Spools, Additional Info, and what else? Read more

Spools, Additional Info, and what else?

Okay, it’s no surprise to many that I like the English.dic file in CADWorx. I’ve wrote about about it SEVERAL times already, but I’m tackling a bit more this time, kinda.

CADWorx, out of the box, is great software, but just like anything else we do, sometimes it being closer to perfect lacks just one little things here or there. This is the focus of this little article. Recently, on the CADWorx forums at Coade’s website (http://www.coade.com/support_discussion.asp) there have been a few posts about people needing more. There are those out there that have the technical know-how to write applications to bring functionality to a software, David Wolfe is one of those (http://davewolfe.spaces.live.com), this guy is amazing with what he’s done with CADWorx. On the other hand, there are guys that have limited time and resources and need something quickly, and “factory”. That’s where some of these changes come in.

Let’s look at some examples of where Joe User can take 5 minutes and have a software that can take him 1 step further to getting the info he needs out the door, in an easier manner.

This write up is going to be modifying the English.dic file again, but this time we are going to focus on one field in particular and tweaking it to mean something for us. The TAG field of components. Now, this field is used in a LOT of places, so we really need to think through the change, and verify it’s impact on the software!

***WARNING*** Modifications to the English.dic file changes the appearance of dialog boxes and commands. ALWAYS save a backup of this file. The TAG field is used in many places, so the changes you make MAY NOT be correct for all cases.

The first case, is one of spools. Let’s say that you want to assign spool number to a great deal of fittings, and then want to be able to annotate that information to the drawing, similar to a line number. The software has a provision in the ISOGEN section to give a component a spool number, but that information is only housed and used when using ISOGEN.

Let’s turn to the english.dic file to tweak this. There are 2 lines that need to be changed in the file, open the file in your favorite text editor and search for:


#0072=Short Long Tag||Annotation type [Short/Long/Tag]

I’ve replaced these to read:

T0003=Spool ID (TAG)

#0072=Shot Long Spool||Annotation type [Short/Long/Spool]

This change make my dialog look like this, notice the former Tag Field:

It also changed the annotation routine somewhat. When you go to Plant>Text>Annotate>Component, your prompt will now appear like this:

Makes dropping text onto the screen REAL quick. Additionally, you can use the Global Component Edit tool in CADWorx to “bulk add” spool numbers to entire runs of pipe with just a few clicks.

Let’s look at another example, that of additional data or notes needed for a particular component. This could be anything from the quick callout to a standard note on bolt hole alignment on flanges.

Take the same 2 lines, and change them to this:


#0072=Short Long Tag||Annotation type [Short/Long/Tag]


T0003=Additional Information (TAG)

#0072=Shot Long Additional information||Annotation type [Short/Long/Additional information]

Your dialogs and prompts will now look like:

and note, that your spec editor also updates with this change:

This let’s you put notes in, either on an individual component, or a family of them from the spec. You can also use these on your BOM, like this, note the name of the TAG field in the setup dialog box:

Since the TAG field is exportable to the ISOGEN BOM as well, through Component Attribute 3 in the MLD file, this information can also travel out to your ISOGEN built BOM.

So there is a few examples of “other” things you can do, what ideas have YOU got? Let me know!

As always, if you have any questions, PLEASE don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. You can email me, IM me, heck, CALL me if you want, I’ll do everything in my power to help!


Updating The Switchboard Interface With CADWorx P&ID Read more

Updating The Switchboard Interface With CADWorx P&ID

If you are running CADWorx P&ID, then chances are you have added or removed fields from the database. This is a great way to really get the information that we need into the drawing, into the database, and more importantly, into the hands of the people that really need the info.

Let’s setup a scenario. You’ve added a few Columns to the valve table, and you’ve updated the database.tbl file to make sure that the columns you’ve added show up in the additional data section of the Component Edit Dialog Box.

The only problem that we have from this point, is when using the ICES database interface, those fields don’t show up just because we’ve added them into the database and into P&ID.

Let me stop here, I’ve made an assumption that you know about adding database columns into the project AFTER you’ve created the project, if this is NOT the case PLEASE let me know. Shoot me an email, or message me somehow and I will be GLAD to help you out with that as well.

Now, back to the database, there are a couple of things we need to do to get our information into the ICES switchboard, none of which are difficult.

First, we need to find the querry that gathers the information into the switchboard, you can see here where we’ve added in the column VENDOR_ for the Valve Table

And Here is the Query we need to take a look at:

We’ll open this in Design View and add in a query. Out of the box, it will look like this:

Now that it’s in the query, we have one more step, and that is tweaking the header of the query to show up in the dialog box in the ICES Switchboard. We’ll modify the first line to look like this:

This in turn, will give us the following when we take a look at the switchboard:

Notice the Vendor tag at the bottom, ready for you, or a member of your team to populate the data.

