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Hello,

 

I‚Äôm¬†looking for a program where I can scan a plan and use it to design the frames and keel. I need it to be pretty simple. Not needing a 3D program. Free if possible ūüôā
 

 

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Honestly, i'd just use a polygon modeler like Blender or alike. A polygon modeler takes more time to learn, but faster, especially with stuff that doesn't require straight lines. CAD programs are nice, but one thing i've learned is that I get way to fixated on precision. Real ships aren't hundred percent perfect nor are the plans you might use, because those are likely made by a fellow artist as well.

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CAD  =  computer aided design  * (the verb may be a different one)

Assumptions:

You are starting with an existing plan and lofting hull components from it.

The actual design has been done.  You wish to replicate parts of that design at you target scale.

 

Lofting In Painter

I having been doing a lot of this (frame patterns for over 70 hulls).  I use a raster based program.  It does not do smooth curves as such. It does line segments.  The more segments, the smoother the curve.

Theoretically, what I get is a series of facets.  I patterns that I print out look smooth enough to begin with and even if it were facets, I can not get anything but a smooth curve on the wood from my sanders.

I use Painter 19 -  I already had an earlier edition from my time with 3D CG.  I could not justify the expense of Painter for just this part of its functions, were I just starting out.

GIMP is free, but it is a Photo Shop clone and brings a heavy load of functions with it.  Photo Shop will do it, but is not cost effective as a stand alone and a money sink on the Cloud if this is to be a continuing enterprise on your part.   Paint Shop Pro is about $50 +/-  and provided it can handle the potentially huge number of layers and large file sizes should be enough.

Painter 12 could not handle my file size in a single file - it added random green blocks when some threshold was exceeded.  Several smaller files solved that = Fore alone - one series, Aft alone  another series- lofting at 1:48= one file ,  reduction to 1:60 in another,  cutting the 1:60 frames into timber patterns a separate one or two files.

It makes a big difference depending the size of the ship.  A 118 gun liner stresses everything - all the way.  A pilot schooner is a snack.

Irrespective of your choice of raster program,  you will only be needing a relatively few functions.

SAVE - a function you will wish that you use more often than you do - unless you enjoy plowing the same furrow over and over.

COPY, PASTE,  CUT, SAVE   - big help is having a gaming mouse with programmable buttons for these.  I burned out the left click on several expensive brands.  I am getting excellent use out of a Redragon M711 Cobra Gaming Mouse  @ $20  I can burn thru a lot before I equal what a Logitech cost me and it is lasting longer to begin with.

For a brush - a thin line - (Painter buries finding a useful brush within an incredible number of options.)

Paint bucket fill tool - having frame lines as different colors helps in seeing what to cut -

With two timber faces on a pattern I cycle just 3 colors  R G B - in that order.  I know if it is R G,  red is always the midship face,  if it is G B , green is midship,  if it is B R , blue is midship. 

The placement  of the floor timber matters.  It is easy to get confused at the sander,  A system helps idiot proof things.

Rectangular Selection tool and Polygon Selection tool  cover this function for me - plus any erase needed

Magic Wand -  good for removing the background from a scan and making a layer transparent except for the lines of interest.

SCALE is vital  so is Rotate selection

I do not use many more functions than these.  Not much of a learning curve.

 

To begin, to save what I aim to print, I had select a canvas size that Windows Photo Viewer all not "adjust" for my printer.  I use pixels as the dimension units.

Home scanners to do not provide a 1:1 copy.  I had to determine an adjustment factor for every scan.  For MY Brother machine it is 102.5%.  The first thing I do to any scan when I import into Painter is to SCALE 102.5%. Before I do anything else - bad results if I miss doing this. 

Once I found a page size that Windows will leave alone, I scanned a transparent metric ruler and printed copies at ever more precise scale adjustments until I got an exact match.  This is tedious but necessary.

After importing a scan, adjusting the scale, removing the background,  the next fun ting to do is to rotate the scan back to vertical with your base  vertical Y line and X  baseline. 

The only concession I have made to CAD  is that I saved a long thin vertical  line using TurboCAD that I bought from an end cap display.   The finest line that Painter will do is 1 pixel wide.  I wanted thinner for within the program and a PNG import from TurboCAD provided that.  The patterns that I work with can't be any finer than what a point is from my ink jet printer so the precision is limited to Painter.

