In 10 years??

Discussion in 'Software' started by duluthboats, May 29, 2002.

  1. tspeer
    Joined: Feb 2002
    Posts: 2,319
    Likes: 295, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 1673
    Location: Port Gamble, Washington, USA

    tspeer Senior Member

    "All technical evolution has a fundamental behavior pattern. First there is scentific discovery of a generalized principle, which occurs as a subjective realization by an experimentally probing individual. Next comes objective employment of that principle in a special case invention. Next the invention is reduced to practice. This gives humanity an increased technical advantage over the physical environment. If successful as a tool of society, the invention is used in bigger, swifter, and everyday ways. For example, it goes progressively from a little steamship to ever-bigger fleets of constantly swifter, higher-powered ocean giants.

    "There comes a time, however, when we discover other ways of doing the same task more economically--as, for instance, when we discover that a 200-ton transoceanic jet airplane--considered on an annual round-trip-frequency basis--can outperform the passenger-carrying capability of the 85,000-ton Queen Mary.

    "All the technical curves rise in tonnage and volumetric peak, after which progressive miniaturization sets in. After that, a new and more economical art takes over and then goes through the same cycle of doing progressively more with less..."

    Buckminster Fuller, "Critical Path," 1981.

    We recently bought a new mainsail for our F-24 from Storch Sails in Vancouver, BC. Small, one-sailmaker shop, assisted by wife & two employees. But you should see his numerically controlled HOMEBUILT CO2 gas laser cutter! Thanks to his laser cutter, he deals almost exclusively in advanced materials like Spectra these days, and (thanks also to the exchange rate) we were able to get a Spectra main for about what a Dacron main would have cost from one of the major sailmakers in the US. Service was great, too - he came to the boat in Seattle and spend quite a while with us, measuring the boat and discussing the pro's and con's of various options.

    He uses commercially available software to layout the pieces on the bolt for minimum waste. Many of the reinforcement patches, etc. are all made to a standard size so they are interchangeable and he can gain some economies of scale by running off a whole batch of them at a time.

    Definitely one of the mammals!
  2. Jeff
    Joined: Jun 2001
    Posts: 1,368
    Likes: 71, Points: 58, Legacy Rep: 923
    Location: Great Lakes

    Jeff Moderator

    Very well said Tom and Gary.

    I'm glad you turned this thread around to a more positive perspective. I agree - while economic forces, consumer choices, and conglomeration may change the way boats are produced, it really can't be blamed on better software which does have a greater impact on the capabilities of the individual designer and builder.
  3. Sundevil
    Joined: Jan 2012
    Posts: 45
    Likes: 1, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 15
    Location: Ohio, USA

    Sundevil Junior Member

    I came across this thread when I was searching for some information.

    So, it has been 11 years now, how much has changed? I think a few things have improved, but most of it has stayed about the same.
  4. Boat Design Net Moderator
    Joined: Feb 2010
    Posts: 539
    Likes: 131, Points: 43, Legacy Rep: 1004

    Boat Design Net Moderator Moderator

    In the last 11 years, the accessibility and learning curve of modeling software has definitely continued to improve. It's now possible for anyone to download software, with Freeship even providing powerful tools at no entry cost, and fairly quickly model a shape, and one that's much more easily adjustable and with basic statistics immediately. However as recent threads show, the lion's share of design work is still defining a solid set of requirements for each unique situation and then understanding all the factors necessary to arrive at the best solution. Some of the drafting and basic calculation time that has been automated has probably been shifted to increased rule compliance on smaller projects and increased analysis of efficiency for example.
    bajansailor likes this.
  5. masalai
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 6,823
    Likes: 121, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 1882
    Location: cruising, Australia

    masalai masalai

    I pray that human artistic flare and experience won skills continue to drive boat design and let the computers and software reliably complete the tedious bits. I am convinced that the performance of my boat is attributable to the skill, vision and experiences of Bob Oram and the ease of assembly to cad and automated cutting of the panels.

