Orca3D News

Friday, December 17, 2010

Adding a new button on a toolbar

In a previous post we discussed a useful plug-in, ScaleByPlane (which has become a function in the Rhino 5 WIP). If you find yourself using this function frequently, you'll get tired of typing the command and may want to put it on a toolbar. Rhino makes it easy to create new buttons on a toolbar, and even whole new toolbars, so that you can customize the interface and work more efficiently.

One of the toolbars that Orca3D installs is called "Rhino Functions Icons," and it contains Rhino functions that we think are useful in marine design but are not found on the Rhino toolbars that are normally turned on. Let's look at how you would add a button to this toolbar for the ScaleByPlane function.

The first step is to undock the toolbar, and then right-click in the header portion of the toolbar and select "Add Button."
You'll see a new, blank button on the toolbar. Now, hold down Shift and right-click on the new button. This will bring up Rhino's Edit Toolbar Button dialog:

If you are artistically inclined, you can choose "Edit Bitmap" and draw a bitmap for the button. If you'd rather not, you can simply enter text. First, enter text in the Tooltip entry field, so that when you hover your mouse over the button you'll remember what it's for. Next, select "Show Text Only" (unless you're drawing a bitmap for the icon), and finally, enter the command for the Left mouse button. Click OK, and you'll see the new button. Now you can dock the toolbar again:

Note that you can edit any toolbar button this way, not just ones that you have created. For example, you might want to add a frequently used command to the Right-click field of an existing toolbar button (if it doesn't already have one). You can also enter a series of commands in the Left or Right button command field, such as a macro.

More detailed help is available in the Rhino Help file, in the Toolbar Layout chapter.

A nice image for a rendering background

One of our users, Hunter Gall, has kindly made this image available to anyone who would like to use it as a rendering background. The full image resolution is 5487x1263. If nothing else, it will make you want to visit Maine in the summer! Right-click on the image below to download the full image.

If you have images that you'd like to share (or even 3dm models of objects such as winches, hatches, etc.), please send them to support@orca3d.com and we'll create a repository where everyone will have access to them.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

2D Scaling and Moving Control Points, using ScaleByPlane

For those of you who used FastShip, you may remember that it had the ability to scale a patch of control points about a local origin, stretching the patch in two dimensions as you moved your mouse. This could be very useful when you wanted to edit an entire column in your control net. This capability has been replicated in Rhino 4 (as a plug-in), and is a native command in Rhino 5.
For example, say you wanted to increase the slope of the stem of your boat. You could move each control point individually, but this would be cumbersome, and if you wanted to maintain a straight stem, you'd have to snap each point into a line. You could rotate the stem, but that would have the effect of lowering the tip of the stem. With Scale2D, you can only scale along a line.
With ScaleByPlane, you can simultaneously stretch and move a group of control points in 2 dimensions.
To use ScaleByPlane, begin by selecting control points to be scaled, then select an origin about which things will be scaled. Then select the reference point and begin stretching.
If you want to use this command in Rhino 4, you'll need to download the scalebyplane.rhp plug-in, and then install it using the PlugInManager command. It's a built-in function in Rhino 5, so you can use it by just typing the command.
In the following example, we have the default hull from the sailboat assistant, but we'd like more slope to the stem.
Turn on the Orca control points:
Run ScaleByPlane, and follow the prompts; first, select all of the control points on the stem column. Then select the forefoot corner point as the origin, then select the control point at the top of the column as the first reference point, and drag to the new location.
Here are the control points in the new location. In one step, we've moved all of the points up and forward.
And here is the modified hull.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Training Class: Ship Hull Design with T-Splines for Rhino

Gerard Petersen of the RhinoCentre in the Netherlands will give a 2-day training class on ship hull design using Rhino and the T-Splines plug-in, including the integration of Orca3D in the design process.

"T-Splines modeling technology makes it possible to design ship hulls, yachts and free form superstructures in Rhino like never before. In the marine industry there's no comparable modeling tool as powerful as the T-Splines/Orca3d/ Rhino combination.

Both high quality as fast results make it possible to model fair ship hulls in little time. The tight integration with Orca3d offers even more functionality for analysis and modeling power.

T-Splines can be applied in preliminary design as well as preparing ship hulls for production."

For more information, visit the RhinoCentre website.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Will Orca3D be available on a Mac?

