1. Concepts
      1. What is meant by "spec" and "spec-driven?"
      2. What is a piping "branch table?"
      3. Are the sample specs approved for my project?
      4. What catalogs are used with the sample and custom specs?
    2. Functionality
      1. How to get started with PipeDraft?
      2. Where to find download for PipeDraft PE?
      3. Where to find downloaded .rbz extension file?
      4. Where to find detailed fitting information?
      5. How to switch nominal diameter in Tool Palette?
      6. Where to find weldolets in palette?
      7. How to use custom high-poly fittings?
      8. How to generate piping isometric drawings?
      9. How to share and view PCF files in 3D?
    3. Performance
      1. How to keep SKP smaller and SketchUp faster?
      2. Why are default components low-poly eight sided?
      3. What are the hardware and software requirements?
    4. Access & Privacy
      1. Why keep native web browser up-to-date?
      2. What native web browser settings are required?
      3. How to sign-in to the PipeDraft tool palette?
      4. How to remotely access the Internet and the Cloud?
      5. Can I use a subscription from many computers?
      6. Do you comply with GDPR privacy requirements?
      7. Do you store my password?
      8. Do you store my personal information?
      9. How to sign-up without OpenID?
      10. How to sign-in after Server Error?


I'm not sure what is meant by "spec" and "spec-driven", what do these terms mean and how do they relate to pipe drafting?

Typically, a pipe "specification" (spec) is developed by an engineer to specify the allowable materials and industry standards to be followed to meet the temperature & pressure ratings for a given fluid chemistry to be conveyed by a pipe line. A pipe spec could be viewed as a high level summary of the industry standard materials and components that may be used for the given service across a range of nominal pipe diameters. Specs are usually given a short tag name for easy reference, for example "CS300" is a common name used for a Carbon Steel class 300 rated pipe specification. For additional examples, the PIP organization has published sample specs for a wide range of services. PipeDraft is considered "spec-driven" because a spec is used to automatically select (or filter) the most appropriate component from a wide catalog of choices during the design process. In other words, the design implementation is driven by the spec.

In one of the video tutorials the narrator mentioned something called a "branch table". What is a branch table and what is it used for?

A branch table specifies the preferred connection type that should be used when making a branch connection to another pipe line. For example, it may specify that a tee fitting should be used when connecting a 3 inch NPS branch to a 3 inch NPS main pipe line, or it may specify that a weldolet should be used when connecting a 1/2 inch NPS branch to a 3 inch NPS main pipe line. In PipeDraft, pipe specs are linked with branch tables such that the preferred spec-approved branch connection is made automatically when a pipe route ends at another pipe. For an example of a branch table, the ASTM organization has published several branch tables for a range of piping materials and connection types.

I'm using PipeDraft to create pipe lines for my project. Are the pipe specs approved for my project type?

The sample pipe specs included with PipeDraft are only examples. They may or may not meet the needs for your unique situation. You should consult a qualified engineer to determine what should be specified for your project. If you have approved pipe specs that you want to use on your project with PipeDraft, we can host them for you in our Cloud service under a PipeDraft Enterprise Edition account.

How many components are available in the catalogs? What catalogs are included with the sample and/or custom pipe specifications?

The quantity of piping components we have available in the catalogs numbers in the tens of thousands, and if we include all the material variations the quantity expands into the hundreds of thousands. It's difficult to state a definitive quantity because the visible quantity varies by subscription level and we frequently add new components. All components are dimensioned according to industry standards and manufacturer data sheets. These include: ANSI (ASME) B16.5, B16.9, B16.10, B16.11, B16.20, B16.36, B16.48, B36.10M, ASTM B88, MSS SP-97, Apollo, Armstrong, Bonney Forge, Cameron, Crane, Ladish, Love Controls, Nibco, Mueller, OMB, Spirax Sarco, Spears, Taylor Forge, Vogt, Watts, and many others. The automated specification selection process uniquely determines which catalog components are visible in the PipeDraft palette at any given time. Since the specs and the catalogs are hosted in the Cloud, paid subscribers have access to diverse content on-demand without manually downloading anything -- or even thinking about it!


I've never used SketchUp or PipeDraft before, how do I get started?

If you've never used SketchUp, first download and install it. Learn how to use SketchUp until you are comfortable with the tools. Next, sign-up for PipeDraft and download the RBZ extension from your profile page. Launch SketchUp and install the extension. Launch PipeDraft from the SketchUp Extensions (or Plugins) toolbar menu. Learn how to use PipeDraft piping tools. If you need access to more pipe specs you can subscribe to PipeDraft PE (Professional Edition) from your profile page.