Not hard, but another situation where we need to know the right steps to get accomplished what we need.

Again, if you have any questions PLEASE feel free to contact me.


Nozzles in CADWorx Plant Pro to ISOGEN Read more

Nozzles in CADWorx Plant Pro to ISOGEN

Nozzles in ISOGEN

A small trick, that some might not know about getting Nozzle information into ISOGEN. Sometimes, we run into those pieces of equipment that just don’t fit the mold for what our Equipment module can do for us, or we get packaged equipment from a vendor with a good enough model to use in ours. That happens. This doesn’t mean however that we can’t get the equipment and nozzle info into ISOGEN.

If you have to use something other than CADWorx Equipment to make your equipment, make sure to use Long Weldneck (LWN) flanges for the nozzles. Once you’ve inserted the LWN in, do a component edit, and goto the TAG field. Type in your equipment name and nozzle number there. Isogen will then recognize what you are trying to do and make it into a nozzle for you on your ISO’s.

Field Welds in ISOGEN from CADWorx Plant Pro Read more

Field Welds in ISOGEN from CADWorx Plant Pro

So, you use CADWorx Plant Pro, and you use the ISOGEN interface and you have to show field welds. This is easy, really, for ISOGEN it’s too easy!

Once you place your weld in your Model, do a CEDIT on the weld that you want to be a field weld, and change it’s BOM Item type to MISC. ISOGEN will do the rest and call it out. When ISOGEN runs, you’ll get a leader and the text FFW next to that weld.

If you want to change the text, this is located in your ISOGEN alternative text file, switch # -221.


Keeping Holes in Steel in CADWorx after you stretch it. Read more

Keeping Holes in Steel in CADWorx after you stretch it.

If you are running Plant Pro, or Steel Pro, we’ve worked up a little workaround for that around here.

First, go to Plant, Setup, Layers and add a new layer called Frozen Steel. Make is a color that is truely obnoxious so that it stands out.Next, rather than doing the standard “subtract” command in AutoCAD to make your holes, draw a profile of the hole you want to make, and make it a solid using CADWorx Steel, Plate. Do a COPE to get the hole in the steel. If you have multiple holes, array the solid, then cope. Now, turn the cutting profiles(this is your plate solid) to the “Frozen Steel” layer and turn that layer off. Having the layer turned off means that the objects are still “active” even though they are off. This means that when you stretch, the objects still react to the steel member and retain the hole.

CADWorx has a setting called Auto Cope in Steel, here’s the definition from the help file:

“This command allows the user to set automatic coping on or off. When the system is on and two members are coped, they will remain coped even if one of the member is changed. They will automatically re-cope to the shape of the new member.”

By using steel to “cope” the holes into the member rather than a subtract, you can make use of this to keep the holes when you have to stretch a member.

Let me know if it works for you

Theres a short video I made of this on my SkyDrive. Feel free to download and if you have any questions just let me know!


Working With CADWorx Plant Datafiles Read more

Working With CADWorx Plant Datafiles

As you can probably see, I like to dig into the roots of a software to tweak it for whatever purpose I can. This little post is going to talk for a second about working with Datafiles in the different CADWorx packages.

CADWorx Plant

The Datafiles in CADWorx Plant all follow different structures, so you need to pay close attention to these files. When you do a spec edit, you’ll notice that each component has a specific Program Code. This Program Code tells the software what “kind” of fitting you are about to place. For each program code there is a specific datafile template that goes with it. The structure is very specific for each fitting. There are templates available for all of these. http://www.coade.com/cadworx/examplefiles.exe this link from COADE will give you GREAT info including drawings to show how all of these templates are used.

The real power in these files is taking them someplace they were never really intended to go. We’ve made some basic Turbine Meters using the Flanged Pipe component, and even made a tapped bleed ring using a reducing Tee. You can bend these quite a bit, as long as you stay within the structure of the data file.

CADWorx Equipment

Some people aren’t aware that there are datafiles in CADWorx Equipment, well, there are. For the Nozzles there are a couple. We’ve been toying with these, and have even tweaked one to better represent the RTJ nozzles in the software to show the Taper on the back of the face, similar to a standard RFWN. Not difficult, just need to pay attention to a couple of details.

CADWorx Steel

This is the program that I’ve really had fun with. I’ve tweaked quite a few of these files to do some pretty good things for Joe User. Some of these files have been my most requested files. I’ve take the Flat Bar and turned it into a Lumber file. Good for building a deck for your house, or framing a pump foundation. I’ve made some Bar Grate, Checkered Floor Plate, and Plywood files from the Plate files. They don’t show any different, but come BOM time, they can make all the difference in the world. I also did a batch of Sonotube file our of the Pipe files. Again, anytime we did a project, we had to BUY Sonotube, so why in the world would we not want that in a BOM to order from. These were easy to tweak. All we needed was a little front end data to enter in. Again, these files follow a pretty structured format, but in that structure, we still have flexibility. If anybody wants any of these files, just let me know, and I’d be happy to send them out. I’ve emailed them out hundreds of times, and would be happy to keep doing so.

