To create a 3D Model, first you have to create concenptual 2D Pipe Routing. Generaly one pipe line is drawn on one layer. This helps in segragating pipe lines. 3D Model package offers tools to create different layers as per line number through a dialog box. 3D Model Program also offers facility draw on that line number (3D Model Program sets the line number as current layer). In a concenptual 2D drawing, all the pipe lines are drawn at z cordinate 0. Pipe center line elevations are marked on each horizontal pipe line. This gives idea about layout in plan view.
2D drawing can be converted in 3D Pipe Routing, by lifting the horizontal pipe lines to the elevations of the center line of that pipe line. This can be done by move command. If the centerline elevation is 5000 mm, select the line, select any point as first point and indicate second point as @0,0,5000. In plan view no change will be visible, but it will be visible in 3D isometric view. To see the effect, through view pull down menu, select 3D view and then SW Isometric (or any one of the 4 options). In 3D view, the horizontal pipe lines will be seen at different Z co-ordinates. These can be joined by vertical lines by joining end point of top horizontal pipe line to end point of bottom horizontal pipe line. When one line routing in 3D is completed, the text indicating centerline elevation is erased and line can be frozen, to avoid confusion.
Most CAD Packages are prepared in such a manner that these can be easily customized. 4 Programs of OpenPipe are such customized programs. The 3D Piping Model program is based on LISP / VBA programs and around 3000 symbols or blocks are created (with insulation) as and when required and then inserted. The pipe line is cut in that portion. Since blocks are created when required, there is a lot of saving of Disk space. The different piping entities can be arranged on different layers. This is a menu driven program. Special Dialogue Boxes are created to make the The 3D Piping Model program more user friendly.
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