Using an AutoCad file on Free!ship

Discussion in 'Software' started by torb1, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. torb1
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    torb1 New Member

    Hi,

    I am currently working on a project with shipdesign.

    We have been in touch with Rolls-Royce, and we can get ship plans from them.
    The only problem is that they use AutoCad and we use Free!Ship.

    So my question is; How can I import the AutoCad plan to Free!ship so I can do the necessary calculation and changes?

    - Tobias
     
  2. yipster
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    yipster designer

  3. torb1
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    torb1 New Member

    Thanks for the link.

    I am totally new at these things, what is Maxsurf?

    If anyone has an alternative solution to this problem, I'd be happy to hear it :)
     
  4. torb1
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    torb1 New Member

    Anybody? I've searched around a lot but without luck, I would really appricciate an answer!
     
  5. yipster
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    yipster designer

    Beter use f.e. iges files but when needed to work with acad files use a program that imports acad
    simpel as that, exept it aint allway's that simple
     
  6. micspoko
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    micspoko Senior Member

    I did something like that to use a surface/lines from Cad to freeship

    1. Create a lines on surface that you want create in freeship
    2. Then create a points on this lines on other layer
    3. Then export coordinates from cad using software (I can`t remember a name this software) to txt ( then need to correct this txt file - best to do this is in excel)
    4. Then create a new surface in freeship form this file
     
  7. CmbtntDzgnr
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    CmbtntDzgnr Senior Member

    If you have the DXF file, try importing it into Punch!ViacAD.

    These are some of my thoughts and processes in dealing with DXF files in Punch! ViaCAD, exported from DelftShip and Free!Ship/Hydronship. (FS/HS 3.24 test).

    First off, DS Pro is great for the fairing tools. FS/HS is great for seeing angles of lines in the coordinate box. Moreso, for me, the Fung/Leibmand and Holtrop reports (as well as powering, turn prediction, etc reports) are very useful to me since I'm designing cruiser-sized combatants, not yachts or keel-finned or barge or similar hulls that are not withing DS' Delft-based hydros.

    Go into the Inspector, the Concept Explorer, and the Layers interfaces to determine which layers are imported.

    Set ViaCAD preference to Aerospace if that is your pref, for view purposes).


    In ViaCAd, you can select the curves tha are stations, and -- depending on the level of accuracy/faithfullness you want and based on the distance between stations -- create surfaces between those stations. Thicken the surfaces, minding the "throw" direction (which can be flipped by use of the control key in the immediate time after the surface has been thickened).

    After you thicken all the surfaces of interest, you can gradually start to build a picture of weight estimates. Using the stations, you can use the 1-rail sweep tool (mind the options, and mind your initial angle of the web relative to the section in view) create a surface for the web. Then, using a perpendicular line of appropriate size, use the same 1-rail sweep tool to create the flange. Thicken to desired amount. Now, you have the framing underway. If waterlines were not part of the DXF, and if you were using Freeship/Hydronship, I'd say create them at desired intervals and then use them as the basis for the path for stringers.

    http://www.punchcad.com/p-9-viacad-2d3d-v8.aspx

    http://trials.punchcad.com/

    2D/3D is good, but I moved on to Pro to obtains some surface cutting and solids tools.

    Depending on the version of the ACAD file, you may or may not have some issues.

    VCP layers do not allow dragging and dropping across tree branches, and in some cases, you're really going to want to carefully plan out your layers structure or be willign to copy and paste items to a new or convenient layer. Shortcuts are single-key affairs but can be manageable if you don't map keys you rarely or never use.



    It's not a hydros app, and it's not perfect, but if your linework is very well faired, then you should have minimal issues with creating or sweeping surfaces. I used to have great difficulty until I began to make better use of Freeship's and Delftship's curvature plot tools before moving on into the CAD stage.


    I'm looking in my files to find some stringers, girders, sideshell stiffeners, and such.