We get many questions about running Orca3D on a Mac using VMware or Parallels, and whether there will be a Mac version of Orca3D released. This post should help to answer these questions.

Orca3D will not run on any configuration of VMware, as it has the potential to strip out the software protection. However, we do have several customers who are able to run Orca3D on a Mac using VirtualBox from Sun Microsystems. Please see this forum post for more information.

We have heard from some of our customes that they've had success with Orca3D running on Parallels, but we have not done any testing of this configuration.

As many of you know, Robert McNeel & Associates has been working on a Mac version of Rhino. However, to our knowledge they have not yet begun work on the SDK that is required for third party developers like ourselves to create plug-ins. So at this point, we are waiting for news on the SDK, and trying to assess the market for a Mac version of Orca3D. We’ll then weigh that against the investment required to both port Orca3D and provide on-going support and development, before making a final decision.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Rhino Plug-Ins for Naval Architects" Webinar

On behalf of Orca3D and the ASGVIS team, we'd like to thank those who attended yesterday's webinar, Rhino Plug-Ins for Naval Architects.

The 60-minute webinar explained the benefits of using Orca3D and V-Ray for marine designers.

Larry Leibman, Principal Naval Architect at DRS Defense Solutions, Advanced Marine Technology Center, began the webinar by diving into Orca3D's capabilities for hull design and fairing, hydrostatics and stability, speed/power prediction, and weight and cost tracking using the design of a 26' center console powerboat.

Fernando Rentas Pedrogo of ASGVIS then used that same vessel to demonstrate the V-Ray rendering plug-in for Rhino and its rendering capabilities. He explained material settings, how to create a water surface, positioning of the sun, and tips for blending the rendered image into a photograph; all of which resulted in a powerful 3D, photorealistic image.

If you missed Rhino Plug-Ins for Naval Architects or would like to watch the video recording, you may do so here:  http://www.orca3d.com/support/webinars/2010-10-26Rhino_Plug-Ins_for_Naval_Architects.wmv

Monday, October 25, 2010

Marine Design with T-Splines

Gerard Petersen, of RhinoCentre in the Netherlands, has written an interesting blog post on marine design with Rhino, T-Splines, and Orca3D. T-Spline's flexibility in surface modeling allows for the creation of all sorts of complex shapes, be they hull forms or superstructure, and integration with Orca3D means that you can treat T-Spline surfaces just as you would any Rhino surface, for sections, lines plans, hydrostatic and stability, resistance prediction, or weight and cost tracking. To read Gerard's post, click here: http://rhinocentre.blogspot.com/2010/10/ship-hull-design-with-t-splines-for.html

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Filleting a Hull/Keel Intersection

Recently, a user asked us for help in the creation of his sailboat model. He posed the question: How does one fair the intersection of a keel and hull?

Certainly, there are multiple ways to do this in Rhino, but here is one way we have found that seems to give good results:

 1) Start with a half-hull of your sailboat model. Here we have used the Orca3D Hull Assistant to create the hull geometry. Then create one side of the keel geometry. In this case we used the Orca3D foil assistant and made sure to uncheck the boxes “Create Both Sides” and (Cap the) “Root” so that we would only get one side of the keel and the top would not be capped since it will be trimmed off anyway. We’ve also placed the keel in the proper longitudinal and vertical positions, ensuring that the keel protrudes through the hull bottom. The details of the hull and keel design are of course up to you! They don’t have to come from the Orca3D assistants. The result is shown below.

2) If you have a connected bulb or a capped tip on the keel, then you will need to explode the keel polysurface into individual surfaces.

3) The keel generated from the Orca3D foil assistant has a flat trailing edge. It is necessary to separate the trailing edge from the rest of the keel foil shape in order to be able to fillet the surfaces. Split the keel surface along an isocurve at the trailing edge crease as shown below (Surface->Surface Edit Tools->Split at Isocurve). NOTE: If you find that you are unable to split the surface, then you will need to decrease your model absolute tolerance. (Tools->Options->Units)

4)      Now, you can use the FilletSrf command to first create a fillet between the main part of the keel and the hull surface and then between the keel trailing edge and the hull surface. You need to set the Extend command option to “No” for the FilletSrf command and of course choose a reasonable radius for the fillet. When you fillet the surfaces, make sure to select the surfaces on the sides that you want to save. The result should look something like the figure below where the keel is shown in red, the hull in blue, and the keel trailing edge in green, and the two fillets in gray.
5) Take a look at the two fillets and notice that at the keel end they do not line up. If this is the case for you it is a simple matter of moving the control points at the keel end of the trailing edge fillet along the keel until they line up with the other fillet.
6) Trim off any remaining length of the trailing edge.

