How to Export ProSurf Lines View

Discussion in 'Software' started by Jeff, Jan 9, 2002.

  1. Jeff
    Joined: Jun 2001
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    Location: Great Lakes

    Jeff Moderator

    What is the best way to export the 2D Lines View Drawing from ProSurf into an AutoCad readable (DXF/DWG) format?

    The generation of this view is really nice, but I would like to be able to get it into a 2d drawing or CAD program in an editable format so I can tweak it a bit more - for example, changing the line weight of the grid so it prints better and differentiating between major and minor lines.
     
  2. Jeff
    Joined: Jun 2001
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    Location: Great Lakes

    Jeff Moderator

    This program keeps getting better and better :)

    I found the option to set the pixel width for the lines and guide lines under Plane Cuts / Cut Options.

    And I figured out one way to get the the 2D Lines Drawing from ProSurf to Corel to AutoCad via installing a Generic Adobe Postscript Printer Driver, printing to a file, and exporting/importing from prn (eps) -> cdr -> dxf -> dwg. There might be a quicker way, but this works pretty well.
     
  3. Jeff
    Joined: Jun 2001
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    Location: Great Lakes

    Jeff Moderator

    The next thing I want to try and figure out is the best way to export just the stations to a dxf/dwg format. I'm still working with the demo for a few more days, so I may not have exhausted all the options. But here's what I'm currently getting (please forgive my goofy 2 minute drawing)

    Here is the model in ProSurf (green cuts are what I want to export)

    [​IMG]

    Here is what I get when I attempt to import the DXF into AutoCad. I tried setting the output in Prosurf to both splines and polylines with the same result. What are the "extra" segments at the top of the stations and is there a quick way to get rid of them?

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Jeff
    Joined: Jun 2001
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    Jeff Moderator

    The above drawing does appear to be correctly skinned when exported and in ProSurf so I still can't figure out where the fantom lines are coming from:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  5. Jeff
    Joined: Jun 2001
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    Location: Great Lakes

    Jeff Moderator

    After a few more test drawings, it appears to be just the one test model above which yields the stations with extra lines upon dxf export.

    I created two more quick drawings and then exported the yz cuts to dxf, and for these drawings the yz cuts imported cleanly without the extra lines. So it must be just my sloppy test modeling on the above file or maybe a point somewhere that isn't quite at the centerline, or ???

    No big deal, since it isn't that difficult to clean up once exported, and hopefully won't happen on a more carefully constructed model.
     
  6. Steve Hollister
    Joined: Sep 2001
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    Steve Hollister Junior Member

    I don't mean to ba asleep at the switch, but I have been out of the office.

    For 2D DXF (or IGES) output, you need to:

    1. Display the 2D view that you wish to output on the current view.
    2. Select the File-Data File Output-DXF Output option and select the 2D View Output option for the "Output" field.

    Note the the default output is a 3D mesh of the hull.

    If you output the 2D view this way, then what you see is what you get in the DXF file.

    I don't know where the "extra" phantom lines are coming from. I would have to see the .srf model file to examine it. If the lines are coming from the Calc-Hydro-Draw Stations command, then you have to be careful. This is a long story, but these lines are constructed from the station cuts of all of the surfaces in the model. Since these stations are to be used for hydrostatics, then the program must try to construct "nice" stations that can be used by the calculation program. All hydro calculation programs (from anybody) use stations like these to do the calculations.

    The problem arises because the hull is not necessarily a nice, closed solid. In some cases, users leave off closing keels or decks, and add in all sorts of interior surfaces. Additionally, if the surfaces don't match up exactly (bonded), then the program might have difficulty closing the gaps. (...although there is a "gap" tolerance that can be set in the Options-Other Options dialog box.) For hydrostatics calculations, the program tries to bridge all gaps and tries to close off the "dangling" surfaces to create "nice" station shapes consisting of just the outside surfaces. This is actually one of the most difficult algorithms in the program.

    Imagine a bunch of arbitrary, surfaces that don't form a nice, neat, closed solid. For each station, the program cuts the surfaces to create polylines for each of the plane-surface intersections. Then, the program will try to connect the polylines together if their ends are within the gap tolerance. Then, if there are any remanining dangling edges, the program will close the edges off to the centerline. This will cover the cases such as a missing keel or a missing deck. Then, the program will close off each of these polylines along the centerline to create closed polygons. Then, if there is more than one polygon left, the program will do a polygon-polygon union to trim off any overlap area of the multiple polygons. This will handle the case where one surface overlaps another and the overlap portion needs to be trimmed off. An example of this would be the case where the top of a fin keel sticks into the bottom of a canoe hull body. Other programs require nice, closed, neatly trimmed surfaces before they create the station shape to use for hydrostatics. In our hydrostatics calculations, the program will do the trimming of the stations based on the local waterline or wave height.

