Free Hydraulics Calculations Program CAD2HCP by Alan Ashfield


Introduction to CAD2HCP - 20th March 2017 :-

CAD2HCP is a completely free 2D CAD to Hydraulics Calculations Program for the latest NFPA 13/15 and FM GLOBAL Rules in metric units for use by sprinkler designers, contractors and installers worldwide except in America and Myanmar (who still use imperial units). You can use CAD2HCP on end- or centre-fed pipe layouts, looped, gridded, roof-only or roof-rack (if not the more modern ESFR), Light, Ordinary or Extra hazard classifications fire sprinkler systems to Demand / Source, with velocity pressure included. Full technical support is offered by Email (my address is on the top line) - just put CAD2HCP in the "Subject" line - please scroll down this page for more detailed help and information on all its features and options.

Now you can continue to use your existing Computer Aided Design (CAD) program, either the excellent free LIBRECAD, low-cost purchases like TurboCAD or subscription based ones to produce the sprinkler layout drawing for the project in EXACTLY the same way as you have always done and mark on a few text items, specifically to indicate any vertical or sloping pipes and some job data / design parameters. Simply give this file name (DXF not any proprietary formats) to CAD2HCP, which will instantly turn it into a 3D isometric layout where you just select the sprinkler heads in the hydraulically most remotest design area to do all the flow / pressure / velocity calculations in just a few mouse clicks and produce the familiar results presentation, for printing or to PDF.

That's all! No more duplicating all the details already drawn in CAD onto a separate expensive, hydraulics program and spending hours (or days!) typing in the same information as you have just drawn, adjusting the pipe sizes, areas, design data etc. and then remembering to pass any different details back to the layout drawing. All the information needed for the sprinkler layout drawing AND the essential hydraulics is therefore always in only one place - the 2D CAD drawing. If any changes are necessary, then amend the drawing and those few notes accordingly and run CAD2HCP again to get the hydraulic calculations repeated. You don't even have to print them out, as CAD2HCP is completely FREE then you can Email the DXF file to your Reviewers, Assessors or Inspectors, who simply download CAD2HCP for themselves and will obviously get exactly the same results. Think how much easier all this is going to be for all your future jobs!

You can DOWNLOAD THE LATEST VERSION OF MY FREE CAD2HCP PROGRAM [03.08.17 = 844 kB added ME code and pipework / fittings quantities MTO list] now by clicking here and "Saving" it to a suitable folder on your hard disk, such as C:\AA3PROGS or C:\cad2hcp. Once saved, please hover your mouse over its line in "File Explorer" (or right click on it, choose 'Properties', then 'Details') to check that the EXE size is as quoted and my name is given, just for confirmation of the correct download and can then create a shortcut on the desktop or pin it to the taskbar. Remember, all my programs are produced using Delphi Pascal so never need actually installing - you simply copy the single EXE file to as many computers you have at home, in the office, branches, on-site as required and use it for your projects for nothing, forever.

Sequence of operation of CAD2HCP :-

The following screen shots show how you run CAD2HCP with your 2D CAD layout drawing all done in LibreCAD or similar :-


Choose "Open" in the program to select the file name to see the 3D isometric :-


Just click on the heads at the end of the required branch lines to immediately do all the full hydraulic calculations with the flow rates shown, with the most remotest head in green :-


One more click will show part of the RESULTS (use the 'arrow' keys to see the rest) :-


and one more click will PRINT to PDF or inkjet/laser printer if needed, or you can get other views of your system with helpful text information and there is a complete manual for reference inside the program (no internet connection needed) as you are obviously reading this webpage on-line. Here I have selected to view the pipe pressures and right clicked to zoom in - what could be easier?


