Catenary for AutoCAD

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Catenary for AutoCAD - JTBCatenary

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Documentation | License agreement | Revision History | Customers

About JTBCatenary

This Catenary program for AutoCAD makes it easy to create or draw a catenary curve as a polyline by specifying the start and end point and the length and optionally a diameter (width). This can be useful for drawing freely hanging cable, hose, chain, transmission line, anchor line (anchor rode), cord, rope, string, suspension bridge cable, arch, hawser, wire or the like.

The current version is creating a catenary line using the catenary formula y = cosh(x) = (e^x + e^-x)/2 and numeric analysis that results in a good enough curve for many purposes. The program does not take into account the tension of an elastic catenary, sag, weight and so on. Support for this can be added based on user requests.

A parabola is different from a catenary. The catenary is the solution to a differential equation that describes a shape that directs the force of its own weight along its own curve, so that, if hanging, it is pulled into that shape, and, if standing upright, it can support itself. The parabola does not have the same property.

Catenary described according to Wikipedia:

In physics and geometry, the catenary is the curve that an idealized hanging chain or cable assumes under its own weight when supported only at its ends. The curve has a U-like shape, superficially similar in appearance to a parabola (though mathematically quite different). It also appears in the design of certain types of arches and as a cross section of the catenoid -- the shape assumed by a soap film bounded by two parallel circular rings.
The catenary is also called the "alysoid", "chainette", or, particularly in the material sciences, "funicular".
Mathematically, the catenary curve is the graph of the hyperbolic cosine function. The surface of revolution of the catenary curve, the catenoid, is a minimal surface, and is the only minimal surface of revolution other than the plane. The mathematical properties of the catenary curve were first studied by Robert Hooke in the 1670s, and its equation was derived by Leibniz, Huygens and Johann Bernoulli in 1691.
Catenaries and related curves appear in architecture and engineering, in the design of bridges and arches. A sufficiently heavy anchor chain will form a catenary curve.
Most suspension bridge cables like the Golden Gate Bridge follow a parabolic, not a catenary curve, due to the weight of the roadway being much greater than that of the cable.

JTBCatenary is available as an AutoCAD app on the Plug-ins tab.



Trial version available for download: JTBCatenaryTrial.VLX

JTB Catenary trial is available as an AutoCAD app on Autodesk Exchange Apps.

Limitation of trial is that the length is fixed to 10 meters. When purchased it can be used without restrictions.

If purchase has been done via Autodesk Exchange Apps the download is available on the Autodesk Exchange Apps My Downloads page. Sign in with the same account used when purchasing.

Customers can contact us directly for access to download the full version.

System requirements

AutoCAD 2000 or later or verticals based on AutoCAD where AutoCAD 2016 is the most recent version supported.

All verticals or flavors based on AutoCAD should be working like AutoCAD Architecture (ACA), Architectural Desktop (ADT), AutoCAD Civil 3D, AutoCAD Electrical , AutoCAD Map 3D, AutoCAD Mechanical, AutoCAD MEP (AMEP, ABS), AutoCAD P&ID, AutoCAD Plant 3D.

BricsCAD 10 and newer can be supported upon request.

Compatible with those operating systems AutoCAD runs on like Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.
Older Windows versions might also work but are not directly supported.


30 USD for one license or less depending on the amount of licenses.

Secure Online Payments and Credit Card Processing by BlueSnap

When your purchase is completed you will get an email with a link to the download.

If you have really many users that you want to give access to this software we can discuss a discounted price based on your particular situation. Educational discounts available.

The license is perpetual and support is included. If you have more than one computer and you are the only user of the application one license is enough.

Available payment methods: Credit card (Visa, Master Card, American Express, Discover, Diners Club, JCB, Carte Bleue), PayPal, Local Bank Transfer, Wire Transfer, Bankgiro, Real-time Bank Transfer, Electronic Check (ECP), Skrill (Moneybookers), WebMoney and Alipay (PaySafeCard, Ukash, cashU, Boleto Bancario, Boleto Bancario can be made available upon request) Refund policy.



Easiest is to use the AutoCAD app installer that also puts a button on the Plug-Ins Ribbon tab.

Download JTBCatenaryTrial.VLX or the full version JTBCatenary.VLX and put it in any folder of your choice.


Appload command can be used to load the VLX. To make sure it is loaded automatically click on Startup Suite Contents button and add it.

acaddoc.lsp can also be used.


The command to start the program is JTBCatenary (JC for short).

The program prompts are:
Start point:
End point:
Length <10000>:
Diameter <0.0>:

Note that the length must be longer than the distance between the start and end points.

The resulting catenary will be created in the current drawing (DWG or DXF) as a polyline with the width being the same as the diameter.

Revision History

  • 2015-03-20 - version 1.0 update
    • Added support to AutoCADĀ® 2016 (No change in version number)
      Digital signing of vlx and installer added
  • 2014-04-03 - version 1.0
    • Updated installer for the Autodesk App version to support AutoCAD 2015 and verticals.
  • 2013-10-17 - version 1.0
    • Trial made available as AutoCAD app on Autodesk Exchange Apps
  • 2012-11-05 - version 1.0
    • First public release

If you want other features added like tension, 3D, Catenary curve through three points or support for other CAD programs like Autodesk Revit, BricsCAD, ZWCAD+ or other DWG editors feel free to contact us with your wishes.

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