Hi Eric. Sorry for the delay. I recently explored Shark F/X (much more expensive and more powerful than VCP 6 or VCP 7. Just about 4 days ago I upgraded my VCP 6 install to 7, but before that, I began working on a quick tutorial for how I use VCP with my DelftShip models. Since the upgrade, though, I’ve had to rework my outline. VCP 7 makes it vastly easier when converting the DS DXF 3D Mesh into a surface. Now, instead of a bazillion heart-rending facets, I get a single surface that matches the mesh. It was an unexpected but great surprise.
The upshot of this enhancement is that now I can create in the VCP model the decks I need without worrying about “stitching” for days on end a hull sideshell that I might keep tinkering with. In maybe a few more days I can put up *my* approach… well, my *current* approach, since over the past two years subtle enhancements to VC 2D/3D then VCP 6 took me some time to come up with my own approach.
Just quickly, for frames, I use DelftShip to create stations at desired intervals. When in feet, I place them every foot since I never know when I will change frame spacing and don’t want to keep editing the parent model for the sake of frames when they’ll change anyway for further hull fairing. However, I have been loathing the Imperial measurement system as far as inches and feet go because millimeters are vastly easer: whole numbers, in my case.
Create a profile of the size or type of stiffener you need. Do it in Plan view, move it to the station line, and then use whichever rail sweep tool you prefer or which one responds best to the stringency you want/need.
For strakes, use waterlines and then trim or segment them as necessary. Add as many as you think you’ll need. Just assign to various layers the stuff you need to hide from time to time. Layers are better than simply selecting and hiding and unhiding.
Create layers for port, starboard, waterlines, stations, girders, platforms/decks, superstructure, and more.
Something that I do for my mental sanity is after having defined stations and and my compartments based on my paper model, I color code the mesh areas of the compartments. My convention is AA, BB, CC, DD, EE, FF, GG, HH, JJ, KK, LL, MM, NN, PP, QQ (skipping lower or upper case i and o for obvious reasions).
Import into VCP in the same model/file both the DXF 3D Mesh and the DXF 3D Polylines. I don’t bother anymore with the STL, and others, particularly since I’m not lathing.
I set my ortho view to aerospace, with the bow forward. I use F for forward/Bow/fron, S for starboard/right, R for port/left, T for Plan/Top, and V for Keel/bottom. I use G and Shift G for Ortho types. Unfortunately, VCP does not allow for multi-letter keystrokes for shortcuts. Shame. But, liveable.
I colorcode the DXF 3D PLs green or blue for starboard work. I use red, magenta, for portside work. I use other handy but non-conflicting colors to identify decks, platforms, stringers, girders, webs and more.
When laying in the decks, I use DS to add waterlines for each level of a deck. I then account for actual thickness by inputting the mm distance for that, too. It IS tedious, but worth it. It would be nice if DS allowed for picking the stations of choice and defining the WT TVBHD plate thickess and then autopopulate the panel, but maybe in the future…
As for turning off and on things in the way, you may wish to place each compartment in its AA, BB, CC etc layer. The TVBHDs I install are AB, BC, CD, DE, EF, FG, GH, HJ, JK, KL, etc. Instead of using a single thickness, I recently chose to split the thickness so that turning a compartment on and off does not involve hunting up and down VCP’s layer trees and branches. This way, each compartment that is on has it’s virtual half of the plate thickness still in the view, so if I select all items and want VCP to tell me the CGs of a given compartment, I still have some hull effect account possible since the plating profile for’d and aft in a given compartment will be different.
Hopefully, this gets you on to a good start if you have still been floundering recently. It would be fantastic if Broderbund/Punch! Software and Delftship worked together to make an API plugin that let the two programs seamlessly communicate. Imagine using VCP as your CAD end, and when something is found to need adjusting, you choose to push or pull those changes from either program you are in at the moment or whichever suits your work style.
If you use a laptop, and are always tethered to power, and don’t have a decent battery anymore, then as long as you can carry a big laptop, go with at least 17″. If you buy an external flat panel, take you laptop with you and open a model of reasonable complexity or density and pan and rotate and zoom in and out and so on. My laptop response is maybe 1.5x faster than my LCD.
I set up my screens side to side, rather than one over. Always remember to save and save often, and to save as incremental timestamp-based names. It’s easy to import Iges and work on it and inadvertently save the VCP file as .iges and then walk away for a few days and tear your hair out trying to find that .VCP when it’s under the extension of iges. win os needs to look at content, not file extensions. Wasted an HOUR on my lunching renaming extensions just to get VCP to accetp opening an iges-extension vcp file.
Take notes, and keep a log. Make a map by using a spreadsheet to keep you from diverging from your plan. Lay out throw directions, thicknesses, expected weights, and more. DS has nice weight accounting features, but if you extensively add features and fittings to your VCP model, you’ll possibly forget or lose track of what you started with. But, as you add ribs, girders, strakes, webs, stanchions and cutouts (for doors, ladderways, etc), you might feel like a kid or a god.
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