    One thing about creating surfaces or other geometry in Fs/Hs/Ds is that you need to be mindful about turning off or moving to turned off layers any curves (mainly edges) that might be co-linear. If in ViaCAD you use an edge (that is almost co-linear with a station) to create a surface, the surface can result in something that "looks ok" to something that looks like a melted/stretched piece of hot plastic. If it looks okay, but then you thicken it, the ACIS kernel may spend an interminable amount of time gnashing away only to collapse and say no solution found or some other cryptic geek-speak used by 3D engineers. But, I suspect this applies to ANY CAD app which relies on ACIS and has no sanity-checking before attempting to create geometry.

    When making surfaces, make the app show the direction of the normals of the lines before you create surfaces, and optionally keep the view set that way as long as you can work before you thicken surfaces. This can save time and grief.

    As for creation of layers, in any app, you have to choose whether and how much to break down the area of concern into two or more files. If you have LOTS of RAM, a good processor, and a fast video card, you might want to keep in one file as much as you can. But, be sure to do lots of backing up in case your chosen app decides to corrupt or not open your file someday. If your app can handle external references, all the better so long as you have a disciplined drawing organization. Because I'm sometimes poor at file organization, I may carry over to a new directory stuff that need not be re-duplicated. But, as things evolve, I may want to freeze something and leave it behind while carrying forward it's cloned file.If I had external refs tools, it might be a blessing or a curse depending on how an app handles the refs.

    Something I noticed last night and this AM in Free!ship is that when I create stations, they don't seem to extend all the way up the model into uptakes and superstructure. Also, I cannot seem to create waterlines past 24m when my model goes some 32 meters. In Delftship, iirc, I WAS able to do this. It seems that files I saved as 2.x to open in FS worked but if I removed lines and tried to re-add them, some things seemed not possible.

    In FS, you might be tempted to use the Create Points on a 3D Oriented Plane to claw your way forward at a substitute for stations on the hull's inside. This may work depending on the model you create, and whether or not you crease other areas and have relatively flat sides or chines. But, I found that for rail sweeps, I need to with my model stick to the stations so that rail-sweep-created surfaces form only on the INSIDE of the hull, not protrude between nodes.

    If you experiment with DelftShip with your DXF and at some point you bring it into FS/HS, you may find FS/HS asking you to allow the model to be moved down to baseline. I am not sure what this is all about. In DS, the hull keel (bottom, not the keel fin, that is) was at baseline, and the sonar dome was just a featured appendaged. In FS/HS, the program INSISTS on making the baseline start at the bottom of the sonar dome (I don't know whether FS/HS does this if the protrusion is amidships or aft or some point in between the FP/AP and amidships). The great annoyance for me is that this methodology totally upsets/upends my use of waterlines to locate (visually) where decks are. As soon as I edit the dome to compensate for resistance goals, those waterlines are all shot. So, I had to update my spreadsheet by 2.1336 meter for ever WL I had in the model so I could edit my model. Apparently, FS/HS performs calculations beginning at a bulb location and working aft toward the props. I wish it would separate the hull from the appendages for modeling and editing purposes but then integrate/merge things for calculations purposes so the user need not remember all this.

    Also, in DS or in FS/HS, when you add stations, there is no feature to indicate or flag your stations off to separate layers. So, if you began your model with stations demarcing TVWTBHD, and then later set intervals for stations for sideshell stiffening, your model no longer has an easy-to-view look. So, to make it easer, you might want to do these two things:


    -- for TVWTBHDs placement, add THREE stations, one for the midplane, and one for the thrown thickness. Whether or not you make modeling use of this is up to you, and as long as you have fewer than 149 planes, FS/HS can still do section area reports

    -- create, fine-tune, and "lock" your model with stations for the TVWTBHDs. Save the file as "... Stations for BHDs". Open a copy and save it as "Stations for Stiffeners".


    Export from FS/HS or DS your model in DXF 3D Mesh and DXF 3D Polylines. In your CAD app, import those. Color code the stations of the TVWTBHDs. Arrange/Bring them front. Select all the geometry of the Stations for Stiffeners and for convenience move them into the BHD tree layer. Discard the Stns-Stfner layer's Edges, Buttocks, and Waterlines layers objects as they are redundant and can create many MBs of overhead in your model.

    Depending on the type of DXF file, you'll probably have to make decisions about forward and backward compatibility. Also, depending on who supplies you the DXF file (or the app they themselves use), there may be a vast number of layers nested systematically with pieces of geometry scattered in such a way as to/that they frustrate the recipient who tries to reverse engineer the parts in the file. You may find it easier to find those parts and then copy them off to a new layer your own mind can wrap around.
     
