Importing IDF/PCF Files

Getting Started with Installation drawings and the Import of IDF Files:

Whether you decide to draw Isos in Installation, or to import the IDF files, you will want to set the breakpoints, and select the spools to be transferred to Fabrication drawings. Installation drawings use the same specs as the Fabrication drawings. This means that there will be no material errors when the spool sections are transferred to Fabrication Drawings. Installation Drawings will allow for the weld mapping the Field Welds, and Fabrication Drawings will weld map the Shop Welds. Spool Drawings can be edited in Fabrication if need be.

Installation Drawings and .idf Files (3D Model files):

The purpose of the installation drawings is to draw larger Isometrics which can then be broken into fabrication drawings automatically. The installation drawings will be used to price the installation (field) labour and Fabrication drawings will price the shop labour. Installation drawings will use the same specs. as Fabrication drawings. Installation drawings allow for the import of the 3D model files produced by many Engineering companies into the Installation folder and then add breakpoints and details, etc. This eliminates the need for drawing and reduces checking time before breaking into fabrication drawings again. Importing the files only requires cleaning up the drawing by moving dimensions, item tags, change some images if needed, change the drawing scale, change north arrow orientation if needed, add notes or details then save the drawings. All clean up is done when importing without having to use any third party software and most drawings can be cleaned up in about 10-15 minutes. We assume that most installation drawings will be made on 11x17 size paper then fabrication drawings will be on legal size.

Importing IDF Files:

Before importing any files you MUST create pipe specs to match the specs in all the files you will be importing and they MUST have the correct materials and wall thicknesses, for all sizes of pipe and fittings on those drawings. All materials and wall thicknesses on imported drawings will be imported from the pipe spec as this is the only way to make the codes match the Acorn Pipe data. Flange/Fitting ratings will match the ratings in the idf files as they are imported, flange ratings/face and fitting ratings do not use the pipe spec. From the installation drawing screen under the 'File' menu there will be a menu item for 'Import idf file'. Next, browse to the folder holding the files, select the file you want, then it will be imported. Many drawings can then be scaled up, using the 'Tools' menu then check the attachment images, adjust dimension locations, etc. before saving the drawing from the 'File' - 'Save As' menu. A shortcut keystroke of Ctrl+I can be used to automatically select and import the next file from that folder. If the imported drawing has lines crossing over each other you can use the Set/North Arrow to a different direction and import it into a better configuration. You need to keep track of drawings you have imported since if they are imported again and saved they will count down from the key again. Many users move files they have imported, into a different folder, to keep track of those already imported.

Re-sizing drawings:

Under the menu items, 'Tools' - 'Scale drawing', you have the option of enlarging (or shrinking) the drawing to fill the page. The keystroke shortcut of 'Ctr+A' will then allow you to select everything on the drawing and use the keyboard to move the drawing to where you need it. Press enter to redraw the pipe and fittings in the new location.


Since the program cannot know where you want to place dimensions, the user will need to click on the outer ends of dimension lines, then place them where you need them. If a dimension is near or over a pipe you may need to Zoom Window to a section of the drawing to enable you to click on the dimension line and move it before zooming out again.

Item Tags:

To move item tags use the F9 key, which displays a new cursor. Use this new cursor to select and drag item tags to new locations. There will be a circle on the item for the tag you have selected, so you know which item belongs to which item tag.

Image Orientation:

To rotate an image use the F11 key to display a new cursor. This cursor will allow you to select one image at a time by clicking on the item tag. Tap the spacebar to rotate the image while it stays in the same direction. If you need to change the image direction press the Q or W to rotate the image through all normal directions. Once an image has been corrected click the tag again to unselect it. Then select a new item or press ESC to exit from this select mode.

Changing Item images:

As much as possible the program tries to put the correct image for attachments and inline accessories. If the image selected is not the one you want, you can draw another item with the correct image, then Select the item you want to change, and Press 'T' and the new fitting image will replace the one you have selected.
You can then use the 'Tools' - 'Change Quantity' to then click on the Item tag and set this new image to be used for all future incidents of this item. The AcornPipe user can also substitute a Standard Detail for any image, if the detail has been made into an item. However these 'standard details' cannot be set for future imports as Std details don't have any direction choices to let the program select, for the correct image for other imports. The Change Quantity option can also be used to set the correct dia-Inch for its weld and the weight for any item. (Control - Q and click on the item tag to select the item) Then make these this choice the default for future imports.
Normally you would be changing attachments to different types of attachments, as the program cannot know what the various images should be, and will use the small shoe image as a default. You may be changing the small shoe image to be a large shoe image, or on vertical lines you may want to just show a structural support. The structural dummy legs can be used to show any steel supports, and can be drawn without a weld. When using structural dummy legs, the direction of the leg is selected with the right mouse key first, then when the image appears, rotate the image with the right mouse before left clicking to accept the image as displayed onscreen. This option also allows for 'No Image' if you only need an item tag for an item such as support beams, which are not going to be fabricated. The image could also be changed to be a pipe clamp. As you do more imports, there should be less clean-up to do on each new drawing.

