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SteelVis (CIS/2 to VRML Translator) Web Services version


The CIMSteel Integration Standards (CIS/2) is the product model and data exchange file format for structural steel project information. CIS/2 is intended to create a seamless and integrated flow of information among all parties of the steel supply chain involved in the construction of steel framed structures.

From this web page, a CIS/2 file can be translated into a 3D interactive model in the form of a VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) file that can be viewed in a VRML viewer or web browser plugin.

You can also download the Windows version of SteelVis. The Windows version has more features than this Web Services version.

1 - Select CIS/2 file
  • 100Mb maximum file size
  • IFC and STEP files cannot be translated
  • Download Sample CIS/2 files
  • 2 - Set Display Features
    Rendering and Colors

    Rendering mode:
    Shaded only
    Transparent only
    Edge only

    Member color scheme:
    Color by Section (I-Beam, T-Beam: green, yellow, cyan) 
    Color by Section (I-Beam, T-Beam: red, blue, magenta) 
    Color by Type (I-Beam, Angle, Channel, Circular, Bolt, ...) 
    Color by Function (Beam, Column, Brace, Bolt, ...) 
    Color by Grade (A992, GRADE36, Steel, ...)
    Color by Section Dimension (In file, Lookup table, ...)
    Color by Main Member (Detailed model)
    Color by Sequence (Detailed model)

    Background color:
    White/Grey  Sky/Ground  White  Black 

    Simplify VRML model (for large models):
    Ignore thickness of: Webs, flanges, hollow sections
    Ignore thickness of: Plates, bent plates, decking
    Generate Text Popup Reports
    (Text popups might not work depending on the
    combination of VRML plugin and web browser)

    In a Detailed Model, generate report for each:
    Bolt, Hole, and Weld

    In an Analysis Model, generate report for each:
    Element and Node
    Load, Displacement, and Reaction

    In a Design Model, generate report for each:
    Design Part

    Report dimensions in:
    Native units 
    In a Detailed Model

    Copes, Camber, Taper
    Bolts, Shear Studs
    Sequences, Zones
    Main members only

    Generate for each assembly: 
    On-Off switch
    Other Features

    In an Analysis Model, generate:

    In any model, generate:
    Piecemark label for each member
    Grid Lines (if in CIS/2 file)
    Title, Ground plane, Origin axes

    Up direction:
    Positive Z axis  Positive Y axis
    Generate Coordinate Axes
    (For debugging)

    In a Detailed Model for each:
    Bolt layout and weld 
    Hole layout

    In an Analysis Model for each:

    In a Design Model for each:
    Design part
    3 - Generate VRML Text (for saving, debugging, error messages, or very large CIS/2 files)
    3D interactive VRML model



    1. To translate a CIS/2 file to a VRML model, use the Browse... button to find a CIS/2 file on your local computer. The CIS/2 file must be an ASCII text file with an extension of ".stp".
    2. By default, the CIS/2 file is initially translated to a VRML text file. This way the the translation process can be verified that it was successful. Error and warning messages about the CIS/2 translation process are at the end of the VRML file. The error and warning messages are useful in determining if the CIS/2 file was correctly translated to a VRML file.
    3. The resulting VRML can be saved in a file by copying and pasting the VRML text into a text editor such as Notepad or WordPad. Edit the file to remove any HTML tags at the top and bottom of the file. The first line of the .wrl file must be #VRML V2.0 utf8   The file must be saved with an extension of .wrl In the extension .wrl, the last letter is an 'L' not the number '1'. The saved VRML file can be displayed later.
    4. The CIS/2 file can also be translated directly to a "3D interactive VRML model" and will be displayed in the VRML plugin that is installed in the web browser. If this does not work, then generate the VRML as text as in the previous step.


    Although SteelVis checks for many syntax errors and should create a VRML model that looks correct, it does not imply that the CIS/2 file conforms to the CIS/2 schema. Conformance to the schema can be checked with software such as Express Engine and other commercial products. A VRML model that looks correct also does not imply that the CIS/2 file follows recommended practices, software implementers agreements, or that it can be imported into another CIS/2 application.

    In addition to errors in the CIS/2 file, VRML models that look wrong might be caused by SteelVis having to lookup, parse, or approximate cross section dimensions that are not explicity specified in the CIS/2 file. A VRML model that looks wrong might also be caused by some VRML plugins and viewers not correctly supporting some of the features used in the VRML files generated by SteelVis.

    For problems or questions about SteelVis (CIS/2 to VRML and IFC Translator), contact: Robert Lipman.

    This software was developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology by employees of the Federal Government in the course of their official duties. Pursuant to Title 17 Section 105 of the United States Code this software is not subject to copyright protection and is in the public domain. This software is an experimental system. NIST assumes no responsibility whatsoever for its use by other parties, and makes no guarantees, expressed or implied, about its quality, reliability, or any other characteristic.

    The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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    Date created: Aug 2001 | Last updated: 26 Nov 2014