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  8. yipster
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    yipster designer

    somewhereonearth CmbtntDzgnr thanks for posting, never to old to learn, saved your mail to check out later
    have to sit to reread but you get dxf imported to freeship rite? really!? well done, later..
     
  9. CmbtntDzgnr
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    CmbtntDzgnr Senior Member

    As for Free!ship/Hydronship, I use rel 3.24 +

    FS won't import DXF. But, it will import these:

    Part
    Carlson .hul file
    FEF file
    Surface
    Chines
    Caren XYZ files
    VRML
    PolyCad
    Michlet Wave

    As for Delftship, I use 4.38 Pro.

    DS 4.38 imports:

    Part
    IGES
    FEF File
    Calculation Mesh
    Surface
    Carlson .hul file
    Chines
    Carene XYZ file
    DXF Faces (this is dimmed out even though I have a hull model open)
    VRML
    PolyCad
    Table of offsets
    STL
    Coordinates
    Background Images
    Michlet Wave

    I don't recall what PolyCAD an import, but you may want to try it or other apps, or even VCP if the DXF lines are not complex. Some apps only export but not import DXF for various reasons, and even if they do, the flavors may be dated, or the results so-so to very unusable. Some vendors don't want to be conduits for file conversion or exchange and risk user flight. Fortunately, FS and DS have a good variety of formats. Export options are good, too.
     
  10. CmbtntDzgnr
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    CmbtntDzgnr Senior Member

    This AM, I searched for PolyCad because I want to activate the latest release (9 ex?) and wanted to verify Marcus' email address. (I have an older version from 2008, but it's on a machine I deprecated to a 7lb music player due to RAM limitations...)

    Google returned:

    http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/de...tutorial-youtube-39035.html?highlight=polycad

    It was posted by quequen. His URL submission was:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2HTpteMoXo

    Honestly, had I clicked on that first, I might have been deterred again at using PolyCad, not for technical reason, but just my own unsharpened brain. Chance had it that I instead clicked on:


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UwAvWMy8IY

    I immediately was hooked. I exclaimed in my mind, "THIS SORT OF VIDEO SHOULD SHIP WITH THE DOWNLOAD!" In 2008 when I tried to use PolyCad, i kept getting lost in the interface.

    If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, then this vid could support the argument that a well-made video tutorial is worth 25-100 pictures.

    I am looking forward to that activation key even though/because PolyCad is going to set me back about a month or two as i take my hand-faired DS/FS-HS model and try to re-fair it. As much as I want to "produce something" and just get my 3D model ship well underway, I have been beset for years due to hand-fairing, inadequate use of DS' automatic fairing/FS-HS' semi-automatic fairing, and getting hamstrung by VCP's layers-moving limitations (Layer branches in VCP 7 cannot be wholesale dragged to a new level outside of their own tree heirarchy, and my workaround is to "despecificize" some layers so that importating them from other files won't produce numerous nests I sometimes don't need. But, that breaks my desire to highly specify object placement and retention during creation and re-creation.)

    PolyCad (the version in the video) looks as if it will immeasureably improve upon my fairing, even if it only knocks off a few hundred Kns of resistance. I'm after cleaner section lines so that my meshes/surfaces produce professional-grade smoothness. Then, I can probably bring in some or all of the model to FS-HS to get the Feng-Leibman/Holtrop reports I need.

    It's amazing and always exciting to find or re-visit "enabling" apps by people who have talent and skill and willingness to make their programs freely-available. I could never afford any $10,000 per-seat app.
     
  11. torb1
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    torb1 New Member

    Thanks for great answers! I am only a high-school student and I don't have any previous experience with shipdesign, so this might a little "out of my league."

    Converting the file sounds like a very complicated operation. Would it be easier to just use a program which supports the file from AutoCad (DXF?) and scale it, print out the framescetch and do the necessary calculations? I delftship the best alternative here?

    Again, thanks for the answer. I really appriciate that you dedicate your time to help me.
     