 

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Traverse PC and Generic Cad is what I have used for a very long time, Started out with a COGO on an IBM 1130, writing the program, punching the cards, feeding them into the card reader, waiting for them to reach the machine, monitor the printer as the program ran, tear off the printed sheet, recover the punch cards, debug and run it again, magic it was. We even acquired a drum plotter that printed all diagonal lines like a stair step, what a wonderful machine Punch Cards on an IBM 1130. The programs I first noted work for me and I have owned them a long time. You are getting some good ideas above, I stick to what I have, it is paid for and I am familiar with it, follow the above advice. Whatever you choose, it will be obsolete soon along with the software and data storage media, Store important stuff on acid free paper, you will be able to read it in 10 years, I expect a huge hardware change soon, it is past due.  image.jpeg.9e33ff6e29e82c50c2d5a2194a143052.jpeg

 

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I would definitely avoid the image editor (pixel) type programs like Photoshop, Paint, etc!

 

Select a cheap/free vector image program. This will allow you to adjust line widths and colors, and scale the drawing easily. They all will output images for printing/plotting at any scale.

 

There are basically two types of vector drawing programs. There are programs designed to make pretty pictures, with a minimum of precision drawing functions. Then there are true CAD (computer aided drafting/design) with a full set of precision drafting tools.

 

If you intend to build a historically accurate model use a CAD program. If you just want to throw something together that "looks like" a ship use a drawing program.

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Got ya beat, jud! I did the "punch card two-step" as an operator on IBM 360s on one of my working-my-way-through-college jobs at Standard Oil about 50 years ago. I remember, in those pre-internet days before "sexual harassment" and "hostile work environments," the programmers would work up printouts of the Playboy Playmate of the Month foldouts using ASCII characters as a "dot matrix" and print them out on tractor feed paper and pass them around. On a later college job, working for ITT Telecommunications when ITT was setting up the DARPA-net, the operators were sending that "ASCII art" out on the 33 and 100 KSR teletype terminals of what eventually became the internet. "Computer graphics" have come a long way since then, and I can't claim to be a CAD maven by any stretch of the imagination, but for modeling purposes, I find the old-time "ducks and battens" drafting technology is easier and faster for me, at least as far as what I need for ship models. I suppose it's different for younger folks who never learned "mechanical drawing" in high school when is was taught everywhere and for those who have mastered one or another of the CAD programs and kept up with their developments, often on the job, but when the contemporary hand drawn lines of period ships scale up to an inch or more wide at full size, I'm not sure I understand the point of trying to work with them at the "space age" tolerances of today's CAD software. 

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I  like TurboCad. The version under a hundred quid does fine at any ship plan cad work.

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Draftsight is a free, fully functional 2D drafting program from the same company that produces SolidWorks (3D cad).  Basically, a similar program to AutoCad or TurboCad.  I've run it on both Windows and Linux systems

   

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The free version of Draftsight will cease to run after 31 December 2019... they have decided to charge an annual fee.

The hobby version will be $99 and does not do 3D.  It is strictly 2D

If you are able to spend more money there is a version that will do 3D.

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For around $99 you can buy the "student" version of CorelDraw.   It will do both pixel types and also true CAD but it is 2D not 3D.   I think they might have a 3D version but I've not looked for one.

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The main thing you need to understand about CAD programs is that they all have a steep learning curve. It will take months to become reasonably proficient with a new program. This is especially true with 3D CAD! If you have used a CAD program before it will be easier, but no two programs work the same way.

 

I have been using CAD programs for over 30 years - several different programs - so I am quite proficient with my favorite program (DesignCAD). But for simple things I still just make a sketch on paper rather than take the time to start the program. But for complex multi-part assemblies I always use CAD. Perhaps the best thinbg about working in CAD is that it allows you to "test fit" parts before actually building them. This has saved me a lot of time, materials and frustration!

 

To answer a point that was raised about the scaling of line widths when drawings are enlarged, it is true that the line width often scales pretty wide, decreasing the precision of the drawing. But, in most cases the ship builders used standard measurements (feet/inches/meters/millimeters). When you scale the drawing you can be sure that the dimensions are multiples of some basic measurement. And designers tended to use whole numbers instead of random fractions of the basic unit. After working with the drawing for a while you learn to guess the actual precise measurements from the overly wide lines. This is especially true when you have multiple drawings of parts that have to fit together. So the precision of a CAD program is useful even when the original drawing you are working from is a bit "fuzzy."

 

The same is true when you are trying to determine dimensions from photographs.

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