Softdrill NL Space Out
Space Out is a utility program that will calculate the optimum selection from a given pipe inventory to approach a desired total length as close as possible. The program is available for download in two version.
The first option is a windows installer that can be run to install the program on a computer. This will create a menu entry, desktop short-cut and a file association (to open the program by double-clicking a .soc file). The other option is to download the program as a zip file. From this zip file the program and provided sample files may be extracted to any folder. This is ideal if you do not have (administrator) access to install the program or just want to run the program from a USB stick.
The main screen
The layout and functioning of the program is quite straight forward. It works independent of units of measurement, so it can be used to calculate space out requirements in feet or in meters, as long as all input is consistently in the same unit.
The main screen consists three areas (click on image to the right to view an enlargement):
- Information and Comments
1. Information and Comments
The Information and Comments section is for informational purposes only. It is included on the printed report for identification of the calculation only. The Comments field is a so-called memo field and will accept multiple lines of input. This is useful to further describe the calculation model and assumptions made (e.g. how the target length was derived).
The Inventory contains the available pipes and their lengths. Only the Label and Length fields must be provided. The Ignore field is a utility field to temporarily omit a pipe from the calculation. This can be useful to calculate options if a selection of space out pups is available. If an optimum selection was calculated with two of four available pup joints, the calculation can then be repeated whilst omitting (ignoring) these two pup joints to see if there is an alternative selection possible, in case the pup joints become damaged whilst running in hole.
Important to know that changes to an Inventory row are not immediately committed. The changes to a row are committed by either moving the cursor to another row or by using the checkmark √ on the data navigator at the bottom of the grid. Note that committing writes the data to the calculation in memory only. Use File / Save or File / Save As… to write the data to disk.
The functions of the navigator buttons are (left to right): move to first (top) row, move to previous row, move to next row, move to last (bottom) row, insert a new row, append a new row, delete row, commit changes, and cancel changes.
The data in the grid can also be sorted by clicking on one of the header cells.
If a pipe inventory is already available in another program, there is usually no need to re-enter all the data. From the other program, a list of labels and lengths, separated by tab characters can be copied to the Windows clipboard and then pasted into the Space Out Inventory (right-click on the Inventory grid and select Paste… from the pop-up menu. Selecting two columns (label and length) from an Excel spreadsheet will copy the data in the correct format. If the data is available in an other format (e.g. a text file separated by comma’s), it can be quickly converted by first importing or pasting it in Excel.
Once an inventory has been input, enter the target length for the calculation and click one of the Calculate buttons.
The program will calculate a number of pipe selections that approach the entered target length as close as possible. Duplicate results (i.e. the same selection, not the same total length) are removed, so different calculations may yield a different number of result sets.
It is important to understand that achieving the desired target length, or getting as close as possible, largely depends on the number of pipes (excess) in the Inventory and the variation in lengths. If the total length of pipe in the Inventory is not much longer than the target length, there will be limited possibilities to exchange pipes in the selection in order to get closer to the desired length. For the same reason a good variance in lengths will improve the chance of finding a selection that has the target length.
Each selection found also states the number of joints. It is up to the user to determine the best selection, balancing number of joints to use against the difference with the target length. Select a row in the top grid to display that selection in the bottom grid. The bottom grid can be right-clicked to copy that selection, which may than be pasted into another program (e.g. Excel). This is not only useful for using the selection in your own tally sheet but also for double-checking the total length (should this be required).
Using the print option in the tool bar or in the main menu, a report of all calculated selections may be printed. The checkbox on the right of each selection’s header will be checked if the selection length is exactly the target length.
From the Preview Window, clicking the Print button will open the Printer Setting Dialog. Here a printer may be selected but at the bottom the checkbox may be checked to print to a PDF file instead. Click the … button to select where the PDF file should be stored and with which name. Useful for emailing the results…