  12. yipster
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    yipster designer

    have my thanks as well CmbtntDzgnr, thats good info yet as said before: "simpel as that, exept it aint allway's that simple"
    so before giving importing a dxf to freeschip a try thinking it should be the other way around, thought lets have a closer look at polycad as that looks real simpel too.

    windows defender starts to moan than i read its a free 30 day trial using a machine key by install that must be mailed to get a new key again, free?
    that is not a simple instal and more of these free programs have more than once crashed my pc in the past but agree polycad looks as a dream

    so for now stopped that instal, is it simpel and free? i usually model in freeship and rhino than to render and detail into max and only ocasionaly more progs
    have a few autodesk certificates but allready deleted free http://www.123dapp.com/create i see in the mail again together with your post
    i best use igis files and try not to try all 3d experiments and viewers anymore that actually should be a windows standard by now
     
  13. CmbtntDzgnr
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    CmbtntDzgnr Senior Member

    Last night, I spend roughly from 1900 til 0045 going back and forth with files between Free!Ship 3.24, Punch! ViaCAD, and PolyCAD 9.0 of two version.

    Unfortunately, importing the DXF file into PolyCAD strips off the layers names. This is not a big deal for those with 10 or 20 layers, but I have roughly 120-190 layers depending on the hull. This would be immensely painful to rename the layers even if only staying in PolyCAD to finish off the hull's fairing.At that point, even though it's only the HULL (vice the superstructure, shafts, mesh engines, bulwark, appendage rudders sized as active fins, and the rudders), I at some point will have to bring the hull back into Free!Ship-Hydronship to get hydros not available in PolyCAD.

    At first, I exported the hull from FS-HS as DXF, IGES, STL, Achimedes, and GHS. STL (IIRC) came up empty in PolyCad, probably due to versions. I also exported from ViaCAD some of those formats (VCP knows nothing of Archimedes nor GHS, being that it is not a marine design program/app).

    ViaCAD can import just fine all the layers names that I created in FS-HS.

    However, I found that exporting a GHS file from FS-HS works nicely if one ONLY wants the stations. But, as I have a painstakingly-hand-made sonar dome, I don't feel like recreating that in PolyCAD by using the GHS/GF file. So, I returned to DXF.

    Dealing with DXF is time-consuming of your FS-HS fbm file is like mine. I create stations to match the bulkhead offset thickness for the cornered, hard creases I use for creating meshes that represent the watertight compartment. I had to remove buttocks, waterlines, and diagonals that added distracting payload to the file.

    I realize that architechs use splines and such to fair the hull to exacting smoothiness, and that requires (it would seem) non-vertical splines/other curves to arrive there. But, in FS-HS/DS, when I do that, it produces oddball angles of mesh facets that are not optimal for my routine because decomposing/converting the meshes to surfaces produces facets that must (in Punch! ViaCAD Pro) be stitched. Even though stitched, these surfaces to not behave as a contiguous surface, hence painfully irritating inability to cut a compartment's deck plating according the compartment's size. So, in that case, I have 2 or 3 segments, and this is due to the fact I have cornered creases I need in order to increase the inward curvature to obtain cruiser/destroyer fairing near the "shoulder" and taper further prior to arriving at the sonar dome and waterline and all that business. Hence, I have those creased areas that force me to add cutting planese or surfaces... a lot of tedious (though educational) work which underscores how incredibly gifted these CAD and marine developers must be to make possible even the stuff that DOES work at the prices many of us non-corporate beings can afford.

    So, to get my curves for my sonar dome from the most-forward frame all the way back to the transom, I had to use DXF, not GHS, although GHS's GF file may be more straightforward for yacht designers since the stem and transom are far eaiser to finish off than a bulbous bow, a dome, or such integrated fixture. To make my DXF file useful, I had to go back into FS-HS and meticulously remove every piece of non-hull geometry before I could delete the layers. I spent maybe a good hour or 1.5 trying to figure out why none of my exports with the hydros turned off would give me a DXF that PolyCad would recognize as a progressively stripped hull. I even turned off the intersections curves and turned off the option for lines plans. Still, somehow, PolyCAD was displaying things that I explicitly removed from FS-DS and saved as a new FBM and a new DXF file. So, that struggle led to my spending 1-1.5 hours removing meshes and culling the fbm to some 24 layers vice 191.

