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Connection Design

Integrated. Automated. Intelligent.

SDS2 is the Ultimate Solution for Steel Connection Design

Unlike any other software on the market, SDS2's 3D steel detailing software comes fully integrated with automated connection design. This has led to unparalleled intelligence and automation that works as you model, maximizing your connection output with minimum input and giving you a huge advantage over other leading solutions in connection design. 

SDS/2’s automated and intelligent steel connection design works as you model, maximizing your connection output with minimum input and giving you a huge advantage over other leading solutions in connection design.
Minimum Effort, Maximum Payoff

Connections Designed As You Model

Simply put, SDS2 connection intelligence is designed to minimize your input and maximize your output. 

What you put into the software for each connection are the details: your model, your loads, your fabrication and design standards. What you get, in a matter of seconds, are fully designed steel connections that satisfy the framing conditions of the entire node or joint. 

Unrivaled Intelligence with Complete Node Analysis

SDS2 provides a design reality check above and beyond any other connection design software available. As you input your model, SDS2 analyzes the complete node or joint of each unique framing condition, looking at every member coming in, as well as connections on the other angles, and adjusting for potential conflicts that would impact fabrication and field fit-up.

Structural Integrity

Meet your load requirements, as well as AISC and CISC standards. SDS2 will back them up with extended design calculations that you can deliver to the engineer to simplify the RFI process. 


Your 3D model is designed as it will be fabricated and with a high level of detail, minimizing issues on the shop floor such as bolt clashes. 


SDS2 examines the complete joint and automatically adjusts for potential field issues, such as insufficient bolt, framing, or connection clearance; OSHA safety connections; shank out; tool clearance, and more. 

Supported Connections

SDS2 supports more steel connections than any other solution. Connections can be automatically generated based on the framing conditions you build in your model, as well as manually controlled through locked-variable design, fabrication preferences, optimization settings, user-defined connections, and more. The connections below offer a brief overview of the thousands of connections supported in SDS2. 

  • Auto Standard
  • Plain End
  • Clip Angle
    • Bolted or welded to supporting or supported member
    • Single or double
    • Safety configurations
    • Moment connection with flange welds, flange plates, or flange angles
  • Bent plate
    • Bolted or welded to supporting or supported member
    • Single or double
    • Moment connection with flange welds, flange plates, or flange angles
  • End Plate
    • Extended to flanges for axial load
    • Coped for safety connection
    • Moment end plates
      • Four-bolt pattern, top only or top and bottom
      • Eight-bolt pattern, top only or top and bottom
    • MBMA moment end plates
      • Two-bolt
      • Four-bolt unstiffened and extended unstiffened
      • Four-bolt gusset plate between tension bolts
      • Four-bolt extended stiffened
      • Multiple-row, 1/2 or 1/3 stiffened or unstiffened
  • Shear Plate (single plate connection)
    • Moment connection with flange welds, flange plates, or flange angles
  • Through plate
    • Shared wtih opposite member
  • Shear Tee
    • Bolted or welded to supporting member
  • Seats
    • Plate seat
    • Tee seat
    • Angle seat
      • Bolted or welded to supporting member
      • Stiffened
  • Splice with web plates
    • Moment connection with flange plates
  • Auto Standard
  • Plain End
  • Auto Base/Cap Plate
  • User Base/Cap Plate
  • Column Splice
    • Spliced with plates
    • Directly welded
      • Butt plate or erection web channel
    • Flange splice plates, bolted or welded
    • Web plates


Vertical Brace Connections

  • Plain End
  • Gusset Connections
    • Tension-only rod braces
    • Tension and/or compression for other material types
  • Directly Welded HSS Connections
  • Directly Welded Angle to Tee Stem Connections

Horizontal Brace End Connections

  • Plain End
  • Gusset Connections


Design Codes + Framing Conditions + Fabrication Preferences = Fully Validated Connection
No more guess and check

Design that Begins with Your End Goal

In other solutions, you define your connection specifications and dimensions and check to see if you’re meeting the load requirements. In SDS2, you start with the load requirements—your end goal—and SDS2 provides the supporting variables.  

How does it work? When you begin a project, you’re given the option to control various setup options to define things like angle sizes, plate thicknesses, a schedule of minimums for bolt rows, and numerous other specifications meant to optimize fabrication for the designated shop. 

Then, as you are inputting your model and setting up various framing conditions, SDS2 runs its back-end calculations—factoring in your setup preferences—to automatically add a passing connection to your model.

Better Detailing, Better Connections

How do other software solutions stack up against SDS2's automated connection design capabilities? Whether you are talking about steel detailing solutions, connection software, or a combination of both, nothing comes close to the automation, intelligence, and user-focused design capabilities of SDS2. 

Automated Connection
Design Features

Steel Detailing Software

Third-Party Connection Design Software

 SDS2 Software A  Software B   Software 1 Software 2 
 Design Codes
Eurocode 3RD PARTY
 Batch Connection Application
 Batch Connection Design 3RD PARTY
 Full Joint Analysis
 Structural Integrity Checks
 Constructability Checks
 Erectability Checks
 Pass/Fail Notification
 Provides Design Alternatives
 Design Calcs
 Locked-Variable Connection Design
 Incorporates Fabrication Standards
 Connection Optimization 3RD PARTY
 Labor Optimization
 Delivers Connected Model
Powerful Tools to Customize Your Work

Meet Project Specifications Faster

Locked Variable Connection Design - 5 Rows of Bolts

Locked-Variable Connection Design

With SDS2's patented process for designing connections around locked variables, you can take control of the factors most important to your fabricator—plate thickness, rows of bolts, or weld size, for example—and SDS2 will fill in the remaining values to meet your required limit states.  

User-Defined Connections

Save custom connections for easy application in other framing conditions or projects. 

Connection Optimization

Use SDS2's automated tools and work within AISC's schedule of minimums to eliminate redunancies and reduce labor and material costs in your designs.

Auto Standard Connections

Skip the tables and speed up your process with connections that adapt to framing situations based on your preferences. 

Schedule A Free Demo

Learn how SDS2 can help you accelerate project timelines, minimize material costs and improve project accuracy.