7) Use the Rhino BlendSrf command on the open edges of the two fillets to connect them with a fair curvature continuous surface. You should end up with something like the figure below.

8) Join all three fillet surfaces together and join the trailing edge of the keel back to the keel.

9) Use the fillets to trim the hull surface. You should now see something like the figures below where we have also mirrored the surfaces.

10)      Check the surface normals with the Dir command and correct as necessary so that all normals point outboard. If you wish you can join all surfaces together into a single closed polysurface with no naked edges.

Webinar Rescheduled

Due to the illness of one of the instructors, we regret to inform you that we have to reschedule today's webinar, "Rhino Plug-Ins for Naval Architects" for Tuesday, October 26 at 3:00pm EST. If you had registered for the webinar, you should have received an email from GoToWebinar.Notifications@citrixonline.com confirming this time change and providing a link to login to the webinar. If you have not previously registered, you can do so at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/212377227.

The webinar will be recorded. All registrants will receive a link to watch the video recording after the webinar takes place.

We apologize for any inconvenience and hope that you can make the rescheduled webinar next week.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

50% RhinoMarine-to-Orca3D Upgrade Discount Ends December 31, 2010!

In 2009, the developer of RhinoMarine announced that it was discontinuing sales and support of the product. At the same time, we announced that DRS Defense Solutions, Advanced Marine Technology Center, would step in to provide technical support and replacement Site Keys, through the end of 2010.

To help ease the transition to Orca3D, we've been offering a 50% discount on Orca3D to licensed RhinoMarine users. This discount offer will also expire at the end of 2010. If you're considering moving to Orca3D, now is the time to do it. 
Orca3D, in addition to surpassing the capabilities of RhinoMarine, is actively supported and is being further developed and improved. On-going efforts include stability criteria, a new hull assistant, network licensing, and compatibility with the Rhino 5 WIP (32 and 64-bit). Support is handled on a daily basis, via phone, email, and our forum. Recent comments on our technical support from a survey included:
  • "The support that your company principles have offered over the years is second to none."
  • "Very professional technical support I received from the staff."
  • "The email support has been excellent and I think I got through the learning curve quickly."
We have also developed a translator so that Orca3D can read your RhinoMarine-specific data. You can read more about that in an earlier blog post: http://orca3d.blogspot.com/2010/04/rhinomarine-to-orca3d-translator.html

If you haven't already done so, we encourage you to download Orca3D and give it a try (you won't need to uninstall RhinoMarine). If you have been through the evaluation process before but would like to extend your evaluation, email us at support@orca3d.com for a download link and instructions for receiving an Unlock Key to extend your evaluation.
You must provide proof that you qualify for the transition discount. Valid proof may include any one of the following (if you own a license for RhinoMarine, but for some reason are unable to provide one of the forms of proof above, please contact us to discuss the matter):
  • Screen capture of your RhinoMarine license dialog. From the RhinoMarine menu, select License.
  • Invoice or receipt from your purchase of RhinoMarine
  • Email from your RhinoMarine reseller confirming that they sold RhinoMarine to you
Just provide any of these to us at sales@orca3d.com, and we'll give you a coupon code for the 50% discount. Information on pricing, purchasing on-line, or finding a local reseller can be found here  (if there's a reseller in your area, we prefer that you purchase through them).
As always, please feel free to contact us with any technical or sales questions:
  • sales@orca3d.com 
  • support@orca3d.com
Don't forget; the discount will end on December 31, 2010!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Join us for a joint presentation on Orca3D and V-Ray

Orca3D and V-Ray will team up to present “Rhino Plug-ins for Naval Architects,” an hour long free webinar explaining how naval architects use these two digital tools in the engineering and visualization of watercraft.

Larry Leibman, Principal Naval Architect at DRS Defense Solutions, Advanced Marine Technology Center, will kickoff the session by explaining the benefits of using the Orca3D plug-in to Rhino for hull design and fairing, hydrostatics and stability, resistance prediction, and weight and cost tracking. After a brief introduction, he will give a live demo and attendees may submit questions during the session.