    From knowing inside people, the development of the winged keel and other refinements on Australia II are the work of a team led by Bob Miller and a lot of inspired "suck-it-and-see" and toy model testing at a pond in Brighton le Sands, near Botany Bay, Australia.
    bajansailor likes this.
  6. jehardiman
    Joined: Aug 2004
    Posts: 3,222
    Likes: 676, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 2040
    Location: Port Orchard, Washington, USA

    jehardiman Senior Member

    It has been my experience in watching large shipyard and engineering efforts go from velum to CAD that what CAD-CAM does is reduce mass production time at the expense of design by more than doubling design time and cost. This makes CAD-CAM attractive for making thousands of the same thing, but it has rendered technological development in shipbuilding too expensive because even in government class production, you are never going to make more than a few of exactly the same ships.

    The real issue with CAD is that in a requirements driven world (i.e. shipbuilding) you have the design done before the first mouse click. I just watched a multi-million dollar project get shelved because it went over budget and schedule. Why?, because all the money and time was wasted trying by drawing too much in CAD before they checked the design. What is sad is that myself and another senior engineer handed them a pencil sketch and hand analysis of a truss that would have worked. Rather than implement the basic truss then add detail, they chose to detail first, then make a beam (not truss) to fit the unchecked detail, then check structual adaquacy... and weight... They spent weeks drawing before thay did the first FEA...then had to add weight...which pushed them over the design limit...which sent them back to redraw...<puke>. I complained in all the project meetings, but they weren't in my chain of command. It was just sad to watch and to find out that they spend 90% of thier time manipulating things that didn't need to be drawn (90% of thier objects were nuts, bolts, and washers...but they didn't have a single weld added...).

    Which brings me another point. People waste too much time and resources drawing too much detail into CAD drawings, mostly because people think it is easy. On paper I would put down the center marks and note "PC 10,11,12 typ 36 plcs" where 10, 11, and 12 were the bolt, nut and washer in the item list. What many don't realize is that it is not the actual time to draw the item, but the CPU rezref and db search time. The guys I mentioned above had so many xrefs that redraw time in pan and zoom, even with rerstricted layers, was 15-20 sec even on modern CAD stations (don't even start me on CATIA). And where did pen tablets go? I hate taking half my time either digging through menus or moving rollups out of the way. Way too much time is wasted in the office in the basic drawing in waiting for the computer, not the draftsmans hand, a lot of which doesn't even need to be drawn at all. Do a motion study and I'll bet a draftsman spent more time actually drawing than a CAD operator. I've drafted against CAD before and I know I'm faster for initial drawing. You have to spend way too much time with most dimensioning systems fiddling to get a good clear layout than you did by hand. But what about redraw you say? This is what I call computer folly...back in the day of hand memos and carbons, no one cared if the font wasn't right or the word choice wasn't perfect. All it had to be was technecially correct. Today I spend more time waiting for people to make "little" changes of no technical consequence. And in a one-off design, does a redraw really matter? You are going to go have to lift the location off the as-built anyway, so only change the drawings when you change the item..and that is why you draw plastic on mylar anyway.

    Which brings up the final point about CAD-CAM in a shipyard. How much time does it really save? Ships aren't widgets, where you are making 500 million of them. In CAM, straight from CPU to CNC is good (unless there was an error in the codeing then it is very expensive, which is why QA metrics gets more important), but where is that relevent in ship building or ship design? I'm not going to design a valve machining unless I have too, I'm going to order a standard part from a supplier that makes them. And even allowing for CNC cutting of plates or fiber orientation, how much "hands on" jigging or sorting is done in an actual yard (I see much less in a new construction yard, but in an overhaul yard everything must be touched which makes experienced workers much more important than streamlined ILS).

    I'm sure that CAD has its places, I'm not so sure that a ship design office is one of them. Sometimes I think the greatest economical advantage CAD brought to large engineering offices is to reduce each engineers footprint from a 15x8 board space to a 6x6 cubical. That's a 66% reduction in facilities overhead without including vertical files and microfiche cards. Given real esate prices, that savings is huge.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2013
    bajansailor and DavidJ like this.
  7. Ad Hoc
    Joined: Oct 2008
    Posts: 7,276
    Likes: 1,165, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 2488
    Location: Japan

    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    Oh JEH…you have made my day :p

    Everything you mentioned above I too have exactly the same thoughts feelings when it comes to CAD.