    Having something I now could use in PolyCAD, I was able to make more progress. Unfortunately, all along the way, I somehow was causing BOTH of the versions of PC9 to crash or throw error messages about unnamed objects already existing. I ended up playing whack-a-mole via the win7 task manager because once PC6 threw those specific messages, i'd become accustomed to realizing that even after escaping or returning through all the dozens of notifications that it likely was not my drawing and also that the app wa not going t recover. Task-killing was the only way to kill the app, but at least it is able to permit one to save one's work before task killing -- most of the time. IIRC, this crashing only happens when one is trying to in bulk/en masse apply changes to more than one line type. So long as I edit only one line at a time, I reasonably well avoid those exceptions or error messages.

    This morning, i went about removing multiple dozens of nodes/control points from within PC 9 so I could obtain better-faired curves. I spent months, no, 2 years + of time in DelftShip and FS adding points that nav arch's told me are excessive in count. They said I should use the LEAST amount of points to define the hull. I don't see how it is possible to define a combatant with fewer than 20 points, much less 8 or 10, AND get a dome on the hull. I have in FS-DS and in an unedited import in PC9 probably 20 control points on each station. The count is truly high, and it is also what is responsible for my horrid (unacceptable in the real world) fairing. Turning on PC9's curvature plot (and another tool that I think shows up for polylines but maybe not bsplines?) showed I had some truly abominable fairing which I apparently did not clean up in my FS-to-DS-back-to-FS fairing.

    The good news is that the hydros generally agree between FS-HS and PC9. It's not hard at all add a ruled surface or a mesh between stations.

    Despite the learning curve, I think that had I been more patient and had a youtube file, I might have given PC8/9 more of a go in 2008. I hope Marcus can reprogram the mouse/panning/rotation to not allow dynamic rotation via middle-clicking. I was also hoping that in the near future he can enable zooming without need of the control key, but I just (while typing this) realized that Flywheel 3.3 was running and that I had not put in the list to ignore PC9 (i use Flywheel to get extra scrolling functionality in some databases and spreadsheets programs that lacked left-right scrolling in the late 90's).

    Also, I hope PC9 can zoom or ballistically follow the mouse as i scroll up and down while panning. I'd like the hull to move toward my mouse as it does in ViaCAD so that my brain and hand stop trying to resynchronize when I task-switch.

    My next activity in PolyCAD 9 will be to try to scratch-build my hull as done in the youtube video. I did play with the boat shiplines boat, and I even exported a boat from FS-HS to import into PolyCAD to look at the various plots. But, if DXF is going to be a royal PITA, it may be vastly quicker to

    PolyCad has a nice model-to-sheet/project to sheet tool, and it nicely allows placing the sections vews above, between or to the right of the plan and profile views.

    It would be nice, though, if an imported DXF file can be "read/mapped" as a template or "skin" for a native PolyCad file and then the DXF discarded. I don't think I will try to do anything in PC9 with the meshes I exported from FS-HS. ViaCAD brings in all the meshes with their layer names and colors, and in ViaCAD, I can work on my hull in a rendered no... maybe shaded mode without any noticable lag or lighting problems. I cannot stand working in monochrome/black & white because I get "lost" in the surfaces and meshes if I cannot have color demarc more clearly where I actually am. I need to figure out how in PC9 to get colors of my DXF file to stay with the surfaces imported.
     

  14. CmbtntDzgnr
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    CmbtntDzgnr Senior Member

    Torb1,

    You may want to visit Punch!/Encore Software and download ViaCAD Pro v 7 or ViaCAD 2D/3D v 8 trial version. Even though VCP 7 is ~US $245 and VC 2D/3D is ~ US $80 (and even though each has a share of bugs/inconsistencies, which no program is free of), for non-complex naval hulls or yachts, you can probably do a lot with DXFs. I highly prize working in shaded mode so that as I "grow" my model, things stand out in color. If you carefully create faired stations in something like Freeship 3.24 or Delftship 4.3x or other packages, you can then use VCP for the "drafting/CAD" realm of things. Or, if you have access to the pricier packages (school programs tied to the US government's efforts to cultivate future naval architects from grade and high school , for example, if you're in the USA), then use that advantage.