Break Points:

In the Tools Menu there is an option to Add/Remove Breakpoints which allows you to click on any weld to designate a spool break at that point. With your completed Installation drawing displayed, use the 'Tools' menu, then select "Add/remove breakpoints". Use the new cursor displayed, to click on the welds in the drawing where you want the breaks to appear, resave the drawing. AcornPipe will always assume a break-point for a spool section at Flanges. If the weld you click on, is between a Pipe and Fitting you will have the option of adding Trim to the pipe at that location. Trim will be added only when the drawing is split into spools, and the amount of trim is set in the Job/Spec setup under Installation drawings. If trim is added at a break, the pipe will be given a plain end at that location, and the installation labour will count a Field Cut and Field Weld for that point.


If the drawings you import are not broken in the locations you want them to be broken, it is possible to Copy a section or all of one drawing, then load another drawing and click in open space and choose Paste. Then, if an open end of the Copied section will match the open end of the current drawing, the copy will be pasted onto that end.
The 3D co-ordinates of the ends must match to have them connect. You can return to the original drawing and delete the copied section if you want. If you are copying and pasting drawings together, you may want to scale down drawings before you start, or this can be done after they are combined.

Break into Spools:

The drawing must be saved or re-saved after you make any changes, before it can be broken into Spools. The 'File/Break into Spools' option will display a box onscreen with the preliminary number of spools it thinks you want to break into.
Click on the first one, and that section should be highlighted in the drawing onscreen, to display the pipe and fittings in this spool piece. If you click on one of the spools it will select all items to be included in that spool together with any notes or details it plans to include. To change the items and details which go with a spool use the F11 (select items) or the F12 (select/notes/details) to choose items or details to be included with that spool. Details or notes can be included with more than one spool if you want.
The default spool numbers used when breaking up the Isometric, use the Iso control number plus an A, B, C, etc. and will remove the first character of the control number which is normally a zero. The order of the spools can be changed before breaking them, by moving them up or down to change the order. Spools are saved one at a time, and you have the option of editing any of the fields in the 'Save-As' screen, or adding extra drawing information. You may not want to break all items into spools, and any items not included in spools will be considered field items.

Save the Spools to Fabrication:

After you choose 'File' - 'Split into Spools', AcornPipe will display the list of spools, resulting from setting the breakpoints. AcornPipe will assign a letter to the end of each spool. The first character of the Installation drawing number is dropped and a letter is added.
With the spool section highlighted, click on 'Save Spool' in that same display box, and the program will copy the spool section to the 'Fabrication Drawings' section of AcornPipe. Select each spool section in this manner and choose 'save spool' from the top of the box to save each one. As you save them, the spools are copied to the Fabrication section of AcornPipe.
This will save the control number of the spool it has gone to with each item and move the spool into the Fabrication Drawings directory. Then, the program user can open the Fabrication drawings section, and open these spools and work with them there. As you exit the installation drawing after saving spools, you will be asked to re-save the drawing.

Fabrication drawings:

If you have installation drawings on 11x17 size drawings and the spools are going to be displayed on legal size paper in Fabrication, you will need to move each spool to centre it on the drawing page. Under Tools/Scale drawing you have the option of enlarging (or shrinking) the drawing to fill the page. The keystroke combination of Control+A will then allow you to select everything on the drawing and use the keyboard to move the drawing, then press the Enter key to reposition it.
If you exit the Installation drawings and go to Fabrication drawings after breaking an Isometric, the last few spools will be on the Recent list and can be quickly loaded and moved, or re-sized, etc.


When importing .idf files the program will count off 1 drawing for every 4 items imported, up to a maximum of 9 counts. The count isn't made until you save the finished drawing after the clean up. So a drawing with just 4 items is in effect free as the count is the same as normal drawing. For large complicated drawings the cost could be a maximum of $6.75 if you are buying 5,000 drawings at a time when you would be receiving 60% more, or 8,000.