Monday 6 February 2023

Rhino Vessel Hull Design and Fairing Training

Fair hull for production for Fr. Fassmer GmbH&Co.KG by RhinoCentre

More than a decade ago, naval architect and RhinoCentre founder Gerard Petersen, developed the "Hull Design and Fairing training for Rhino". In the development of this training, which started in 2012, he was supported by maritime Rhino specialists Tobias Nagel and Bas Goris.

The aim for this training, was to teach the industry about the following themes: Class-A Fairing – Final Design – Fairing for Production – Hull Optimization – Reverse Engineering – Hull from GA/ Lines-Plan – Advanced Analysis – Modeling Strategies – Developable Hulls

The learned lessons have to be applicable to a wide variety of types of vessel hulls of Ships, Yachts, Workboats and Multihulls. More than 10 years later, we can conclude that this has been successful as many vessels since then have been designed, engineered and manufactured based on the teachings.

The development of the training lead to three training modules, that were carefully published in three booklets:

For many years, this training was mostly delivered in-company to shipyards and design offices, mostly in the Netherlands. But also to Chantiers Piriou in France for example. However, many companies don't have that many employees to be trained in these specific competences of vessel hull modeling, fairing and reverse engineering. Also many people around the world were interested in this training but did not want to spend too much time and money on traveling to our training center in the Netherlands.

For that reason we developed an online self-study training of the three training modules. This is offered since October 2017 on the RhinoCentre website training pages. Up to January 2023, more than 150 people followed the online training.

However, we found out that many trainees never finished the training due to busy schedules in the company and busy private lives. Therefore we added the 'Live Sessions' variant in May 2020. With four additional live sessions of two hours each via online Zoom. Then the trainees follow and finish the training within one month and that became very successful. The trainees are always very enthusiastic about the interactive live sessions and it motivates them to finish the training.

For Fr. Fassmer GmbH&Co.KG, RhinoCentre did the fine fairing of the hull of a pair of survey vessels.
Image © Fr. Fassmer GmbH&Co.KG

In the live sessions, the trainees learn how the training is set up and they can ask questions when they run into problems with finishing the exercises. Trainees are allowed to send in their own hull projects and then it is nice to teach more about these specific shapes and strategies to become successful in modeling and fairing. Also it is a pleasure to show more Rhino functionality like:
The advantage of the online training is that one person of a shipyard anywhere in the world can follow the training and use the competences in their office or shipyard. This lead to many satisfied trainees. Also some companies hired RhinoCentre to teach their team in an online in-company training. This can be useful when the trainees of that company like to share confidential projects.

In this training we've had trainees from one man companies, like kayak builders, up to well known shipyards and design offices with hundreds of employees. What we like is that the whole industry embraced Rhino as a professional tool for vessel hull design, fairing and reverse engineering.

Some of the companies that attended the training are:

Monday 9 January 2023

Shine Your Light on Grasshopper


Shine Your Light on Grasshopper

Underwater Lights™ Limited invited RhinoCentre to offer a Rhino Level 1 Training. As their office is South of London in the UK, I was happy to travel to them and offer a training to two of their employees.

Underwater Lights™ Limited manufactures underwater lighting that is mostly installed on mega yachts. For designing a lighting plan layout, they used often 2D top view, This way they spread out the lights in such a way that the light is evenly distributed. Underwater Lights™ Limited develops their lights, which they call inserts, with 3D Solid Works and also manufactures them inhouse. As you can image, today all the inserts contain LEDs.

They want to use Rhino to start designing lighting layouts in 3D Rhino based on a 3D model of the yacht hull. During the Rhino Level 1 training, that focuses on manual modeling, I found out that positioning the inserts at a specific position on the yacht hull is very labor intensive and repetitive work that is prone to errors. Therefore I decided to develop a simple script with Grasshopper that does the job in an automated way. At the 3rd day of the training, the script was doing a part of the job, still together with some manual modeling work.

After the training, RhinoCentre received a budget to develop the script further into an integral design tool. The total job took 53 hours of which 46.5 hours was for scripting.

Some aspects of the Grasshopper Script:

  • The end result creates the positioning of the inserts in a 3D hull shape at the proper orientation.
  • All the light insert data parameters are managed in a spreadsheet. The script reads and writes from this spreadsheet. In the spreadsheet, each insert can be specified individually: the position, light direction, and type of insert.
  • Most challenging was to script the different orientations in a robust way in all circumstances and types of ship hull models:
    • First creating a line normal to the ship hull shape at the specific light insert position.
    • Then orienting the desired weld orientation of the insert in the hull. As the front face of the insert has an angle, it is possible to rotate beam of light to another direction. When the orientation is 0 degrees, the insert has to be horizontal at any position in the hull shape.
    • As most inserts have a ball clamp for the LED, it is possible to orient the LED between 0 and 20 degrees in any direction.
    • To program all these degrees of freedom in any circumstance is quite challenging
  • The script writes the X,Y, Z coordinates of each insert to the spreadsheet.
  • Some overall parameters of the design are set in the script.
  • The script show in Rhino the inserts, the light ray direction and a hull section at each insert position. Also a light cone shows the dispersion of the light.
  • Editing parameters in the spreadsheet, results in an update calculation time between 5 to 10 seconds which is very reasonable.
Shine your light on Grasshopper and contact RhinoCentre when you like to automate your Rhino workflow.

