What Is Tube and Pipe Feature in Autodesk Inventor?
Autodesk Inventor has a tool or feature of tube and pipe. Tube and pipe have a sub-feature of 3d sketch conversion to tube and pipe of various styles, sizes (JIS, DIN, ASME, ISO… etc), material properties and other related properties of each spec in an editable manner. Although one can model 3d piping of each standard in any 3d cad software manually, for that one needs all necessary information related to each style dimensions and other properties of fittings, pipes, elbow, tee and other related parts of piping. Autodesk inventor has solved this problem using tube and pipe feature, providing ease of 3d modeling, greater flexibility, related piping style and other engineering information.
Why Industries Need this Feature?
- Different types of industries and their needs
There are several types of industries producing a different type of products across the globe. Each industry has its own specific needs of piping depending upon product, safety, environmental concern and many other engineering and non-engineering contributing factors. This tool is very useful in the design of process equipment, tube bundle for various types of heat exchangers, machine piping, automobile piping and many other applications. For instance; airplane piping standard is far away from piping used in automobiles.
- Different engineering approach and style
Another important thing is; own style of engineering and thinking of each country. Sometimes on a same industrial process, the different piping standard can be applied successfully. Sometimes institutes of one country developed their own standards to facilitate their needs and ease of fabrication.
Necessary Things; while Creating Sketch
To create a 3d sketch for 3d piping, following conditions should be satisfied. Lines should be tangents or at the right angle. The proper constraint should be applied at all sections of 3d lines in drawing in inventor part(ipt). Length of each line segment should be selected according to rule and fitting dimension of each standard style and its related sizes. Fittings should find proper bend radius, reasonable length should be available at corners.
How to Draw a Sketch for Piping
Sketch can be drawn in two ways.
- Separate inventor part(.ipt)
Open new part in inventor(ipt). Go to 3d sketch tab, select line, draw line according to your requirement only in x, y or z-direction at the right angle. Line segment length should be chosen according to your pipe size, standard style, and process design. You should apply constraints manually or automatically, activate automatic tab and recheck again after drawing. Click the finish sketch tab. Save the file and open new assembly part in inventor and insert as a part (.ipt) file in assembly and proceed according to the given procedure. Creating a part in an assembly(.iam)
- Open new assembly file in inventor.
Create new part(ipt) in assembly(iam) file.Draw sketch as mentioned above, finish the sketch, save the file and return to assembly mode. Now you can proceed for piping.
Steps for Conversion
After drawing and completing 3d sketch, proceed in following way.
- Creating a new run
Go to the environment tab, tube and pipe while you are in assembly mode. Click on tube and pipe tab, a new page will open, give the name for new tube and pipe run, select the location for the file where you want to save it.
- Inserting a new route
Now in the next step, insert new route, a small page will prompt, give the name for a new route, will ask for the location, save the file.
- Activation of the desired style
Now click on “tube and pipe styles or spec ” tab, a page will open with many styles option, click on anyone that you want, right click on it and click activate, the desired style will be activated.
- Changing Style’s dimensions and related properties
Now again right click on the selected standard style and click edit, now change size, inner, outer diameter, the material of construction and schedule no. You can also change fitting type and related properties.
- Changing fitting size and properties
Click on the selected elbow in the upper box a page will open, click on browse, a further list will open with a lot of option for each component. Here you can select any one that you want.
- Changing rule for implementing standard piping
Rule values are selected automatically, but these can also be changed. To change these values, click on rule tab to change the rule for sketch population. Choose appropriate values according to your selected standard and pipe dimension, if one not works and prompt error change again these values, it will work.
- Deriving route
Save your changes and proceed to the next step. In the next consecutive step click on the derived route and select the sketch, right click on the sketch and click done. Route points should be generated as shown in picture otherwise pipe routing will not be performed. Click on finish routing, populate route will be highlighted.
- Populating route
Click on populating rout tab, route population will start across your sketch. Populated standard related details will appear at right side’s window. Populating route, the sketch will be converted to selected standard style
Changing Existing Style to another Standard Style
One style can be changed to another, by going through these steps. Click back tab in the upper corner, create the new route with a different name say route 03. Choose different style as explained above, follow all steps carefully. Derive route for the same 3d sketch, rout points will not change as we are not changing sketch. Populate the route, it will prompt for all routes you have inserted. Select new one, route 03 and enter, it will populate pipe for a new style, in this way we can populate for another one.
Most Frequent Errors
Minimum length violation is most frequent error occurred while converting a 3d sketch to a pipe. These errors can be divided into two parts.
- Sketch related issues
when constraints are not applied properly to the sketch, one or all line segments are not at a right angle or incompatible line segment length for a selected size and style.
- Wrong rule selection of a style
Rules of a given standard style are not applied properly according to the dimension of fittings and parts. sufficient length is not available at corners, for the fittings (elbow, tee… etc) at the corner or bend of line segments for the population. In the figure below error, the prompt is shown, the same error prompt appears for all these causes.