I have been using Membrane (NDN) for about 15 years now. I have used quite a few different fabric structure software packages over the years, including the most expensive ones. NDN is easily the best of the lot. I think because it was written by someone who actually uses it to engineer real projects, it is designed with speed, ease of use and convenience in mind.
NDN has been written by a tension membrane engineer specifically for the tension membrane industry. It has been written from “scratch” with direct input from membrane engineers regarding “wants and desires”. The great thing about NDN is that any of the strengths of other software suites (not only tensile membrane programs but also 3D framing analysis and CAD programs) have been amalgamated into this one program.
I have used or am familiar with at least five (5) tensile membrane programs. For the past 10 years I have used NDN exclusively for my projects as a Structural Engineer for geometry generation, fabric shaping, analysis, design, material quantities list, internal member forces, residual forces, and patterning. I like the various colored and labeled reports that can be generated for my signed and sealed reports that gives both me and my clients a good visual understanding of the structure. I often invite my clients to an online meeting and walk them thru the structure showing them how it deflects and where the highest axial and moment forces occur so they get an easy understanding of the behavior of the structure which then enables them to suggest design improvements. I will give NDN 4.5 out of 5 stars as I know that there can be improvements even to the best programs in the world and I want to spur NDN on to achieve that 5 star rating in a future review by me.
We looked at all the available software for the analysis and patterning of tensile membrane structures. We tried several software options; all worked, but for our application, they had a long learning curve, and were generally cumbersome to use. We discovered NDN, and everything changed. NDN easily facilitates model building, mesh generation, analysis of beams, columns, cables, and of course, textile form finding and patterning. The entire structure is iterated as a unit until the solution is found. All of this is within a single, seamless application. It’s easy to apply environmental forces (wind, snow), and output to US, Euro, British, and Australian codes. Highly recommended.