Lastly, in doing a lot of the datafile manipulation, I’ve found that a program called TotalEdit to be a dream come true. As most of you may know, the CADWorx Datafiles are nothing more than .txt files. TotalEdit is a text editor, that is a LOT more powerful than Notepad. It doesn’t cost anything, and can be downloaded here : http://www.codertools.com/totaledit.aspx This little program has saved my life, and offer some great tools like the ability to highlight a column of text, similar to excel, you can open multiple files at once and tab them, or even open them side by side for comparison. If you are going to be modifying data files, you need to take the time to download this and run it.

If you have any questions or comments, or if there is anything I can do to help, please let me know.



Using a Database in COADE CADWorx Plant Read more

Using a Database in COADE CADWorx Plant

I wanted to talk today about another underutilized tool in CADWorx Plant (and Pro). The Database. Now, some of us have had run-ins with other software that made the database a less than pleasant experience. This doesn’t have to be one of those times. I’m going to talk about a few places where I’ve used the database, and ask you guys to do let us know how you use it.

Database for a spec

OK, don’t get excited, really! This call came in yesterday, a client has a model that was given to them by a contract designer. He used his specs, and now those specs aren’t available to the end user. The model they have looks great, but as we all know, it’s going to change. These guys are left with the unenviable task of building specs that they don’t have, to match a model that they do. To do this, we’ll use a database. Now this isn’t the 1 button “save all” button to fix our problems, but by doing a 1 time data “dump” to an access database, we can get a headstart on the process. To do the one time dump, we’ll go to Plant>Accessory>Database>Export. Select the database type, and name it. This will give you the information you need to build a spec based off what is already in the model. The information exported to a database not only includes short and long descriptions, it also shows the datafile used to create the component. This is HUGE to determine if it was an out of the box file, or one that was created.

Database to Rebuild a model

This one looks really cool, and has some big implications. Once you export to a database, or the case of plant pro, use a live database, you can import that into a new drawing to rebuild all of the piping. Imagine a drawing corruption, if you have a database of the model, you can pull the pipe into a new clean drawing.

Database to change Descriptions

This one has happened to us all. We “finish” up a model, and start turning in drawings and someone doesn’t like the descriptions that we used. An easy way to clean up an entire model in a hurry is with a live database. In the database, use the filter tools in access to align up the descriptions, then use find/replace to bulk change descriptions. Save and close the database, then sync your drawing back up to it.

These are just some of the things we’ve toyed around with. We’ve also done semi-realtime material drags from the database to see where things stand during various stages of the project. With the amount of data that is available, the possibilities are HUGE!

Let me know how you are using database, and as always, if you have any questions, please let me know!


Your Title Blocks in COADE CADWorx Plant (and P&ID) Read more

Your Title Blocks in COADE CADWorx Plant (and P&ID)

Today, I’m going to stay in CADWorx Plant, this little trick also applies to CADWorx P&ID. In the setup dialog box, there is a button labeled Border. Now, most of us don’t use this, frankly, because we are using our own border, not one that is already shipped, and selecting the User Border option, just takes us out to browse, no different than an insert command would. So wouldn’t it be nice, if our borders were listed in the predefined, just like all those cool borders from COADE? It’s easier than you think.

The first step is to go into your support directory, on a factory install, this is C:/CADWorx Plant 2008/Support, yours might differ. Once you are in the folder, look for a file named:


This file can be opened in your favorite text editor, mine is TotalEdit, but NotePad works just as well.

Once opened, the section that we are interested in looks like this:

36×24 (ANSI-D) ECAD,_Ecadbdr1.dwg,in
11×8.5 (ANSI-A),_ansi_a.dwg,in
8.5×11 (ANSI-V),_ansi_v.dwg,in
11×17 (ANSI-B),_ansi_b.dwg,in
11×17 (ANSI-B) Iso,_ansi_bi.dwg,in
17×22 (ANSI-C),_ansi_c.dwg,in
34×22 (ANSI-D),_ansi_d.dwg,in
34×22 (ANSI-D) Vessel,_ansi_dv.dwg,in
34×22 (ANSI-D) Tank,_ansi_dt.dwg,in
44×34 (ANSI-E),_ansi_e.dwg,in
;36×24 Generic,_gen_d.dwg,in
;36×24 Generic no att.,_genna_d.dwg,in
;210×297 (ISO-A4),_iso_a4.dwg,mm
;420×297 (ISO-A3),_iso_a3.dwg,mm
;420×297 (ISO-A3) Iso,_iso_a3i.dwg,mm
;594×420 (ISO-A2),_iso_a2.dwg,mm
;841×594 (ISO-A1),_iso_a1.dwg,mm
;841×594 (ISO-A1) Vessel,_iso_a1v.dwg,mm
;841×594 (ISO-A1) Tank,_iso_a1t.dwg,mm
;1189×841 (ISO-A0),_iso_a0.dwg,mm

You can see here that I’ve already gone ahead and made a few changes to mine, to give you an idea. Each line item is broke out into 3 sections, each separated by a comma.

