Structural Steel Connections


When I am detailing structural steel, everything sails along nicely, however, when it comes to positioning the bolts through two pieces of steel, i.e cleat to cleat, life becomes hard.
Is there an easy way of lining up bolt holes, as far as i can see, getting the bolt hole in one cleat is easy, projecting it to the next cleat is hard. Obviously, this needs to be super accurate. Its can be done, however when there are heaps of bolts then it becomes hard.


In advance


Are there any dynamic components involved here?
Are any of these scaled components?
Or are they just “simple” compenents of grouped geometry?

Have you tried bolds as “Glue to” components?

Can you give us some screenshots or an actual model (*.skp) of the part you are having a hard time with?


This is a method using construction lines but there are other ways. The only restriction is that it does assume the holes are composed of circles so that the centres can be found.


The cleats are not dynamic, i have made them in native sketch up. I use the double cut tool to go through single items such as aCleat%20Holes%20F1 base plate. The issue is when i need to align two cleats and leave a hole, so when i put each item into layout and dimension everything works out.


Sorry, just noticed that I didn’t move the cleat right back against the flat. My bad. If you do, everything lines up as it should.

This is the kind of exercise where I wish SU allowed construction points and lines that don’t get deleted when you delete others. Then you could have a construction point at the centre of circles and make this all much quicker. But maybe someone else has an even more elegant solution?


Her is a cleat that i am working on. The alignment is an issue. I use the double cut if i am just placing a hole in the steel. However when i have c cleat to cleat arrangement i need two holes to line up so when i send to layout i can dimension correctlty



What do you mean? Not Dynamic Components? Nor were mine if so.

What you are asking now seems to be rather different (and more complex). I also don’t recognize the “double cut tool”.

Maybe you should upload a video of what you are trying to do?


OK i will upload


I generally build the beams and cleats the add my bolts. This is where is becomes difficult.


I hear you but don’t understand why.



I am not sure how to do a video, but the last snapshot is of two cleats back to back which need 2 x 9mm holes


If you have them in situ like that without holes, why not just make a cylinder representing the hole, put it in position, and use Solid Tools to cut the holes in the cleats? Then delete the cylinder.


I use Licecap.


@simoncbevans, that “dynamic components” was probably as an answer to my earlier question. To rule certain dificulties out.



I’m curious, does a plugin already exist for drawing bolts, nuts and washers for structural applications like this?


Yes there is one, and works well for bolts. However it does not leave the holes in the cleats if you hide the bolt. So when you go back to layout you can dimension the holes.
The plug in is Bolt Maker XII.


That looks like the way. Does the cleats need to be components for it to work, my cleats are in groups at the moment


Both the cleats and the cutting cylinder need to be groups or components. Either will work.