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idllc

CADDuct worth the Money?$

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idllc

Anyone out there use CADduct?

I'm interested in their product, but just can't get over the price (15,000$) especially when I cant test drive it for myself.....I've sat through one of thier sales demos, but at this price there is no way I but it without test driving it around the block ...

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tzframpton

I don't use CAD-Duct, but I do use a design to fabrication software for AutoCAD MEP. We have a coil-line duct fab shop here at my company and they can do it all. Before you make this decision you have to ask yourself a few questions first. Trust me, the sales demos look good, but I don't think people realize the time and effort involved.

 

1. How big is your company? If you're doing $40 million a year or more worth of business, then I can see the justification. If your company is smaller than that, you don't need it.

 

2. What are the biggest single jobs involving HVAC ductwork you do in dollar amount? If your company does big HVAC jobs ($500,000 and up) then it is worth it. Small jobs just doesn't account for the time involved. It would be a huge time waster.

 

3. Are you utilizing BIM at all, with weekly 3D spatial coordination meetings with the general contractor? If not, then its kind of a waste. All other major trades that are involved in the BIM process is kind of essential. If not, then you're spending an awful lot of time building a complete 3D model just for your own sake. Then you'll have to request shop drawings from steel, fire protection, electrical contractor, etc just to make sure your 3D model is coordinated with the other trades.

 

4. Submission of Shop Drawings. CAD-Duct and other programs alike don't really do a good job at creating clean and legible "shop drawings". So you'll wind up drawing twice - once for the fab shop and once for your shop drawing submittal.

 

Here's my take on the whole "design to fabrication" software. 1st and foremost, it take a LONG time to really get into all the details of the software and set up the parameters that meet the requirements of your fab shop. You have to read through the spec book and find exactly what the job requirements per SMACNA standards. With that information, and AFTER you have all your parameters and preferences set, you then start to layout the ductwork. You are literally rebuilding the entire job piece by piece in 3D. This takes a lot of effort to be this detailed, especially on jobs that are tight fits, or have extra ductwork (for instance, instead of a ducted supply system with plenum return, if you have a job with ducted supply, ducted return, and ducted exhaust, then you'll be out a month transitioning and coordinating each duct run). You honestly would have to hire a full time draftsman to learn the program in and out, and that's all he would do - create each job ready for fab, so he would need to know the ins and outs of the field and fab shop.

 

It's just more cost effective and much more time efficient to just hand in a written takeoff to the fab shop in most cases. What might take one person two full days to do a written takeoff on a $250,000 HVAC job would take the equivalent of probably up to 2-3 weeks of designing in CAD-Duct. It's just easier to write down "eight joints of 24x18 TDC with 1-1/2" liner" then it is to build it at the exact elevation in the 3D model. You have to think of your taps, your low pressure round, your adjustable elbows, transitions, flat on top/bottom, offsetting duct, any other special fittings, your flex, your duct connections, liner, your elevations, then to fully coordinate it all before it goes in. Too much trouble. It's better to just send a palette of 10" low pressure round duct and let the field put it in per shop drawings, coordinating up and over and around fire protection and sprinkler mains themselves. The field always gives you surprises that the drawings don't tell you. :wink:

 

You just have to be aware that out of all the questions above, if you answer yes to questions 1, 2, and 3, and if you're okay with hiring a full timer to pump out fab drawings to the shop and then create shop drawings separately, then go for it. For big HVAC mechanical subcontractors that runs a fab shop that does big single HVAC jobs, it can be worth it. If your company does NOT have an in house fab shop, then do not use any design to fabrication software. Ever. You're simply doing all the work for them, which is a huge amount of time for not a lot of "discount" through duct manufactures. Sorry for the long post, just thought I'd give you the in and out of how it works from an experienced user. Let me know if you have any other questions.

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idllc

Wow!, thanks for the info!

I am a one man show basically. I do sheet metal and piping as well as a little electrical. my big clients as far as sheet metal go have not gotten into the BIM world yet, but it is just a matter of time before they land a job that has BIM requirements. I ahve been involved in quite a few project that had BIM requirements, but I did only plumbing and hydronic piping. for these items I used MEP, which is pretty good for pipng to a point (at least in my opinion). I wish MEP were stronger with some of the bill of materials aspects and would really like to be able to do some iso type spool drawings but i dont think the tagging aspect of MEP will tag in an iso plane, if you know what i mean.........

Sheet metal with MEP however i have found is next to imposible to do actuall shop drawings. i have some great programs for 2D shops, but no 3D.......

CADDUCT and EastCoast have some great "looking" tools but for my budgets, they are a stretch$$$$ and you cant really test drive either one!!

what software do you guys use?

have you ever tried "Virtual Mechanical"? thier web site and software videos look great, but i have not gotten any replies back from them in weeks.....I dont know iif they are even in buisness anymore......

please exuse any spelling and or grammor...its late and my laptop's keyboard is jacked up!!!!

Thanks Again!

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tzframpton

We use QuickPen. Never tried Virtual Mechanical.

 

I can make really good shop drawings from the stock AutoCAD MEP program but it took a few years of fine tuning lots of things. 8)

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idllc

Well for example, with MEP, I cant do elbows with say a 8" long throat on one side and a 7" long elbow on the other side..... maybe there is somthing Im missing?

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tzframpton

Well, in my opinion, that's not important for "Shop Drawings". That level of detail is for fabrication.