3D Visual Artist Fernando Rentas Pedrogo will then pick up the same 3D model and render it into a photorealistic image using V-Ray. To do this, he’ll explain the basic V-Ray interface that works within Rhino, HDRI, and the V-Ray Sun and Sky system.

Join Orca3D and V-Ray for this free webinar on October 20, 2010 from 3:00pm to 4:00pm EST. All attendees will receive a special discount on Orca3D and V-Ray.
Register for this webinar here.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Using full scale electronic mock-ups to improve design

I recently spoke to Dave Fuller of FullCon Solutions, whose company provides services to designers in various industries who can benefit from full-scale electronic mock-ups of their designs. Yacht design is an obvious application for this technology, and the following images show designer Ward Setzer visualizing his design in The Duke immersive Virtual Environment (DiVE) at Duke University in North Carolina.

This is an excellent example of extracting value from a 3D model, which was the subject of a seminar given by Bruce Hays at the recent IBEX tradeshow in Louisville, Kentucky on September 29th. While building 3D models has a cost, there is tremendous value to be captured by leveraging the model for design review, manufacturing, weight estimating, cost estimating, structural analysis, 3D printed mock-ups, rendering, outsourcing of components as small as canvas and as large as interiors, fitting new parts to existing models, performance analysis, etc.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Answer to the Naval Architecture Riddle

Have you figured it out yet? Have you built an Orca3D model to figure it out? If not, here's the riddle again, and the solution:

The following “riddle” was submitted by Razmik Baharyan of Bulgaria:

Imagine we have a saucepan in fresh water, with the following characteristics: 
  • Diameter 20 cm
  • VCG 3 cm
  • Saucepan displacement 0.314 kg
  • Depth 10 cm
What will the metacentric height be for each of the following three cases? 
  1. The saucepan is empty. 
  2. The saucepan is empty, but is damaged and fills with 1 cm of water. 
  3. The saucepan is empty, but is damaged and fills with 5 cm of water.
Assume zero thickness for the saucepan itself, and that after the water leaks into the saucepan the damage is repaired. Remember, GMt=KB+BM-KG


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Planing Analysis: Resistance Design Margin, and LCG, Porpoising, and Resistance

Question: When I run the planing analysis I am guessing at the Resistance Design Margin. Is there any way to more accurately estimate what that efficiency should be to compensate for appendage and wind drag? 
Answer: There are various ways to account for drag due to wind, appendages, and other factors such as waves. Some of these methods are purely empirical, while others may be classified as “semi-empirical” in that they are based on first principles but use some empirical data. A semi-empirical approach for estimating wind drag might be to compute the projected transverse area above the waterline (including hull above the waterline, pilot house, windshields, etc.) and use this together with the relative wind speed (including absolute wind speed and vessel speed) and an appropriate drag coefficient (such as might be found in Hoerners “Fluid-Dynamic Drag” or other technical papers). More fully empirical approaches might just recommend using a percentage of the bare hull drag whose value depends on the type of planing hull (e.g. center console vs sportfish vs cruiser).

Ideally you would have some past data for similar vessels to base your estimates on. If not, a few good references which you might find useful for guidance include:
  • http://www.hydrocompinc.com/knowledge/library.htm
  • Blount, D. & Fox, D., “Small-Craft Power Prediction,” SNAME Marine Technology, Jan 1976.Hadler, J.B., “The Prediction of Power Performance on Planing Craft,” SNAME Transactions, 1966.Hoerner, S.F., “Fluid-Dynamic Drag,” 1965.
Question: On my vessel the LCG is far enough aft that the planing analysis indicates that the vessel may porpoise. It seems that locating the ideal LCG so the vessel won't porpoise is determined by trial and error. Is this correct? Also, though the sensitivity index is less than 1, it recommends decreasing the LCG from transom which would only exacerbate the porpoising. How do I find the "happy middle ground"? 
Answer: Orca3D uses the HydroComp prediction library for the planing analysis including the porpoising stability check. Three different evaluation algorithms are used in the library [Savitsky, 1976][Celano, 1998][Colton, 1990]. The well-known Savitsky algorithm is a based on a limiting "critical trim" indicator, as is the Celano algorithm (an implementation of earlier work [Day, 1952]). The Colton algorithm uses a relationship between the center of pressure (relating to LCG) and a speed coefficient to indicate regimes of stability and instability. The planing analysis library evaluates all three indicators and presents the likelihood of porpoising as Stable (none indicate porpoising), Check (some indicate porpoising) or Unstable (all indicate porpoising). Given this background, it is difficult to say exactly how you would need to adjust LCG to achieve the desired result, so it does become somewhat of a trial and error situation. However, I would expect there to be some consistent (though perhaps not linear) trends. Often times the change in design parameters required to improve one aspect of performance, such as porpoising stability, is at odds with what would be needed to improve another aspect, such as resistance. Usually a compromise must be reached. 
Also, the sensitivity index for LCG is merely an estimate of the relative importance of LCG to the computed resistance and has no relation to porpoising stability. The sensitivity study just performs the resistance calculation repeatedly with small perturbations in each of the relevant input variables to determine their relative impact on resistance.

