New Hull module with ShipConstructor2005:

New Hull module

The release of ShipConstructor2005 is now scheduled for the beginning of July. Please find below a first official write up with regard to the features of the new Hull module plus pictures attached (please note: the abbreviation ‘SCon2005’ is for internal use only!). Feel free to use the information in any kind of publication you produce as well as on your web site. The names of the picture files are meant to be used as captions. More information regarding new features will follow shortly.

Hull Module:

The new Hull module combines proven ShipCAM surfacing technology and new smart surface objects with the simplicity of working inside of AutoCAD. This brings together the best of two worlds, allowing users to easily and intuitively create and manipulate complex surface models in Hull while also allowing them to freely use AutoCAD drafting techniques. Users can expect their typical design spiral to lead much faster to the desired results.

For this first release of Hull, users can import a defined hull surface description from one of the many ship hull design programs, or import fairing lines from ShipCAM. In the foreseeable future, ShipCAM fairing will remain a main pillar of the design process. All lofting functions after fairing have been moved to the Hull module, within AutoCAD, or will be shortly.

ARL’s developers will be working hard to complete the migration over the next few months, with an interim release of the Hull module planned for fall 2004. After this, ARL will continue refining Hull to add more sophisticated functions, and in the long run, to add initial design features including a parametric system that will automatically update the structure definition when the hull changes.

As not all of ShipCAM’s lofting functions have been migrated to Hull yet, ShipCAM may still be required for part of the job. ShipCAM users with current Maintenance & Support contracts will automatically receive the Hull module, and Hull purchasers will automatically receive ShipCAM at no additional cost.

Here are some of the features that will be available in the first release of the Hull module:

Smart Parametric Surface Modeling

The Hull module is the first step towards implementing parametric modeling into Structure. Hull surfaces are smart parametric objects that store the shape of the surface, and also trimming and section information. The surface can be changed at any point and all parametric information is updated automatically. At this point, due to time restraints, the original NURBS information is stripped from the surface. Thus, only minor changes can be made to the surface shape. In the fall release, the NURBS control points can be changed to adjust the design, including stretching of the hull.

Plate Expansion

Large design surfaces are divided into production plates using seams and butts. The plates are then expanded to smart flat plates, which remain linked to the 3D plate allowing analysis of strain and plate deformation. Future releases will allow reverse interactions between the two, for example adjusting a plate edge on the expanded plate to maximize raw plate stock utilization. Color Strain Analysis, Deformation Tables, which now include deformation calculations for markings, Roll Lines and Forming Templates improve the functionality of this feature. This technology simplifies and shortens the refining plate layout process significantly.

Figure 1: Plate expansion of trimmed plate with strain map

Database Integration

Tighter integration with the project database, for example, allows Hull to show the actual curved plate thickness based on the project stock library. For the interim release this fall, we expect to release a conversion of the thickened hull surface to ACIS solids, allowing users to include curved shell plate in the interference detection process.

The user can also easily change the display of shell plate stiffeners from simple lines to indicators showing the orientation and even to the actual stiffener solid based on the profile defined in the central database library.

NURB Curve Objects

The Hull module introduces new 3D NURBS curve objects allowing users to define intricate hull details usually not defined by the naval architect. The NURBS curves include traditional fairing tools such as Nudging and Porcupines. Creation of developable and straight section surfaces is now possible from any two Hull NURBS curves and/or AutoCAD Polylines. Generation of compound curvature surfaces is also possible from imported ShipCAM splines.


Creating pin-jigs is much faster and easier to do as all functions run inside of AutoCAD. The iteration cycle to create just the right layout is much shorter and faster.

Figure 2: Multi-plated pin-jig created inside of AutoCAD

Surface Sectioning and Markings

Surface sections such as frame, waterlines, and buttock lines, and markings such as girder layout, seams, and butts are easily created using Hull’s built-in functions in conjunction with standard AutoCAD drafting functions. For example, the user may lay out the main engine girder in plain view and quickly project it onto the hull surface. Better yet, the markings are integrated into the surface object, they are not unrelated lines or polylines. Thus, if the surface is trimmed or holes are cut, the sections are automatically updated.  Advanced markings includes skewed sections, orthogonal and skewed projections, relative and proportional girths, and surface-surface intersection.

3: Smart Hull surfaces with markings and trimmed out bow thruster

Importing File Formats

Designed as an open system, users will be able to import file formats from a wide variety of design software systems using Rhino 3DM and IGES formats. Also possible is the import and export of ShipCAM files allowing interactive use of ShipCAM functionality.

Stringer Layout

Hull’s stringer layout and 3D model generation makes perfect use of our advanced custom object technology inside of AutoCAD, resulting in a very powerful function providing unprecedented control and ease of use. Hull’s stringer layout utilizes a newly developed technology representing the hull form through 3 types of transverse sections to fair and layout stringers. All stringers are parametrically represented on these sections. Users fair the stringers by modifying locations on the sections and inserting or removing break points, providing users with good control over the stringer shape in a very intuitive and powerful way. 

Stringers are linked to the central database stock library. Users can easily switch the display from a simple trace-mode showing the trace on the hull as a simple line, to orientation-mode indicating the stiffener orientation at each section to a full solid-model-mode for true visualizations. Inverse bending of stiffeners is now conveniently integrated into the profile plots.

Figure 4: Stringer layout with fairing control points displayed in trace-mode orientation-mode and profile-mode

Figure 5: Flat-shaded stringer layout now possible across the entire hull

For more information on ShipConstructor, please contact Nick Danese at Design Systems & Technologies, France, on +33-4-9291 1324,

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