The Grasshopper preview in Rhino 

The Grasshopper script

The Spreadsheet with all the light inserts data and the library of insert types

Monday 26 November 2018

Botnica Vessel as a Luminous 3D Print

Let go is the only way to find the glow

a little story

TS Shipping LTD. ordered a 3D print of their well-known ice breaking vessel Botnica. 

Compared to beautiful 'old skool' scale models of ships and yachts, I believe that just a 3D print is limited and I wanted to add something special to the 3D print. However I didn't had a good idea so I decided to just continue and keep faith in the outcome.

As the real multi purpose Botnica contains a main crane and main crane support that can be removed for more deck space, it was decided that these parts can also be removed on the 3D print. The same counts for the moonpool top- and bottom covers which are removable parts as well as the aft block cover which is removed for towing operations. Last to mention is that the two Azipods are rotatable, as they are in reality. But still I wanted to add something more, but what?
The 3D print is intended for promotional purposes of this versatile ship. It was decided to print the 97 meter long ship at a scale of 1:250 in nylon. This results in a print of 395 mm long.
With a scale model of 1:250, details with a size of 250 mm will result in 1 mm print size. This is the minimum size for free standing details in this type of nylon print which means that some details will not be printed as they are too small. Or they have to be thickened to be strong enough for printing. 
When it comes to preparing a 3D model for 3D printing, a couple of steps have to be completed in the following order:
  1. Make a decision about the scale of the print. This depends mostly on the maximum printer size and desirable price of the 3D print. The bigger the more expensive as you pay mostly the print powder volume.
  2. Decide which small details have to be printed and make them thicker when necessary
  3. Model the hull, superstructure and details in 3D. Especially the shape of the unique ice breaking hull was quite challenging.
  4. Adding a 1 mm wall thickness is neccessary to minimize the cost of the 3D print as the printing price is mostly determined by the print powder volume. This means that a solid print would become way too expensive. However, to model a wall thickness is quite laborious as the total model should be one single watertight closed solid polysurface from a 3D modeling perspective.
  5. Several frames have to be added to strengthen large span surfaces like the deck and sides of the hull.
  6. Creating openings for removing the non printed nylon powder.
  7. Connecting the separate parts (main crane, crane support, Azipods etc.) to the main model with two small connection rods. These parts can be cut loose with a sharp knife at a later time. This minimizes the printing cost as it is considered 'one print' by the 3D print supplier.
  8. Meshing the model and export as an STL file.
At this point, also due to delay in the delivery deadline, I decided to give up on 'something special' for the 3D print. Therefore, the print was ordered at Shapeways and turned out problematic. During shipping, the front part of the heli-deck was damaged. Also several tiny details of trusses were broken during the cleaning of the 3D print. As the printer builds the 3D print up in layers of nylon powder, after the printing process, excess printing powder has to be removed with air pressure. This cleaning and other handling can damage small parts. The 3D printing service company Shapeways was very supportive and immediately offered a free reprint of this valuable print.
As I was examining the 3D print, I found out that a lot of excess nylon powder was still in the 3D print as Shapeways discontinued full cleaning after disapproval of the print.
Then I decided to use an LED light to find out how much and where the excess powder was located. It struck me how nice the light was illuminating the 3D print. It was then that I had the idea to add LED lights to the base to illuminate the 3D print. So this is the story to get to a unique and special result!

It was great pleasure to receive the second 3D print and finish it for the patient client TS Shipping LTD. They are very happy with it and want more!

Tuesday 13 June 2017

Rhino Solution for Den Breejen

Early 2017, Den Breejen Shipyard asked RhinoCentre for a Rhinoceros solution. The idea was to kickstart the integration of Rhino 3D in early ship design and presentation. Another objective is to use the exterior surfaces for engineering in Nupas software. Possible future applications are hull modeling and fairing and using Scan&Solve for strength analysis of details.
Our solution was:
  1. Supplying only necessary software:
    1. Rhinoceros for modeling.
    2. Flamingo for rendering.
  2. Modeling and visualizing a new design of a passenger vessel.
  3. Hand over the 3D model and lighting setup.
  4. Offering Rhino Level 1 training.
As Den Breejen already uses AutoCAD and Nupas for engineering the structure of the hull, Rhino is an efficient intermediate between the 2D general arrangement plan and detailed engineering with Nupas. The idea is that Rhino is used to model 3D designs of the exterior and parts of interior like a staircase, or a guest cabin.
The designs can be presented to the client with Flamingo renderings. Exterior surfaces of the hull and superstructure can be exported to Nupas for further engineering of the ship structure.