The first section is the name as you want it to appear in the dialog box, ie:

36×24 ECAD Vessel Fab Border

The second section is the drawing name itself, ie:


The third section is the units that it inserts as, IN or MM.

These, again, are separated by commas, withOUT a space after them. You can also comment out borders, by adding a semicolon in front of the description, the border is still there, but is just not visible.

The last step you will need to do, is to copy your border into the SUPPORT directory. This is important, for CADWorx to find the file.

You now get to have the borders you want and NEED available to you, right there from within the software.

Hope this helps, and as always, let me know if there are any questions.

CADWorx Plant and Steel Center of Gravity Read more

CADWorx Plant and Steel Center of Gravity

CADWorx Plant has a great way to find the Center of Gravity (COG) of a spool, and CADWorx Steel has a great way to find the COG for steel and steel assemblies, but you can’t REALLY run a combined COG for both. There is a way around this though, and it’s not that hard.

The way that I go about this is to run a SCG (Steel Center of Gravity). Be sure to insert in the marker, and save the report out. Now, take a look at your model, and locate the COG Marker that was placed. Once you’ve found it, do a generic attach to that marker. Plug in the weight from the report and description of the skid. then do a Plant COG (Center of Gravity) on the rest of the model, including the SCOG marker. Now, on things like equipment and pumps, you will need to locate their COG and place a node there, and again, generic attach with the weight. This will give a COG report for the entire assembly.

One other perk to this, is on the BOM, you will get the skid and any other generic attached items, like pumps, vessels etc. as a line item, but they won’t interfere or try and pull into an ISO IN/OUT or ISOGEN pull.

If you have any questions, please do NOT hesitate to get in touch with us!

How I Start A Vessel in PV Elite Read more

How I Start A Vessel in PV Elite

Okay, so here’s the deal. When I first got my copy of PV Elite from COADE, and started learning, I had designers disease. I wanted something ON SCREEN right away. Had to see what the picture looked like, with no regard to setting anything up. Well, that was fun, I had my picture, but then I had to set things up, a little after the fact…

So, I started to work on that, and came up with a few things that I do either before I start the design, or maybe a little ways into the design that help things out.

Pick your Code
Okay, so first off, before you get crazy clicking on components, make sure that you have the right code selected. This isn’t a HUGE deal, but it’s nice to start out using Div 2 if you are doing a Div 2 vessel.

Select your Units
This one get’s me every time, and I don’t know why. PV Elite has several pre-defined unit styles, USE THEM. I get people calling me that they can’t calculate a 2″ straight flange on a vessel because it’s asking for length in feet, CHANGE YOUR UNITS! It’s not tricky, but people still miss it.

Design Constraints
This is a tab at the bottom, and should be one of your FIRST stops if not your first. This is VITAL information that needs to be reviewed and setup. You can pre-select certain values, for instance the Pressures and Temp’s right here, so that as you are putting the right info in, more on this in a minute. This is also where you are going to set your datum line, or in Kyle’s vocab, the strike line. Vessels don’t get built by measuring off the ground, quit designing them that way.

First Component
There is some debate, at least with one of my clients about this. I’m going to talk for just a second about this being a vertical vessel. Nothing fancy, just a straight up, 2 heads, a shell, and a skirt kind of vessel. He has always designed the vessel, then added the skirt, well, so be it. Your first component is whatever you want. PV Elite will let you insert components after the fact, really. It’s called the insert button. Great name for it. Build your vessel, then come back, and insert in what you need.

Fill In Some Data
Once you’ve put your first component, take the time to fill out a few things. The first, and biggest being, THE NAME! Name your components, this isn’t vital, but it sure makes life easier when you are reading over your reports. Next up, fill in the sizes and materials. PV Elite populates up. Meaning that the information you provide in the first setup, will be directly pushed to the next component you place. Taking a few seconds to set the information on the first component will save you lots of time when you start having to change them ALL! I tend to treat that first component like I was running CodeCalc. Take the time to set it up right, and you will save yourself a few minutes in the long run.

This is pretty much the start of my vessel, from here, it get’s fun. You actually start BUILDING the thing.

Hope this gives you a little food for thought, and take a few extra minutes to explore the software, and find the ways for you to get faster and more efficient.