Naval Architecture Riddle

The following “riddle” was submitted by Razmik Baharyan of Bulgaria:

Imagine we have a saucepan in fresh water, with the following characteristics:
  • Diameter 20 cm
  • VCG 3 cm
  • Saucepan displacement 0.314 kg
  • Depth 10 cm
What will the metacentric height be for each of the following three cases?
  1. The saucepan is empty.
  2. The saucepan is empty, but is damaged and fills with 1 cm of water.
  3. The saucepan is empty, but is damaged and fills with 5 cm of water.
Assume zero thickness for the saucepan itself, and that after the water leaks into the saucepan the damage is repaired.

Remember, GMt=KB+BM-KG

The solution will be posted in a few days.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

When is a computer fast enough?

Part of our business involves carrying out seakeeping predictions for our customers, running advanced ship motions prediction software on a supercomputer. The supercomputer is actually composed of many multi-core computers networked together with a high speed Infiniband network, giving us computing power that is normally only found in a few government labs and research universities.

When we initially built this system two years ago, it was a major step ahead of what we'd done in the past. But this is a classic case of "Build it, and they will come," and we found that even running 24/7, we could not keep up with the demand. We’ve recently completed an upgrade to the system, and our testing shows that we’ve reduced the time to compute each condition (a condition is a unique combination of speed, heading, and wave height) by a factor of four. We’re now able to run approximately one million conditions per month. This scale of analysis is important when the mission of the vessel is critical, severe weather conditions cannot be avoided, the size and cost of the vessel makes physical prototyping impractical, and especially when the design is novel.

While interesting, this may not be directly relevant to your work. However, we feel that by being a leader in this type of extreme computing and engineering environment, we’re better able to create innovative design tools for all of our customers. Not to mention that having that kind of computing horsepower is kind of fun!

Monday, August 2, 2010

We want to hear from you!

We're always trying to improve Orca3D, for the experienced user, for new users learning the software, and for prospective users who are evaluating the program against their needs. This means not only added features and improved functionality, but also expanded documentation, demonstration videos, technical support, etc.

Your feedback in these various areas is helpful in determining where to best focus our efforts. We've created two short surveys, one for Orca3D users, and one for those who are evaluating (or have evaluated) the software. The survey should take no more than 10 minutes, and your input would be greatly appreciated!

Existing users, please click here to take the survey.

For those evaluating Orca3D, please click here to take the survey.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Computing Righting Arms with Fixed Trim

We recently had a question from an Orca3D user about how to compute righting arm curves, but with a fixed trim. While this doesn't reflect the true physics of a vessel heeling, some regulatory bodies still require the calculation to be done this way.

Orca3D doesn't have an option to automatically compute fixed-trim righting arms, but we quickly developed a series of steps that would accomplish the goal:
  1. Run free-float hydrostatics with zero trim for each heeled condition needed for the righting arm curve. This can be done in a single run by specifying a weight, zero trim and a range of heel angles (not rollover angles) in the hydrostatics input dialog.
  2. Record the resultant LCB for each condition.
  3. Then for each heel angle, input the weight, VCG, TCG, recorded LCB as LCG and the desired righting arm angle and run to get the righting arm for that angle.
As a repetitive series of steps, this is an obvious candidate for scripting. Rhino has excellent facilities for scripting (for example, the Orca3D Offset Table function is actually a script). Scripts can be as simple as a series of Rhino commands, or can be complex VBScript programs, with different variable types, logical constructs, and data input and output.