I use the PipeDraft Student Edition (SE) and I would like to upgrade to the Professional Edition (PE) to access more specs and sizes, but I can't find the download to PE.

All three editions of PipeDraft (SE, PE, EE) use a single extension download, the only difference is the Cloud service subscription. Use your web browser to sign-in to your PipeDraft account profile and purchase the PE subscription. The next time you launch PipeDraft you will have access to the specs provided with the PE subscription.

I downloaded the PipeDraft RBZ extension file, but when I try to install it SketchUp can not find it. Where is it located?

The extension (or plug-in) file is located exactly where you downloaded it. Unfortunately, some browsers force the file to have a ZIP extension instead of RBZ, rendering it invisible to SketchUp. Open the directory where you downloaded the extension, rename the file extension type from "zip" to "rbz". Open SketchUp and install it using the usual procedures.

Where can I find detailed information for a specific PipeDraft component that I've placed in my model? I know if I select the component in SketchUp the nominal diameter and spec is displayed in the PipeDraft palette properties grid, but I need more information so I can place an order for the item from a pipe fitting supplier.

After you have selected the component, right click it to display the SketchUp context menu, then > PipeDraft Options > Show Info. A pop-up window will display the detailed component information per it's selection through the piping specification.

After routing some 3 inch piping and inserting a 3x2 inch reducer, I want to start routing some 2 inch piping, but the palette properties grid has the nominal diameter grayed-out. How can I change it to 2 inch without creating a new pipe?

Select the owning pipe Group, either by re-selecting it in the model, or by selecting it in the SketchUp Outliner window. When the palette properties grid is refreshed the nominal diameter will no longer be grayed-out and can be changed to a different diameter.

I need to insert a weldolet instead of a tee in my pipe line. Where can I find weldolets?

Open the "Tees & Branches" component drawer in the PipeDraft tool palette. If the current spec size allows for the use of weldolets, they will be available along with other branch connections, such as tees and crosses.

I have a project that requires the use of high-poly detailed pipe fittings rather than the default low-poly shapes that are bundled with PipeDraft. Can I make my own pipe fittings and use them with PipeDraft?

Yes, we can host your unique pipe fitting library in our Cloud service and link them with the piping catalogs so they can be used directly within PipeDraft. It requires provisioning an Enterprise Edition account and a subscription to PipeDraft EE.

I modeled my 3D piping in SketchUp using PipeDraft, now I need to generate piping construction isometrics complete with dimensions and a tagged detailed bill of materials. How can I render my pipelines as 2D isometric drawings?

Using your paid subscription to PipeDraft, select a pipeline, context-click it, then > PipeDraft Options > Request PCF. Import the PCF file into your favorite 3rd party isometric-generation program to automatically generate 2D drawings in the DXF format.

I used my PipeDraft paid subscription to generate PCF files of my pipelines. Now I would like to share my PCF files with my construction team. Can you recommend an easy to use browser-based internet viewer that can display the pipelines in 3D?

We have a PCF file viewer currently under development. Visit the PCF Viewer 3D home page and subscribe to our preview release notices for more information.


Do you have any suggestions to help keep my model file size small and easy to work with in SketchUp?

The SketchUp Sage has several outstanding recommendations to help keep your SketchUp models small and responsive.

Why are PipeDraft's default circular shaped piping components made-up of only eight sided cross sections? Wouldn't they look a lot better if they were made of 24 sided shapes -- just like SketchUp's default setting when creating and extruding circles?

Most of our customers use PipeDraft to create models composed of hundreds of pipe fittings. By minimizing the number of faces used to represent each item the model file size is also minimized, which promotes a more responsive SketchUp model. For example, our default buttweld elbow is created with an eight sided circle swept along a four sided 90 degree arc. This creates an elbow comprised of 34 faces. If we had used a 24 sided circle swept along a twelve sided arc, the elbow would be comprised of 578 faces -- a 1700% increase! So, a model that had 300 high-poly elbows would have over 160,000 more faces than the low-poly version. All those extra faces would need to be rendered (or at least considered) every time you changed your view point. And that's just for an elbow, not to mention all the other fittings. Such a large model file would look very nice, but it would be very sluggish and difficult to work with given current desktop computer constraints.

What hardware and software is required to run PipeDraft?