    For your case, you might be able to clear up the phantom lines by increasing the gap tolerance or by trying to match up surfaces more carefully. That is my guess.

    In any case, the Calc-Hydro-Draw Stations command shows you what the program will use to do the calculations. If these shapes are incorrect, then the hydrostatics calculations will be incorrect. It is very important for a program to display the stations that are used in the calculations. For those who remember the old US Navy SHCP program, this was a big problem. The program tried to fit parabolas through consecutive 3 offset points on the station. You could never tell if the program created a station shape that was completely wrong. If you tried to draw the station, you would have to draw it using the same parabola techniques to be able to see the problems.

    With ProSurf, the exact shape of the stations drawn with the "Draw Stations" is the exact shape used to do the calculations. We use a line integral approach that calculates the area and moments of a closed loop by tracing around its polygon path. (kind of like a planimeter or integrator). Actually, all of our hydrostatics software derives from our experience with tearing apart SHCP in the mid 1970s.
     
  7. Jeff
    Joined: Jun 2001
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    Jeff Moderator

    Not at all. After I posted I decided to try and see if I could figure it out on my own so I didn’t call your attention to this thread, and then I got working on another project and the time just flew by. Also I’m not a paying customer yet, so I really do appreciate the excellent support you have provided while I've been testing the demo before I have even purchased your software.

    Before I was thinking the problem was probably in the export (because the cuts looked perfect in ProSurf – no extra lines). After reading your post I changed the gap distance from .02 to .05, exported again and everything was fine. So more than likely it was just the sloppy modeling in the test model and one point was slightly off that I couldn’t detect. Sorry for the false alarm.
     
  8. duluthboats
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Location: Minneapolis,MN, USA

    duluthboats Senior Dreamer

    Jeff,
    Are you still using ProSurf? Would you care to share your likes/dislikes with us? If there is another thread on this please point me at it.
    Thanks
    Gary
     

  9. Jeff
    Joined: Jun 2001
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    Location: Great Lakes

    Jeff Moderator

    Wow - where did the last 3 months go? How time flies!

    Actually as of today, I still have not purchased ProSurf because I haven't had the time to really make use of it.

    I think it's an excellent program, and most importantly, I have a lot of respect for Steve Hollister (I should purchase a license soon as I don't think Steve's posted on our forums in a while, and I'd like to get him back!)

    Things I like about Prosurf:

    * Edit Points on the surface you’re editing rather than a point cloud.

    * Main modeling/surfacing features are very intuitive – you can literally sit down and start working with Prosurf and be reasonably proficient within a few hours.

    * Good Export Options (the only snag here was that I didn’t want to wear out the demo just testing the I/O, so I asked rather than figuring it out via trial & error).

    * Stable/Right Amount of Tools/No Major Imposed Limitations

    * There is a lot I’m leaving out as I’ve spent the last couple weeks getting up to speed with linux/apache behind the scenes and haven’t had a chance to look at Prosurf in at least a month or so…

    Things I don’t like about Prosurf are all GUI related:

    * No shortcuts / keyboard entry. I really wish that there were hotkeys instead of having to go to the menus for every new entity/edit command/etc. It’s one of the few programs that really stresses my mouse finger :) It is better than some of the others where you had to hit an icon before editing a single point, and it’s live editing is faster than other programs where you have to select station by station, but it badly needs some shortcuts.

    Having hotkeys like “z” for zoom, right click in, left click out; ac for add column, ar for add row, c for create curve, p for add polyline, s for add surface, etc. would increase the speed using the program by 500%. The best would be if you could set these macros yourself.

    * The Render View is fast but badly needs mouse or keyboard input option to rotate/zoom/pan. Currently you have to set numerically/check/reset/recheck/etc to get the right view. The hidden line 3d view is very slow, at least on my dual P3 1Ghz Win2k box, so I would like to be able to use the render view interchangeably, but need a better way to navigate in it.

    * And there are a few minor anomalies in a couple places, but on the level of any other program.

    My impression is that the foundation of the program is very good and flexible… it is probably around an 85/100 right now and with a little work on the GUI and to add shortcuts to make working with it faster, it could easily be a 95+/100.
     
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