Thursday, 12 November 2015

Insert Fittings

Inserting fittings is a nice way of adding members without breaking the route and without needing to fix constraints and dimensions.

What I like to do when I have a quick layout to do or a proposal, for which we NEVER have enough time to make it proper, is to cheat and bend the rules as much possible and Tube and Pipe is no exception.

If you’ve finished the route and you ready to place fittings, it’s easier not to drop them in the line, or create nodes but to use the Insert Fitting command.

Once I’ve done my route and proved that it’s a viable solution and that the installers will have enough room to fit it I then turn to starting adding fittings. I am talking about adding fittings like valves, pressure gages, sample points, etc. These are not placed in automatically with the Populate Route command.

If the route is fully constrained and populated it’s a royal pain to add more fittings. Dropping them in your assembly will create new nodes in the route but this process will delete constraints and dimensions and you need to do that extra work to get it back to fully constrained. This is a fully constrained sketch route going crazy with a single place fitting command.

Route going crazy with single fitting placed.

                This is when Insert Fitting comes into place. Use the Place Fitting command to add your parts but before you click to place it right-click in the graphical area and choose Insert Fitting. This will allow you to insert it next to an already existing fitting or between two existing fittings.

Insert Fitting on right click menu.
                If I have a valve to place I find a close nearby elbow or any other populated fitting and I drop it in there, and I keep inserting next to it the rest of the fittings like pressure gages, sample points, etc. I am only interested to show what else will be on that line and to get the BOM quantity and price as close as possible.

                If the fitting to place is already available in the assembly then select it first and use the Place Fitting command. If not, just start the command which will let you browse for a part on disk. With the place fitting command active right click on the graphical window and choose Insert Fitting. You can press Spacebar to change connecting point on the fitting before finalizing the command. Move your mouse pointer next to an existing fitting, and watch how the arrows are displaying indicating your connection and when you are happy with the results click to finalize the insert.

Insert Fitting doesn't break the route.
 TIP: Sometimes you will not be able to place all fittings. No matter how much I try, I can’t place some fittings that have been imported from step or fittings located in library and not in content center. They work fine in T&P but inserting them is not available. What I do is place a fitting that works like a tee, union, coupling etc. first and then drop my valve on top of the tee to replace it. At this point you will also get the rotation dialog allowing you to orient it as needed.

TIP: Make sure that the segment where you are inserting is long enough so that inserting the fittings will not violate minimum length rule.

                If you deal with Butt Welded fittings you won’t need this but if you work with other type of connection like the Socket Weld like I do then there are some limitations. Once the fitting is inserted you need to right click it and choose edit fitting connection. In the dialog you will have two connections, one to the pipe and one to the existing fitting where you inserted yours. Edit the one to the fitting and choose custom distance and enter 0. The fittings by default will engage as per the authoring info which will overlap them.

The other issue is that the pipe will be trimmed to the furthermost fitting last inserted and so you will lose all those small segments in between them and if you need to do a cross section in you drawing it will appear as they are butt welded and the missing pipe segments will also give you less quantity in the BOM and Parts List. This is not a problem for me since we don’t do cut-to-length lists or material lists and it’s only general layouts for installers to follow.

                And this is it; nice and simple to speed up those designs. Would love to see what tricks do you use to speed your work up.