1. Choose File : New Truss to start a new truss file. The applet doesn't allow reading or writing to the disk, so don't bother with Open or Save.
2. Place your joints. If you follow the prompts at the lower right corner of the screen, it should be pretty easy. Make sure the window is active first, or the joints won't be placed.
3. Place your members. Make the window active, then click the start and end joints. Again, follow the prompts.
4. Place your supports. Choose the joint where the support will act, then define it as either vertical or horizontal by clicking anywhere in that general direction. Note that supports act as separate forces; a roller can be represented by one support, while a pin must be represented by two support forces.
5. Place your loads. Choose the joint where the load will act, then define the direction by clicking on another grid point. A box will pop up, asking for values. Here you decide whether it is a dynamic or static load, and what the min and max values are. Then, click DONE to finish creating the load.
6. Once the number of unknowns equals the number of equations, the green square in the lower right hand corner will turn green. After adding loads, click the FINISH button to create the truss and to load it into the analysis module.
7. From the Analyze menu choose your mode of analysis: either Analyze Truss (dynamic loads are at maximum), or Run Dynamics (ranges dynamics until truss breaks).
Other Options:A. While creating your truss, you can also use any of the other tools listed in the pull-down menu; you're not restricted to just adding pieces. You can also modify and delete each part of the truss. Just follow the prompts at the bottom right-hand side of the Truss Maker module screen.
B. Hitting the Next Step button will advance to the next part to add, according to the number of times you have already used this button. Useful for quick trusses.
C. Saving and Opening only work in the application version, but you should be able to print from the analysis module.
D. You can also hide and show the forces and labels. Note that the support reactions are not normally shown; to see them, the labels must be turned on after an analysis is run.
E. Work on one truss at a time! The analysis can only be run on the most recent active truss. You can keep your windows open from old trusses, but no changes will occur.
F. Having trouble seeing dialogs and prompts? Choose 'IBM User' from the EDIT menu, or hit the 'IBM User' button in the toolbox window when making a new truss. You may have to expand the window (click the corner and drag) to see it all.
Netscape Users: You need to use the Java plug-in to get the correct operation of the applet (at least on all versions of Netscape I've tried). Download the plug-in from Sun, and follow their instructions. You might have to enable your browser to use the Java plug-in within the browser's preferences.
Other Browsers: Same thing as Netscape: if you are having trouble running the applet, check to see that Java is enabled. You may also need to plug-in if that doesnt work. Follow the same link as listed under Netscape. Classic Mac Users: Look for the menu bar at the top of the screen with the rest of the menus, at the end of the browser specific items. See that extra 'File' menu? That marks the start of the menus to use.
OS X Users: Similarly, look for the menu bar at the top of the screen at the end of the applet runner menus. As of mid-April, Omni Web has a bug that doesn't allow for entry into text fields, and IE 5.01 doesn't run Java. You'll have to download the applet and webpage, and try running from the Applet Launcher or from appletviewer in the terminal.
Unix Command Line: Try running the applet from the appletviewer.
Windows Users: Click the 'IBM User' button in the toolbox (you will have to expand it!) to resize windows for use on IBM computers. Look for the menu at the top of the active window. There are also some windows (like the New Truss module) that don't have menus. Just follow the instructions like normal; you don't need menus for this module.
It's sure a LOT faster (and more responsive!) as an application. If you're familiar with making your own Java applications from Jar Files, the main() method is located in the TrussManager class. Compiling as an application also allows you to access truss files that you have saved to your hard drive, and to save analysis summaries.