The CRT Computer-Graphics Terminal: Indispensible Design-Aid for Some Structural Engineers

by Eugene E. Dallaire, Assoc. Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine, New York, NY 10017,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1976, Vol. 46, Issue 2, Pg. 47-53

Document Type: Feature article


Putting the benefits of computer graphics within the cost reach of many consulting firms are: the development of low-cost ($3,000 to $10,000) storage-tube CRT graphics terminals; and the development of computer-graphics software by some computer time-sharing service bureaus like McDonell Douglas Automation Co. Thus, for a hardware rental cost of $200 to $500/month, a consulting firm can lease a CRT graphics terminal tied over ordinary telephone lines to a remote time-sharing computer. Computer usage costs each month, though, may be two or more times hardware rental costs. Presently, graphics terminals are used by only a small fraction of consulting structural engineering firms. The chief uses of a graphics terminal are: to generate the geometry for a structure needed to run a structural-analysis program (e.g., to be able to generate the coordinates of all column-beam intersections); to make check plots of input data to make sure that, for example, beam 12 connects to node 7; and to graphically depict computer program output. Included are case histories of several firms using computer graphics.

Subject Headings: Computer software | Graphic methods | Consulting services | Computing in civil engineering | Structural design | Case studies | Benefit cost ratios | Automation

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