    I think the difference is that “amateurs” i.e. at home hobbyist, see CAD as great, since so much can be done without them every picking up a book or learning about fabrication, design, rules, regulations etc is one simple click now, perfect. No longer having to ask a qualified designer/NA what do to.

    Whereas as for us professionals (those that are paid to do this day in day out and with those silly letters after our names) find CAD at complete variance with those amateurs. JEH has hit then nail on the head. The wasting of time especially, not saving!

    My biggest gripe, of which I have many, is 3D modelling. Total total waste of time and effort. As the NA providing the DO with sketches for them to ‘draw’ up and then approving their work, prior to issuing, what occurs?

    The draughtsman draws up the structure, but oh, no can’t, needs more “things” to be defined in the model…then oh no, needs more views to add definition and oh..i need another frame either side to link into to etc etc…not forgetting, it must be linked to the BOM and so on. So, the whole structure of the boats is drawn up before I get to see a finish “drawing” to approve. Been down the route of checking “inside the 3D model”, that doesn’t help either. In the old days I would get a dwg even half done presented to me for checking…now, impossible. Can’t the model isn’t complete yet…and if I try and change one part “now”..oh , no, cant…it may affect another part later and I don’t want to remodel again it takes time!!, so we need to draw that 'other' bit up first too….and on it goes. So it all comes down to modelling for cut parts, cutparts…what about the design???!!!!

    So, what are dwgs for??....1) Class and Flag approvals…2) Shipyard fabrication. These 2 simple functions have now been totally removed from CAD. I even visited one shipyard where the draughtsman’s was taking his laptop down to the shopfloor to explain to the welder what to do…crazy!! All because their reliance on CAD being the be-all and end-all and being ‘quick’, yet totally forgetting what it is really for.

    Drawings are required, for build and approval. If the 3D model cannot demonstrate any of these functions and early on in a project….it is a total waste of time and effort. Drawing by hand is often far far quicker. Work previously done by highly skilled professionals on the shopfloor, mould loft etc, has been replaced by pushing buttons into software. Nowt wrong with that, but there has been no transfer of skills from the “hands on” to the “button pusher”. It is ‘assumed’ the computer will do that for you!
    bajansailor and DavidJ like this.
  8. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 2,936
    Likes: 148, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1593
    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    In my own engineering consulting firm where I had at one time employed five draftsmen (draftspersons?), I found I can hand generate a drawing in less time it takes to make a CAD generated drawing. Sure you get more precision and it looks pretty, but there is no more useful information on it than hand drawn plans done with a scale, a few triangles, and a parallel ruler. And if the computer goes kaput, or the power goes out, I can still create the drawing that generates the income. from the power in the wall socket, to the computer, screen, key board, layers of soft ware and the plotter/printer, there is a lot that can fail or malfunction along the way stopping production. without drawings to deliver to a client, there is NO income, no matter how fancy the work station.

    I have also noticed the tendency to trust canned software to do the design work rather than having a feel and understanding for how various changes affect the design. I have had my staff sometimes submit to me for reveiw calculations or drawings where I look at in-puts and out puts only, and when I get a nonsensical answer I hand it back to the engineer to check. More than once I got objections on the basis that "that is what the computer says it should be". I just tell them to double check their inputs and their assumptions, I have always been right. I hate having to argue with someone that clearly made a bone head mistake, I just say double check your assumptions and the inputs. What bothers me is that they do not see the obviously gross error when they get some outlandish output.

    The schools and the industry is spending less and less time trying to get the design professionals to actually understand what they are doing, and try to "production line" the design process, using design tools as a substitute for actually understanding the design process from an intellectual and perhaps even philosophical point of view. this allows the senior design staff to zero in faster on a solution or design approach, saving lots of design time down stream, and possibly even savings millions on getting too far down the design path to realize it will not meet the customers requirements.