Items needed on your CAD drawing :-

  1. Units of measurement to be in millimetres (mm) in any quadrant of X and Y co-ordinates
  2. All pipes, circles and text (as described later) must be on the same layer number or name as given in an text item called !LAYER, eg. !LAYER SPIPES
  3. All other items (building, walls, partitions, doors, fixtures and fittings, electric lights or cable trays etc, heating and ventilation equipment like ducts and pipes, notes, details or everything else not related to the fire sprinkler hydraulics) will have to be drawn on one or more other layers and so will be completely ignored by CAD2HCP
  4. All sprinkler heads to be drawn at a set radius if operating or not on the layer as above as CIRCLE entities with one text item called !HEAD, eg. !HEAD 100
  5. All pipes running horizontally or at slopes less than 60 degrees up or down to be drawn separately on this layer as LINES (not 3Dlines or polylines) in any colour, width etc from the appropriate start X and Y co-ordinates nearest the source out to the end X and Y co-ordinates, where the sprinkler head or rise/drop circles may be
  6. All pipes running vertically or at slopes over 60 degrees up or down to be drawn separately on this same layer as CIRCLE entities in any colour, thickness etc at the correct X and Y co-ordinates with the radius confirmed once as !RISEDROP, eg. !RISEDROP 50 - can be coincident if rising through floors or at control valves
  7. Sprinkler heads will be pendent type if the pipe(s) (LINES) to/from them joins in the middle or upright type if the pipe(s) to/from them ends at the circumference ie. the normal drawing convention. They can, of course, be on up or downwards 'candles'
  8. The program therefore uses these start and end points to join the pipes together and work out where the heads are along with the routing to / from the source
  9. Each pipe line or risedrop circle needs a pipe size in the range of 25 to 250mm to be given as a TEXT entity (on the !layer but any orientation, colour, font etc) at or near the centre for horizontal pipes (eg. 50) or alongside the circle for vertical pipes with a plus symbol if up at a dimension given in mm (eg. 65+500) or minus sign if down with the change of elevation in mm (eg. 25-764). You can also give a compass angle in degrees and pipe slope if this is the rise pipe to a branch line (eg. 40+600@270~84 which means a 40mm pipe rising 0.6m going west at 84 to vertical) so that the remainder of the branch lines will be at 6 degrees unless specifically changed
  10. As CAD2HCP is based on my successful FREESHP program, it uses the same Job Data questions Q1 to Q35 as listed in the 'HELP' within this program which are given as !TEXT items (eg. !Q1 Name of project, !Q2 Address, !Q10 Density in mm/min etc). I have added 3 more: the most common pipe type (eg. !Q39 S40), standard head "K" factor (eg. !Q40 80) and minimum flow per head in L/min (eg. !Q41 60)
  11. There are several 2-letter codes to go with the size (and vertical dimensions) text on the pipes to cope with all the hydraulic analysis calculations :-
  12. PT - pipe type if different from the most common specified in !Q39, eg. PTHWS
  13. PC - Hazen-Williams "C" factor if different from the standard eg. PC110
  14. FT - fitting type as in the NFPA/FM Rules eg. FTGV for gate valve, as most elbow / tee positions are found automatically
  15. OK - orifice plate or partially closed valves "K" factor eg. OK120
  16. AE - added equivalent length in m of any unusual valves / equipment eg. AE7.5
  17. AL - added length of pipe in m if not drawn to scale and to be included in the pipe quantities (AE is not) eg. AL50
  18. SD - pipe slope in degrees if not zero, + if end is above start or - if end is below start and if no size.vert.compass.angle given (as in 9) eg. SD1.7 or SD-6
  19. HK - head "K" factor at the end of pipe if different from the default !Q40 value, eg. HK143
  20. HF - head minimum flow in L/min (based on pressure) if different from the default !Q41 value eg. HF234
  21. HA - area in sq.m covered per head if different from the default eg. HA8.5
  22. There are some additional 2-letter codes (called SN and EN) used for multiple vertical pipes and looped / gridded layouts with ME for multiple level pipework systems as you obviously cannot draw pipes, one on top of each other, in plan view. Again, these are described in the many CAD2HCP 'HELP' screens.
  23. These 2-letter codes can be in UPPER or lower case and run together, with or without spaces but after the pipe size eg. 100ptMpc110 ft AV would be OK
  24. Therefore all text items in the middle of horizontal pipes or adjacent to risedrop circles (well within 150mm) must start with a number 1 to 9 (yes I know no sizes start with 7!) so all other text will be ignored, even if on the sprinkler pipes layer
  25. Each pipe (drawn as a LINE or risedrop CIRCLE) will have one line of text (even if just the size) and you will not be able to do the hydraulic calculations if any are missing
  26. So I am really only asking for a few extra items to be added to your CAD layout drawing as I presume you include the pipe sizes anyway and just how many vertical risedrop pipes are there on a typical drawing?

