Estimating Based on IDF or PCF Files


Generate material reports, weld reports, and more, on multiple imported IDF & PCF files at once.

Estimating Based on PCF files

If you are bidding a job, and PCF files are available, you can use SpoolFab to do most of the estimating work without expending a single drawing count. Here’s how it works:

1. Check the Local Settings for IDF/PCF Imports.

The above settings will show offset boxes only for slopes steeper than ¼ inch per foot, and will not import User Codes. Use these settings to begin with

If someone else is helping you with estimating or importing, have them use these same local settings.

2. If you have not done a similar job for this client before, set up a new client and a new job. Copy the PCF files into the Estimate folder of the new job. Note that the PCF files must be directly in the job’s Estimate folder, not in a subfolder of it. If your client has sent multiple batches of PCF files and you want to keep them separate, you may want to use the CTO utility to help organize them.

If necessary, switch to a different client and back again to make the Estimate command button appear:

After you press the Estimate button, a list of the PCF files appears:

Press List All to select all the files, then select File/Scan for Specs. The Estimate Status will be populated with each file’s required specs, and then you will get a message listing which specs still need to be set up. If all required specs are present, the message will be something like this:

If any specs are missing, close the Estimate window and select Edit, Job/Spec Setup. If you are new to this process you may want to start by just setting up the first spec, which in the example is 01CBS05.

3. Having set up at least the first spec, click List All, then click the button “Estimate listed files”:

If you are prompted for a layout to use for the estimate, it is suggested you choose 11x17-no-inspection, as this layout leaves more drawing space than most. Layouts can be found at SFClients\Data\Layouts. Any files using specs that are not available will first be unselected. Then the remaining files will be read and the resulting drawings briefly displayed. Note that this does not consume any drawing counts, because the drawings are not being saved.

4. Once all the selected files have been read, select File, Material Summary. The Material Summary contains only one line for each unique item and is therefore compact relative to the total number of items.

Check that the description assigned by SpoolFab is compatible with the description read from the IDF/PCF file and that the assigned material type is correct. If you find any errors, correct the spec and re-run the estimate.

If MS Excel is available, you can view a spreadsheet form of the material summary:

Note that even if user codes were read from the PCF file, they are not written to the job’s User Codes database at this stage.

At this point you may want to go back and prepare any remaining specs and estimate all the PCF files before continuing.

In addition to the Material Summary, you now have access to Material Search, Item Report, Weld Report and Weld Summary. There is also a Connection Report which shows how the various PCF files interconnect.

The weld report will include shop welds and field welds, but because the drawings have not been broken up into spools (fabrication drawings), some of the welds currently listed as shop welds will become field welds when the files are split into spools.