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idllc

we do alot of design build projects. we try to incorp as much fab mentallity into the design from the get go. I love MEP's functionallty and such but just end up bagging my head when it comes to some things.......the piping side of things with MEP seems to have alot more common sense items.....i have not really spent the time with MEP on the sheet metal side of things yet either, so maybe I'm not giving it a fair shake?

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tzframpton

We do lots of design/build as well. Shop Drawings, to me personally, don't have to reflect to the millimeter of what's going on on the plan. It just needs to represent what's going on in enough detail for the other trades to provide coordination, and for takeoff purposes for the in house fab shop (or for a fab shop that is subbed for materials). From there, keyed and general notes, along with enlarged plan details and if needed, elevation/section details, and you're golden. ;-)

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idllc

I guess I just try to be more of a perfectionist (this gets me in trouble some times!), but I totally get what you are saying. There always seems to be somthing in the field that we miss or do not coordinate against. It seems though the more accurate the drawings, the fewer phone calls I get, but on the other hand as soon as the drawings miss somthing, some guys in the field seem to discredit all of them (smile!)

Im kinda new at this "forum" stuff, so again I greatly appriciate all your advise! have you ever done a set of shops in MEP? I would love to take a look at some if possible. Im always looking for other bench marks to kind of grade myself. Again, I really like MEP, but I have not taken the "leap" of trying to do a set of Sheet Metal shops with it yet. I really think it would be great though because if I had already done all the piping as well as plumbing in MEP, I could XREF those files into the sheet metal and MEP would automatically do it's "hide" stuff (MV objects I guess?), which is really neat to coordinate with. I have played with this a little.

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tzframpton

Sure, I'll PM you my email. Shoot me an email and that way it'll remind me to send you a previous job done in MEP, so you can see all the 3D BIM design, and in Paperspace you can see how I created the shop drawings right from the model.

 

As for your comment about being a perfectionist, trust me so am I, but then there's that fine line where you just need to get the Shop Drawings out the door. You never want to "miss" anything, but you don't need to be accurate to the point of insanity, either. :wink:

 

Here's what I do when I create my "coordinated" Shop Drawings. I take the Steel Plan, and the RCP plan, and I figure out where each W-Type beam and K-Type joist are located, bottom of structure. Then I figure out what all the ceiling heights are in each room from the RCP. This creates my physical space in between the ceiling and the structure. I then have my completed mechanical layout plotted, and I use a red pencil to mark my elevations then I transfer it to CAD. With those TOD/BOD elevations, I'll also redline any changes I might need from coordinating my ductwork. It's just easier to do on a plan than in CAD, because I can reference the structural and RCP plans easier than switching PDFs/TIFFs on my computer. That's how I coordinate my Shop Drawings. The mechanical is usually the first trade to dictate where everyone else is as far as coordination and elevation, so I make sure to be detailed as to where my medium pressure mains are going to be, complete with transitions and offsets up/down where needed. If it's a really tight fit, then I'll take the time to generally locate my low pressure runs. Depends on how tight of a fit it is and how large my duct is.

 

Hope this helps.

Edited by tzframpton
Removed email address

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daongochungbk

You should use Revit MEP.

I am using Revit to resolved my daily work.

It is very effective.

 

Video "MEP system - Modeling by Revit MEP & Walkthrough by Naviswork":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTLJj6vopiM

Video "Chiller Room - Modeling & Walkthrough by Revit MEP"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9tOHNTPRak

Video Tutorial Revit MEP 2010, Dao Ngoc Hung, ME Engineer. Download here

http://hvacr.vn/revit/clips/Duct%20Layout%20-%20Manually.flv

 

 

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wol_error.gifThis image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image. The original image is sized 1423x760.2.png

6.jpg

Edited by daongochungbk

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tzframpton

Nice work. :)

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Tiger

Daongochungbk - please stop editing your post, everytime you do it goes back to being moderated since it contains links.

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daongochungbk
Daongochungbk - please stop editing your post, everytime you do it goes back to being moderated since it contains links.

I'm sorry, because i'm new member. therefore, i', not know how to post my content.:D:lol:

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tzframpton
Daongochungbk - please stop editing your post, everytime you do it goes back to being moderated since it contains links.

So we cannot edit our own posts as it is an inconvenience to a Moderator? :unsure:

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designerstuart
So we cannot edit our own posts as it is an inconvenience to a Moderator? :unsure:

i think it only goes for moderation because they have less than 10 posts

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Tiger
I'm sorry, because i'm new member. therefore, i', not know how to post my content.:D:lol:

 

Post new posts without links and it should be fine. Or answer and/or ask questions til you get 10 posts and you are definatly in the clear.

 

So we cannot edit our own posts as it is an inconvenience to a Moderator? :unsure:

 

When I have to clear the same post four times then yes, stop editing your post.

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tzframpton

The poster was getting acquainted with the CADTutor forum tools. You act as if he was doing something wrong which he clearly wasn't. A private message would have been a more courteous approach in explaining to him what his actions were doing instead of a public accusation and demand to stop.

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Tiger

Daongochungbk - I apologise if I was harsher than necessary, my intention was to have your post visible to the public instead of awaiting moderation. As the How do I make a Post?-thread explains, while you have less than 10 posts you cannot post more than one link in a post.

 

StykFace - the PM system is not available for members with less than 10 posts.

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SLW210

What are the differences, if any, between MEP and AutoCAD Plant 3D or Bently AutoPlant? The company I work for wants me to put our entire facility into 3D and I have the task of finding the package to do this.

 

 

Nice work Daongochungbk!!

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