PipeDraft is a software extension to SketchUp and requires the most recent version or two of SketchUp and an active Internet connection. See the SketchUp requirements documentation for more information.

Access & Privacy

I don't use my native web browser so why is it important to keep it up-to-date?

If you don't use the web browser that came with your system (OS X Safari or Windows Internet Explorer IE and/or Edge) it's still important to keep it up-to-date. Many SketchUp plug-ins and extensions (including PipeDraft) use something called a "webdialog" provided by the SketchUp API for a graphical user interface and is built upon your system's native browser. So, even if you don't use the native browser yourself, SketchUp does – so it's important to keep it up-to-date. See the SketchUp API documentation for more webdialog information.

What native web browser option settings are required?

Typically, if you haven't made any adjustments to your native browser (OS X Safari or Windows Internet Explorer IE and/or Edge) since newly purchasing your computer you should be ready to run. If you have made adjustments or encounter an error similar to "Object does not support this action" then be sure your native browser is configured to accept cookies and that Javascript is enabled. If your native browser is Internet Explorer (IE) or Edge then enable the option "Run ActiveX controls and plug-ins" too.

How do I sign-in to the PipeDraft tool palette inside of SketchUp?

After you have installed the PipeDraft extension and launched it, the PipeDraft palette will open inside of SketchUp and display a small sign-in form. Click the form's "Email" field and enter the same email address you originally used to sign-up to PipeDraft, then click the "Sign In" button. Open a web browser outside of SketchUp on the same computer and visit your profile page and sign-in, or refresh your profile page if you are already signed-in. After the PipeDraft palette recognizes that you are actively signed-in to your profile page outside of SketchUp, the palette will display the PipeDraft tools inside of SketchUp.

Sometimes I need to travel while using PipeDraft on my laptop, which makes a live Internet connection difficult to establish. Are there any options to remotely access the Cloud while on the road and away from home?

We don't endorse any specific solution, but there are several good options available for staying connected to the Cloud. For example; Verizon has a wireless USB Modem that provides access to their 4G network, AT&T has a wireless Mobile Hotspot that provides access to their network from multiple devices, and the wikiHow website has an article that shows how to access the Internet through a cell phone from a laptop computer.

Can I use my paid subscription from multiple computers?

Your paid subscription to PE or EE can be accessed from multiple computers. For example, if you have PipeDraft installed on a home computer, a portable laptop, and a work computer, you (and you alone) can access your paid subscription from any of those computers. Paid subscriptions are linked to the email address you use when you sign-in and can not be used by other people, but you can use it yourself from any location.

Do you comply with the GDPR privacy requirements when I use your service?

The short answer is Yes, we comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) when you visit, sign-up, and sign-in to use our service. However, if you are familiar with the regulation then you know the full answer is more involved. Compliance is an on-going journey, whereby the privacy regulations are continually integrated with our business processes, our supply chain, and reviewed to ensure that our approach to compliance continues to be dependable, repeatable, managed, and controlled. Visit our Privacy Policy for more information.

Do you store my password when I sign-in to PipeDraft through my OpenID provider?

If you use an OpenID provider (such as Google, Yahoo, Aol, etc.) to sign-in to PipeDraft we don't store your password, and in fact we don't have access to it. That's the beauty of using OpenID for authentication. For more information visit the OpenID Foundation.

What personal information do you store in my PipeDraft account profile?

We store your email address as a way to identify your account and synchronize it with your OpenID provider. We store your name (or nickname), your profile creation date, your PipeDraft license type, when it expires, and what catalog and specification bundles you have chosen to use, if any. The information we access and process for all payment transactions (including the use of PayPal) is limited only to what is necessary to perform the transaction. We do not access, assign, collect, store, or share any of your private sensitive personal information. See our Privacy Policy for more information.

I'd like to sign-up and sign-in to use PipeDraft, but my email account provider is not a member of the OpenID Foundation. Are there other options?

The simplest option is to create a new email account with one of the many providers that participate in the OpenID initiative. Another option is the 'Create Password Account' choice when you first sign-up -- this account will be used only to access PipeDraft based on your existing email address.

Sometimes when I try to sign-in I get a blank page or an error page that says, "Server Error - The server encountered an error and could not complete your request. If the problem persists, please report your problem and mention this error message and the query that caused it." How can I sign-in now?

The PipeDraft Cloud service runs on the global Google Cloud Platform, and most of the time the service is more reliable than any other service available, but occasionally an error like this occurs. Simply try to sign-in again, usually the second time is the charm.