We've developed a script that allows the user to enter the displacement, LCG, TCG, VCG, desired heel angles, and to select the surfaces to be included in the calculation. The righting arm data is then computed, and displayed in a text window, where it can be saved as .txt file. This file is easily opened in Microsoft Excel, and the righting arm curve is easily created (in Excel 2010, it takes just one click).
To use this macro:
  1. Download the macro by clicking here, and save it in a convenient directory.
  2. Start Rhino, and click on Tools/RhinoScript/Load.
  3. Click Add, browse to the script, and click Open.
  4. Click Close
  5. Click Tools/RhinoScript/Run, select the script, and click OK.
  6. Follow the prompts.
  7. When the script completes, the data will be displayed in a window. Click SaveAs, and save the file with a .txt extension.
  8. Open the file in Excel, with a comma delimeter. Select the Heel Angle and Righting Arm data, and create the plot.
If you'd like to learn more about scripting, there is an excellent reference guide included with Rhino. Click on Help/Plug-ins/RhinoScript, and follow the examples.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Control point editing and hollow waterlines

We are sometimes asked the best way to get rid of hollow waterlines (not that they are always a bad thing). Often the combination of parameters that are used in a hull assistant will lead to hollow waterlines, or other aspects of the hull assistant-generated hull that you'd like to change. This is where direct control point editing comes in. While the hull assistants are very useful for quickly generating a 3D model that is close to your desired shape, they're not intended to be able to create it exactly. That would require so many controls as to defeat their purpose.

A recent post in the Tips&Tricks area of the Orca3D forum shows an example of creating a hull, and then modifying the control net (moving control points, re-orienting a control column, and adding control points) to attain the desired shape. To read the post, click here: http://orca3d.com/forum/index.php/topic,200.0.html

Friday, June 4, 2010

Automating Hull Assistants to Create and Analyze a Parametric Series of Hulls

Many of Orca3D’s commands can be scripted, and therefore automated either through RhinoScript or by external programs such as Excel®. We’ve developed an example of automating a Hull Assistant using Visual Basic in Excel. A table of Ship Hull Assistant input parameters for a range of hulls is created by the user in Excel; the Visual Basic macro starts Rhino, then reads the data for each hull, creates the hull using the Hull Assistant, and computes a righting arm curve. Finally, the righting arm curves for all the hulls are plotted together for comparison.

You may download the macro by clicking here. The macro will start Rhino, and it assumes that your units are meters and kilograms. Note that if Rhino doesn't start fast enough, the macro will report an error. If this happens, usually just running the macro again will solve the problem.

If you make changes and improvements to the macro, why not describe them and post your version on the Orca3D Forum so others can learn from your experience?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

See Orca3D at upcoming trade shows in Europe

Want to see Orca3D demonstrated in person? Our European master reseller, Design Systems & Technologies, will be exhibiting Orca3D and other marine design and construction software at three upcoming trade shows:

Date Trade Show Location Booth
May 18-20 Navalia Vigo, Spain F21
June 15-17 SeaWork 2010 Southampton, UK 242
June 21-25 Sea Tech Week Brest, France 13

Please stop by and ask for Nick Danese!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Creating an Orca3D Template

Many users like to start a new design with a known set of default values. Creating a new Rhino template will save the Orca3D data found in the Orca3D Properties dialog. This data includes: 
  • Project Name
  • Company Name
  • Logo File
  • Current Orca3D Units
  • Model Orientation
  • View Settings
  • Fluid Type
  • Equilibrium Thresholds
  • Mesh Settings

Since this is a Rhino Template, the Rhino length units can also be set to a default value.
To save an Orca3D Template, set the Orca3D data and Rhino length units to the desired values. The Notes field can also be populated with a description of the Template or other miscellaneous notes. Next, choose File > Save As Template… from the Rhino menu or type the command SaveAsTemplate. The Save Template File dialog will open, allowing the new template file to be named and its save location selected. If the Orca3D Template is saved with the Rhino templates, this template will now be available in the list of templates when Rhino starts up or a new file is created.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Foreshortening the view to help with fairing

When fairing a control net, it's sometimes helpful to "compress" the hull in the longitudinal axis, to exaggerate the curvature. This is especially important on hulls with high length-to-beam and length-to-depth ratios. One way to do this is to actually scale the model in the longitudinal dimension by some factor less than 1 (for example, 0.25 or 0.5). If you do this, you'll need to re-define the station locations.

