$1,627
pledged of $22,000pledged of $22,000 goal
9
backers
17days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Mon, December 31 2018 8:00 AM UTC +00:00.

Russell King, M.E.By Russell King, M.E.
First created
Russell King, M.E.By Russell King, M.E.
First created
$1,627
pledged of $22,000pledged of $22,000 goal
9
backers
17days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Mon, December 31 2018 8:00 AM UTC +00:00.

About

Background

The process of getting the information from architectural plans (take-offs) into load calculation or energy modeling software has changed very little in the last 30 years that I have been doing it: 1. measure the plans, 2. type it into the modeling software, 3. repeat, ad nauseam.  Some of the more expensive ($1000+) HVAC design software packages make it a little easier by allowing you to draw the home, room-by-room, in 2D and thereby doing some of the takeoffs automatically.  This was a big improvement (15 years ago), but if you can only see 2 out of 3 dimensions, how confident can you be in your model?  How well can you describe it to your clients?  To your installation crew?  Plus the duct layouts produced by these programs leave a lot to be desired.

There are some really amazing 3D CAD programs out there that can integrate with HVAC design and energy modeling software, but who has time to learn to use a complicated CAD program? Even if you did, who has time to draw a house in 3D?  There simply isn't the budget to spend that much time creating a model of a typical house.  The running joke is that it takes as long to draw a house in 3D CAD as it does to build one in real life.  Kwik Model is more like a modern video game than a CAD program.  No CAD skills required.  You build the 3D model out of 3D blocks rather than draw it.

Please watch the following short (6:33) video.  It demonstrates how Kwik Model can create a 3D model of a 1751 sqft, single story, ranch style home with complete take-offs in about 12 minutes.  It then creates a full 3D duct layout, to scale.  Both parts take less than 25 minutes total.  This is about 1/4 the time it typically takes to do this in 2D.  This video shows the entire process start to finish without any cuts or edits.  It plays at 4x speed, so pause it as needed (space bar) to read the written comments.  There is no audio except background music. 

My son, Connor, graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz last year with a degree in computer science and an emphasis in video game design and virtual reality.  After graduation, he lived at home with us while looking for a job.  In return for room and board, I asked him to create a mock up of some ideas I had for HVAC design tools.  He created a fantastic mock up in a couple hours.  I then asked him to make it do a few simple things.  He did that in a couple hours.  I kept asking him to add more and more features.  He did all that and more.  Pretty soon I realized that this was headed toward something really revolutionary, something that could change the industry.  I had to convince him to stop looking for a job and focus on this project.  This amazing software application is a product of my 30 years of experience and his amazing coding skills.  

Users will find Kwik Model quite intuitive, especially young designers who have played a lot of video games.  It's coded in a very popular video game platform.   Because it is 3D and draws the ducts to scale, never before has an HVAC design software illustrated the designer's challenge of simply trying to make a duct system fit in a house.  Architects and general contractors could even use it to help design a house that actually has room for the ducts.  I wish something like this had been around before the last couple thousand HVAC plans I designed.

Where We Are Right Now

Currently, we have a functioning PC based application with a revolutionary user interface (UI) that is about 80% complete.  It does not currently do load calculations, but that is our fist big goal.  It does do all of the room-by-room take-offs needed to perform load calculations.  These numbers can be entered into any basic load calculation software to do loads and select equipment.  Once you know your design airflows, you can easily lay out the duct system in Kwik Model.  Even in its current beta version it is faster, easier and more realistic than anything out there.  It just needs a few more extra features and some polish. We would really appreciate your suggestions and feed back.  Now is your best chance to get features that you love included in later versions.

 Right now, it has the following features/capabilities:

  • Import and scale architectural floor plans in pdf, jpg, png, tif, etc. formats
  • Mouse and keyboard controls for zoom, rotate and slide camera movement.
  • Slide and toggle controls to adjust opacity and edit-ability of various drawing components (floor levels, rooms, floor plans, ducts, etc.)
  • Front, left, back, right and top quick-view buttons.
  • Create up to three floor levels.  You set the default ceiling heights, floor thicknesses, and truss heel height. Room heights and floor levels can be easily adjusted in drawing.
  • Set north arrow.  Take-offs will be consistent with north arrow orientation.
  • Place rectangular blocks, triangle blocks, odd shaped blocks, and vaulted ceiling blocks, all of which can be grouped to create unique rooms or spaces.  You can set the default length, width, and ceiling height, then stretch to match floor plan below.  Each room or space can be designated as conditioned or unconditioned (e.g., garages).  The blocks collide without overlapping making building the model much easier and faster.
  • Windows and skylights can be quickly placed, scaled and positioned with just a few mouse clicks and key strokes.  Kwik Model is designed for speed and accuracy.
  • Place and scale simple hip and gable roof sections to make model look finished and show available space in attic for HVAC equipment.
  • Place and scale upflow, downflow and horizontal air handlers (e.g., furnace or fan coil), evap coil, and plenums.*
  • Place and scale ceiling, floor and wall supply registers and return grilles, either straight boot or side-attached boot.*
  • 3D flex ducts are drawn TO SCALE with just two mouse clicks and one key stroke.  "click-click-enter." Drag-handles allow you to reposition ducts and fittings as needed.  Ducts can be sized automatically or manually.*
  • T-wyes, elbows and other fittings can be inserted in the ducts to create trunks and branches.*
  • Automatically creates take-off tables for all windows, walls, ceilings, and floors that summarize and compile areas, orientations, associated room/block, type, etc.  These tables can be condensed (all similar surfaces combined into single areas if room-by-room takeoffs are not needed)
  • Automatically creates tables for all supply branches, supply trunks, return branches, return trunks that shows lengths, diameter, airflow, friction rate, air velocity, register size, etc.*
  • Tables can be exported in comma-separated format and easily imported to spreadsheet or other software for manipulation. 

*Bulleted feature groups with an asterisk are only included in 3D duct module

Future Plans

Features we'd like to add next:

  • Ability to export files that can be easily imported into other HVAC design and energy modeling software.  If you'd like to work with us on this, please contact us.
  • More duct types (rectangular sheet metal, etc.).  More fitting types (duct board triangles, etc.). 
  • More HVAC equipment types (package units, mini-splits, etc.)
  • More functional roof drawing features and roof area take-offs for energy models that require roof/attic data.
  • Ability to easily create a model in the field from a hand sketch or field measurements of an existing home.

Our ultimate goal is to have a fully integrated, ACCA approved Manual J/D software that does room-by-room load calculations as well as duct design.  Another goal is to have a fully integrated energy modeling software for energy code compliance (e.g., CBECC-res).

(ACCA is Air Conditioning Contractors of America)

Why We Need Funding Now

Connor has been working on this project for over a year with zero income from it.  I have a full-time job and work on this project in my spare time. I suggest ideas to Connor and he makes them happen.  He has been working on this pretty much full time while holding odd jobs.

We need funding now to help us get this project across the finish line.  We have substantial future and current business expenses just to make this software available, including attorney fees, consultants, web design, etc.  We'd also like to attend a few trade shows and conferences in the near future to promote Kwik Model.

When you support us at the $150 or $250 level and upon funding of the project, you will be sent a link to download a functional beta version of the software similar to the one shown in the video, either the Take-off Module for energy modeling or the Take-off + 3D Ducts Module for duct layout and design, based on your support level.  You will get free updates of these modules as they become available.

We expect the price point of the fully functional module with load calculations to be only around $600.  We will credit your support amount toward that cost if you want to upgrade to the full version, when it is available. Similarly for the fully integrated CBECC-res module. Compare this to other software packages costing well over $1000.

We are extremely excited about this project and the positive benefit it will have on residential HVAC design and energy modeling.  I truly believe that Kwik Model will make it easier and more cost effective to do a quality HVAC design and a more accurate energy model.  This will result in improving the overall comfort and energy efficiency in homes, more so than any other software advancement I've seen in my 30 year career.  

Thank you so much for your encouragement and backing.  Any support at all is greatly appreciated.

Russell King, M.E.

Risks and challenges

The worst-case scenario is that it progresses no further than it is right now. Even so, it is a functional, useful and fun to use application that is worth the introductory price. The beta version license will not expire.
There is a chance that we do not get approved by ACCA, but you can still use Kwik Model to do your take offs and use them in an ACCA approved load calculation software. Once you know your equipment size and airflow, you can enter that back into Kwik Model and do your duct design.
There is a chance that our software patent does not get approved and other programs copy our design. This would only negatively affect us, not you, the user.

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    Take-Offs Module

    Receive a functional, but not yet fully featured, beta version of the app that creates a 3D model with tabulated windows, walls, floors, ceilings, doors, etc. Free upgrade to the release version Take-Offs module, when available. Value $250.

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    Take-Offs + 3D Ducts Module

    Same as Take-offs module but with the ability to draw super realistic 3D ducts to scale. Free upgrade to the release version Take-Offs + 3D Ducts Module, when available. Value $350

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