Other information about CAD2HCP :-

a) I provide 6 DEMONSTRATION EXAMPLES within CAD2HCP that you can view in your chosen CAD program to see how these various options are applied on real life schemes. You can elect to draw the whole sprinkler layout (whether the heads are operating or not) as DEMOS 1 and 3, or just the 20 to 50 or more heads in the most hydraulically remotest area (as DEMO 2).

b) The main point to remember is that pipes have to drawn as LINE entities between heads and other cross- and feed-mains, exactly as you do for traditional hydraulics programs, as each has a specific flow rate, friction loss, velocity etc. You cannot just draw 1 line as a main and connect the branch lines along it - they have to be individual pipes (lines) between the heads and branch lines, each with one text item, even if just the size in mm. These text items will not affect the readability of the drawing in any way by other members of your design team or on-site.

c) You can enter the LINES, CIRCLES and TEXT entities in any order you choose, their relative positions / directions is all that matters. So you can draw out one branch-line, then the next, then one on another main using the copy, mirror, delete, break, add to etc. commands in the CAD program, with or without the text items that can be added later or as you go. If you prefer to draw out the grid of heads first, then connect them up and then the distribution pipes, you can continue to do so - it just doesn't matter so long as you don't miss any out!

d) If the layout drawing changes, then just amend the lines, circles and text to suit in the CAD program in the normal way and overwrite the DXF file and rerun CAD2HCP as it never stores the pipe data nor results anywhere so there is nothing else that needs to be erased or redone - the drawing IS the hydraulic calculations project file. There are NO facilities in CAD2HCP to edit or change the drawing, only you can do that in the CAD program.

e) Naturally, there are a number of informative error or warning messages if the data you enter does not fit together properly - again described on the actual message and referenced under 'HELP'.

f) I therefore suggest you download my latest FREE program and try out the 6 demo jobs BEFORE trying to add the text items as described above to one of your current project CAD drawings. In fact, it makes more sense to initially prepare a completely NEW drawing of just a few heads / branch lines / mains (say 3 ranges of 4 heads like in ESFR schemes) and practise adding the notes, using CAD2HCP, doing the hydraulic calculations etc, before you apply it on on a live job in the Design Office this afternoon! A useful short-cut is to initially miss out the !Q1 to !Q41 job data lines and concentrate on getting the 3D drawing right, then click on 1 head to do the calculations and 'Results' to make a note of the incorrect design parameters. Go back to the CAD program to add them back in, run CAD2HCP again and you will have finished!

g) If your CAD program normally saves the drawing in its own proprietary format, please remember to choose "Save As" or similar, when ready, to get a simple AutoCAD 11 or 12, text-based DXF file (a useful "back-up" copy) that CAD2HCP needs and you can even look at them with NotePAD or similar if you want, and amend them too if needed.

h) CAD2HCP has been developed entirely in "Windows" 10 (with 100-200% scaling factors) but will function in all versions back to XP but really needs a 4K or HD monitor (or 2), ie. a normal CAD workstation as well as 200 GBP 13" laptops with 1366x768 screens. Decimal points can be given as . or , as you normally use.