    I guess senior design engineers and architects that know their stuff are too costly, so many companies choose to hire limited experience designers and fancy software thinking that is less costly.
    bajansailor likes this.
  9. alidesigner
    Joined: Nov 2006
    Posts: 187
    Likes: 6, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 93
    Location: Australia

    alidesigner Senior Member

    If the last 10 years is any indication, we will be working exactly the same as we do now in 10 years time. When I think of how I worked 10 years ago its not very different to today. The software has had many "upgrades" but none of them have significantly changed the way I work or increased my productivity, some have been a backwards step.

    Compared to the advances in mechanical CAD, the marine industry CAD has gone nowhere in the last 10 years, so no need to 'worry' about machines taking over, but I wish they would.

    The thought of being glued to a screen drawing for the next 10 years doesnt excite me and I wish someone would create a unified marine design CAD system that automated the majority of the repetative tasks and allowed me to work faster and more efficiently.
    bajansailor likes this.
  10. jehardiman
    Joined: Aug 2004
    Posts: 3,222
    Likes: 676, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 2040
    Location: Port Orchard, Washington, USA

    jehardiman Senior Member

    2002, 2013, 2022...
    It's about time to open this "once a decade thread". And what a better topic to use than this article below.

    For those of us around in 1982/83 when the IBM PC was introduced into the college classroom, we knew exactly what to do with it. So what has changed since then? Apparently college students who have grown up with computers and are said to be "computer literate" are actually "functionally computationally illiterate". And it is not just at MIT, go look at the many queries on this forum for a "program" to solve a specific real-world problem. Many of those queries require unique coding to solve, coding that they can't write because apparently they can't even set up the problem. A lot of what I did in my professional career was setting up the problem and solving it; sometimes by hand, sometimes by coding. I never, and really couldn't, go on the internet looking to see if anyone else had already solved a bleeding-edge problem.
    So what do I see in 10 years? The continued loss of engineering functionality in the design office and shipyard.
    RAraujo likes this.
  11. Flotation
    Joined: Jan 2020
    Posts: 46
    Likes: 15, Points: 8
    Location: Canada

    Flotation Junior Member

    I highly doubt the high productivity of shipyards like the ones in Korea would be possible without the use of IT in every step of the process.
  12. jehardiman
    Joined: Aug 2004
    Posts: 3,222
    Likes: 676, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 2040
    Location: Port Orchard, Washington, USA

    jehardiman Senior Member

    True, but production has nothing to do with design or innovation. I have said before that the whole world only needs about 10 or 12 Naval Architects; the rest can just copy (and do) past practice. Really, most of what "computing" does in any yard is bookkeeping, timekeeping, ILS, etc.; no real problem solving.

    So back to post #1.
    As the past 20 years have proven the "mother of all programs" has not emerged and is unlikely to. Unique problems do not lend themselves to general solutions.
    20 years on and the field of Naval Architecture is still advanced by those with insight just like it always has. A computer is just another tool, like a slide rule or planimeter. So like the axe and the chainsaw are both tools, neither decides where the tree will fall.
    Actually I still believe that humans are better at problem solving; computers are faster (not better) at bookkeeping math. Even "morphic AI design" is just doing what a human told it to do...over and over and over really fast.
    duluthboats likes this.

  13. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
    Posts: 5,896
    Likes: 1,165, Points: 123, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: usa

    fallguy Senior Member

    I don't have a lot to add, but when I quiz my kids what's 5x15 and they enter it into the phone or ask google; I'm quite sure humans have devolved a bit.

    Computers ought to help, but oftentimes, the nature of man creeps back. Men (and women) are notoriously lazy. If the computer creates more iteration; it is not desirable. If the computer creates stupidity from laziness; it is desired.

    The computer must assist man; not replace him, nor should it make his life more difficult. And man should not allow it to replace his brain.
    duluthboats likes this.
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.