    However, given today's crop of teens, i dare say that the Navy and many hydros CAD app developers are definitely in for a shock if they think that iPad/Android/SOF/CS/et al kids are going to tolerate highly constrictive design interfaces that make freeform-to-highly-reformed models difficult to use. Yes, you can import a sketch and add points around the sketch at various stations and buttocks, but how easy or painful or maddening an experience it its depends on the developers and the school and whomever is pushing one app over another. If you're self-teaching, and if you have time, you've GOT to spend maybe a few months sampling any demo version you can lay your hands on and try moving files between those apps when one app lacks features you need. You should not compromise on things such as:

    -- layers names being lost
    -- colors being lost
    -- attributes being lost
    -- curves being too tedious to create, edit, or modify to another line type

    whether it is a marine package or a CAD package. If you deal mostly in surfaces and have a small budget, I dare say that ViaCAD Pro is a better choice than AutoCAD for turning meshes into surfaces and those surfaces into solids, and obtaining mass and moments information from those solids. One office I know uses ACAD and even the drafters admit that ACAD is NOT good for trying to produce faired hulls nor to obtain solids/mass info, despite the presence of the "mass props" tool. To get weight estimates, I've seen drafters take 2D ACAD representations of plate steel and go by published values for lineal feet. They are conversant with that, and honestly, it is a good way to go when you're producing innumerable drawings and don't want to burn through hard drive space using 3D. Also, just a few (2 or 3) years ago, their clients simply did not appreciate a good 3D file of their vessels. But, depending on the app making a 3D file, space is not a major issue when the model is shared. A shared 3D model reduces a lot of abhorrent replication of files. One master model can serve many people if it is carefully built, safeguarded against wrong updates, and everyone is using a compatible tool that won't hose up the file's objects. So, when I was doing my own weight take-offs of models, I found it maddening to "estimate" weight from a 2D perspective/approach. I'd rather draw a polyline on it's path, extrude the surface or line associative to it as a tube or plate, and apply the materials and densities to get the mass, moments, and so on. ViaCAD's text-dump of such details pretty neatly goes right into a lay out you can use in a spreadsheet. Just add your own column headers. My periodic experience with ACAD is that the mass props dump produces a layout of mixed-matched rows and columns that one'd need a script to unravel. It drove me nuts in one office, but I was not permitted to help the task with ViaCAD, so I had to slog through it til that activity was over. To be fair to ACAD, I cannot recall experiencing "bugs", but i did and still do experience features that don't work how I am accustomed to in ViaCAD. In ViaCAD, I can easily produce stiffening (girders, stringers, sideshell stiffeners) and deck plates from solids. I do tend to have issues producing sideshell that I can thicken without ACIS tossing out error messages. However, PolyCAD's interface and tools have painfully pointed out my curves are still unacceptable for millimeter-level work in some parts of my model, and I'm constraining myself to the milimeter.

    Oh, a major annoyance about ACAD that does not exist in ViaCAD: one can with ease can USE (without mode-switching) metric and US imperial measurements. I can enter units, too. ACAD won't let a user in imperial define an object as a metric unit, although dimensions can be mixed. But, ACAD has a far more powerful (even if at times frustrating) layers management system. VCP's is somewhat simpler/simplistic, and the program is limited to single-letter/single-key shortcuts. ACAD allows multi-keystroke command shortcuts. (Edit: But, if you are able to get your hands (legitimately, I'm speaking) on the combo of ACAD & Ship Constructor, or on AutoShip, or others as an intern drafter in a yacht design firm, or in a ship yard, you can learn quite a lot in a real-world environment. If you're heading for naval architect, marine engineer, etc, then you'll be exposed to a large array of tools -- depending on the institution in which you enroll.)

    Anyway, what tools you end up using will be those you find, those you like, and those that are provided or given to you. It's not possible to be conversant and at the same time very proficient in numerous tools unless you are lucky to find multiple environments and spend lots of your own time doing side gigs that constantly keep you connected to those tools and their upgrades and training paths. I imagine most drafters/designers are fluent in 3-5 CAD packages before other tools crowd things out.
     
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