Rhino has a different way to do it that only scales the view, and not the actual model. However, the scales that are specified are the horizontal and vertical scales (the Perspective view is not affected). If you adjust the horizontal scale, the length in the Planview and Profile (or Top and Front) will be foreshortened. In the Bodyplan (or Right) view, the beam will foreshortened. While not ideal, this can still be very helpful in the other views.

To do this, open the Rhino Properties dialog (File/Properties). Go to Rhino Options/Appearance/Advanced Settings/Wireframe/Other Settings. In the right side of the dialog, you can enter a Horizontal Scale. (If you want to apply it to something other than Wireframe, such as Shaded, select that instead.)

Monday, May 3, 2010

TerraFlat 3D, new patterning plug-in for Rhino

Tri-D Technologies has introduced a new plug-in for Rhino, TerraFlat 3D. TerraFlat3D will analyze and flatten 3D shapes for 2D patterning and manufacturing. Terraflat is used for: 
  • composite boats
  • automobile parts
  • shoe prototyping
  • awnings
  • glass applications
  • furniture patterning

Specific functions include: 
  • Ability to read all popular 3D CAD formats (including high-end NURBS files from CATIA, Unigraphics, IDEAS, Pro-E, SolidWorks, Inventor)
  • Color-coded strain analysis where relief cuts are required
  • Automatic cut lines generated by “understanding” the seams
  • Free-flow manual cuts anywhere along a complex NURBS surface (unique to the industry)
  • Based on Tri-Ds AccuCut technology
Terraflat has been tested against other programs for developing metal plate, and the results are good. The developers are looking for input from the marine industry as they continue to develop this plug-in. An evaluation version is available on their website, at http://www.terraflat.com/.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"New Features" webinar recording available

If you missed the recent webinar that presented the new features in the latest update, you can watch the recorded version at www.orca3d.com/webinars. This 50-minute live demonstration covered topics such as T-Splines compatibility, Hull Assistant updates, the foil wizard, custom loading conditions, and more.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Orca3D Offset Table Now Available as a Separate, Free Plug-in

The offset table function in Orca3D was developed as a separate plug-in, and it required that Orca3D be installed in order to run properly. Now it is capable of running entirely without Orca3D, and is available as a free download. If you own Orca3D, you do not need to download the plug-in; it's already installed on your system.

If you don't own Orca3D, but would like to be able to create offset tables that open in Excel, download the Orca3DOffsetTable.rhp plug-in. Start Rhino, then drag and drop the rhp file onto the Rhino window to load it (or user pluginmanager). Type the command OrcaOffsetTable, and follow the prompts. Note that in the absence of Orca3D, it assumes that X is the longitudinal direction, Y is transverse, and Z is vertical. Curves that lie in a constant X plane are treated as stations, those in a constant Y plane are buttocks, and waterlines lie in constant Z plane.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Next webinar: "New Features in Orca3D Version 1.1.0"

Join us for a webinar on Tuesday, April 27th, when we'll demonstrate some of the new features in Version 1.1.0 of Orca3D, as well as some of the improvements that have been made. Topics such as custom loading conditions for hydrostatics & stability, hull assistant libraries, T-Splines integration, weight & cost tracking, and others will be covered. After the presentation, there will be a question and answer session.

Date: Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Time: 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM EDT What time will it be in my time zone?

To register, click on the link below:
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

RhinoMarine to Orca3D Translator

If you have previously used RhinoMarine, your models may have data that is specific to RhinoMarine, such as sections, weight/cost items, points of interest, and other settings such as non-length units, fluid type and density, company name, logo file location, and project description. With the cooperation of the RhinoMarine developers, we have created a standalone program to convert this information into a format that is compatible with Orca3D.

The program can convert multiple 3dm files at once, and creates new files as output, so your original files are not changed.

The translator is free; there is a link to download it on the RhinoMarine transition page.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Orca3D Update available; Version 1.1.0

We’re pleased to announce the latest update to Orca3D, which incorporates many of the suggestions and comments that we’ve received from our customers and beta testers. Thank you to all who have given us feedback!

Version 1.1.0 is now posted on our website. This is a free update for licensed users; if you have evaluated but not purchased Orca3D, your 15 day evaluation period may have expired. Instructions to request an extension are given at the end of this message.

A link to download the update is given below. Please read through the following information before you download.

Licensing: You will need to uninstall your existing version of Orca3D through Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs. You will not need to make any changes to your license.