i) Even if you decide that this gets too involved for gridded, roof/rack or 10 storey office blocks, then you just carry on with your existing hydraulics program, hopefully one of my other FREE ones. It will only take 10 minutes of your time to evaluate CAD2HCP and might save you hours / days doing these essential and detailed calculations.

j) Although I have started with the most popular latest NFPA 13 / 15 "Installation of Sprinkler Systems" and matching FM GLOBAL documents, it will be very easy to produce versions for the EN12845, CEA 4001, BS9251, DBI, AS2118, CP52, NFPA 750 etc. rules as I have already produced stand-alone hydraulics programs for them - just state your specific requirements in an Email and I will see if I can oblige.

k) My process will therefore be most cost-effective for BS9251 Residential / Domestic systems which only have 1 to 4 heads actually operating, and seldom more than 30 pipes on one to three levels so making the recently available, expensive, combined 3DCAD/Hydraulics software difficult to justify.

l) This is all FREE with my compliments - it won't cost you anything for CAD2HCP or any other of my hydraulics programs detailed on this website and shows my continuing commitment to developing the latest and innovative types of specialist software in this field. No doubt you have realised by now that other suppliers just want you to keep with the same old programs, year after year, and they never produce additional software as they have locked you into using the original one by imposing yearly subscription fees.

m) Some existing stand-alone hydraulics programs don't even put the CAD layout drawing as a background to the pipework layout so you end up looking at a blank, white screen trying to reconstruct your sprinkler layout drawing without even being able to see it! Yes, perhaps CAD2HCP also makes some of my current programs superfluous but they only cost you 0 GBP/EUR/USD/KPW, didn't they?

n) I could go on and on about the options and facilities in CAD2HCP (in my usual inimitable way - look at some of my other webpages here!) and I don't need to describe how to actually use CAD2HCP. It has all been simplified to just choosing your DXF file, selecting the plan, elevation or isometric view and which text label to show on the pipes / heads and permitting you to click on one or more heads to do the "sums" then the 'Results', 'Print', 'Save to JPG' or 'Zero heads' buttons as needed with the multi-page 'Help' on the right hand top - I really cannot make it any easier to use as you do all the complicated work in producing the 2D CAD drawing.

o) You can add your name / address to the 'Results' presentation when first running CAD2HCP and the top line of the screen will be in RED if you haven't chosen enough heads as you click them on / off or right-click to zoom in / out. You can select First time user in 'HELP' for additional prompts that describe the various features in more detail.

p) You can even use CAD2HCP to select more heads than the design area requires to see how much spare capacity there is in the fire pumps or to simululate fires breaking out in different parts of the building or different design area shapes, square, long and thin, circular, individual heads in a corner etc.

q) This program has already been tested on a wide range of CAD drawings by my many BETA-TESTERS in various countries but I can't show you their jobs because of confidentiality agreements. Anyway, a big THANK YOU for their help as they know who they are!

r) I trust I have described how CAD2HCP is a viable, zero-cost alternative to your current task of using two separate programs, from different CAD / hydraulics suppliers, for the SAME project and a most effective integration of 3DCAD and hydraulic calculations without investing in Building Information Management (BIM / REVIT) software as you simply carry on with what you do at present, albeit just adding a few extra lines of text.

s) If the following screen shots from my other demonstration examples are not as clear as you would prefer, it will be as quick to download the program and run through them yourself, full size on your monitor and spend a useful 10 minutes evaluating my latest program. You can also view the 2D DXF drawings in your existing CAD program, remembering to zoom-in, zoom-all, zoom-extents or zoom-auto to see the whole scheme. If not suitable for you, your company or your projects, just delete it and it will be gone as I do not ask for any registration, Email addresses, licence agreements, payment details or any personal information whatsoever - you remain anonymous.

The other 5 demonstration examples are :-


Thank you for reading about CAD2HCP - I hope you can find the time to download / evaluate it for your future projects ...