Running in Windows Vista or Windows 7: If this is a new installation on a computer running Windows Vista or Windows 7, after installing Orca3D, you must run Rhino once using the Windows “Run as administrator” option in order to install and start the Orca3D License Service. This is most easily accomplished by right-clicking on the Rhino desktop icon and selecting "Run as administrator." This is only required once; thereafter you may start Rhino in the usual fashion. If you do not perform the steps above, you may receive an Orca3D License Service error. You can then transfer your license from your previous computer (instructions are given in the Orca3D Help file).

Rhino Version: This version requires that you are running Rhino V4, Service Release 6 or later. If you don’t have SR6 or later, please download it here:

What’s New: The update adds new features, improves existing features, and fixes a few bugs. A complete list of the changes is available at
http://www.orca3d.com/download/service_release.htm, and just a few of the highlights are summarized below. Short videos demonstrating some of these features are available at http://www.orca3d.com/support/NewRelease_videos.htm.
  • Custom loading conditions for hydrostatics and stability calculations
  • Full T-Splines compatibility
  • Hull Assistant settings may now be saved to a library
  • Foil Assistant
  • User may now specify the longitudinal, transverse, and vertical coordinate directions
  • Improved management of Weight/Cost items
  • Simplified settings for mesh density for hydrostatic calculations (default mesh is also finer)
  • User-defined list of hydrostatic properties (up to 4) displayed in real-time and Hull Assistant hydrostatics
  • Sailboat Hull Assistant now has separate controls for flare and deadrise
  • Ship Hull Assistant has been vastly improved, allowing much better control of the shape
  • Export of csv file with hydrostatics and stability results; easy to import into CE-Pro
As always, we encourage feedback.

Read this blog, post in the forum, send an email to support@orca3d.com, or call us!

Go to http://www.orca3d.com/download/download.htm to download the update. If you have downloaded in the past, send an email to support@orca3d.com to receive the download link.

Need an extension of your evaluation period?

1. Install this release of Orca3D as described above.

2. Start Rhino; you will see a message stating that Orca3D does not have a valid license, and asking if you'd like to activate or extend your evaluation. Click Yes.

3. The Orca3D License Manager utility will appear (it may be behind Rhino on your desktop). Select "Phone/Email License".

4. Send the Installation ID to support@orca3d.com, with a note requesting an extension of your evaluation period. We will email the Unlocking Key to you. In the meantime, you may continue to use Rhino.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

T-Splines: A Technology for Marine Design with Minimal Control Points

T-splines are a very interesting class of surfaces that eliminate some of the shortcomings of NURBS, and they have been implemented in a Rhino plug-in. They look to be very useful for modeling hulls with local features such as skegs, bulbs, and fading chines, and also extremely useful for more complex surfaces such as sculpted superstructures. The next release of Orca3D will fully support T-spline surfaces; real-time sections, hydrostatics, weight & cost properties, etc. all work with a T-spline surface just as they do with a Rhino NURBS surface. You can read more about this interesting technology at http://www.tsplines.com/. Also, a paper was presented at the recent Chesapeake Powerboat Symposium by Matt Sederberg on T-splines, and there is a link to download it on our website.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Control Point Editing

Designing hull surfaces (and other surfaces as well) is usually best done by direct editing of the surface's control points. This approach will almost always yield a surface that is more fair than building a surface by using Rhino's loft, sweep, or network commands.

There are many ways to edit the control points, beginning with simple dragging of the points. Rhino and Orca3D have a number of features to help with this; Orca3D's construction planes for editing in the Perspective view; Rhino's osnaps, snapping to the grid, and ortho; and of course the real-time update of sections and hydrostatics that Orca3D provides.

But there's more to editing control points than simple moves. Rhino has multiple options for scaling one or more points, Orca3D's 'orcamove' dialog makes it easy to position points relative to one another in Cartesian or polar coordinates, and with Rhino's 'rotate' command you can rotate a single control point or entire row or column.

There are other useful but less well-known commands, such as 'moveuvn' which allows you to move control points in the u, v, or normal direction, 'setpt' which makes it easy to align a group of control points to the same X, Y, or Z value, and others.

Brian James of Robert McNeel & Associates has put together a nice introductory video that describes control point editing. Even if you're an experienced Rhino user, you might pick up a tip or two. To watch the video, go to http://vimeo.com/album/57041 (there are a number of other Rhino-based tutorial videos there as well).