In order to kickstart the modeling and visualization, RhinoCentre modeled a new design of a passenger vessel. This was based on an existing rough 3D hull, a 2D general arrangement plan and 3D Nupas model of a previous design.
Advantages for Den Breejen of doing this job for them were:
  • Giving an example of the level of detail of the 3D model for an attractive visualization.
  • Modeling several library objects for future projects like: wheel house, radar masts, deck furniture etc.
  • Show a practical example of model management and layer set up.
  • Setting up attractive lighting and materials for Flamingo rendering.
  • Providing some renderings that can be shown to the client.
After the Level 1 training, which was offered to four Den Breejen employees, the 3D model of the passenger vessel was handed over and tested on a computer of Den Breejen in order to check a proper setup. This proved to be successful.

Are you interested in a tailor made solution?
Please contact us.

To complete this post, we were told that two Den Breejen employees modeled a new design of a passenger ship themselves in a time span of three weeks. This 3D model contained even more details than the vessel that we modeled for Den Breejen Shipyard.  

Monday 15 May 2017

Unity for Dockwise Float-on Operation

RhinoCentre supported the Dockwise engineering team in creating a Unity 'Interactive Environment' to visualize the float-on operation of the Moho Nord FPU 'Likouf' onto the Vanguard heavy lift vessel.

For this, 3D models of both the Vanguard and the FPU were prepared in Rhino and then exported to the Unity Game Editor.

As the transport is done safe and successful, we are happy to be able to share our small contribution to this unique achievement of Dockwise.

The Unity Virtual Environment, enabled Dockwise to install it on any laptop in order to discuss and present several hotspots of the operation. This means that anyone can navigate in the 3D environment shown in the demonstration below.

An important notice is that the movie below shows an initial design of the operation that lead to the final design of the operation. As you can see in the Boskalis Dockwise movie at the top of this post, the final casing positions were different for example.

Read more about the transport in this Boskalis' article.

Thank you Boskalis - Dockwise for the opportunity to collaborate in this project and also being able to share our efforts in this blog post.

Wednesday 10 May 2017

Ship Hull from a Linesplan with Rhino

Rhino hull surface overlay on real vessel

A common demand in the maritime industry is to create a fair 3D vessel hull shape from an existing linesplan. For that reason, RhinoCentre developed a method to do this in Rhino. 
This article explains the method developed by RhinoCentre.

Wednesday 2 December 2015

3D printing of an artificial reef in sandstone for Boskalis

For the Monaco Larvotto Reserve, Boskalis developed an artificial reef. Six of these objects were placed at the seabed in October 2015. The purpose is to stimulate bio diversity with objects that are 100% non toxic for the environment. The size of the objects is roughly 2 x 2 x 1 meter with a weight of approx. 2,5 tons.

Very special about this project is the 3D printing of sandstone technology, developed by Enrico Dini of Dinitech. The printing material is a mix of Dolomite sand and a marine safe binding agent that reacts on salt water which results in the creation of sandstone.

RhinoCentre was asked to be part of the design team for modeling the 3D object. Depending on the shape and design input, there are several strategies to get to a high quality 3D model. In this particular case, it was decided to use T-Splines for Rhino for subdivision modeling of an organic shape that is easy editable. Another challenge is that the printer is not "What you see is what you get" as the material thickness varies. This means that holes become smaller and columns become larger after printing.

Read more about this project in this nice Boskalis article.

Arrival of Reef objects in Monaco

Monday 12 October 2015

Powerful Ship Hull Design in Rhino with Rapid Hull Modeling Methodology

This is a powerful way to design and generate any vessel hull in Rhino3d, by creating a few master curves which describe the stem, stern, mainframe etc. This methodology is applicable to ships, yachts, boats, workboats and multi hulls.
As the input curves are the DNA of the resulting shape, you can exchanges curves for other curves to make variations of the shape. This is a very important feature to manage your hull design well. Furthermore it is always possible to fair the hull surface later with direct control point manipulation.

  • Easy to the edit shape and size later by using the ‘record history’ feature 
  • Systematic variations possible by exchanging input curves
  • Fair single surface hull 
  • Fast generation of new concepts 
  • High quality bulbous bow and parallel midship section 
  • Free
  • Posibility to parametrize the design with scripts
    • Singularities are possible when two or more control points of the surface are at the same position
    • More difficult to use than Orca3d for sailboat, planing hull and ship without bulbous bow

      Grasshopper Parametric Ship Hull Modeling

      Parametric hull modeling for concept design, requires a flexible and versatile approach. Rhino enables this in combination with Grasshopper scripting.
      Another new application is to create a systematic variation of a ship hull for CFD calculations to find the design with a minimum resistance.

      We are proud to publish two ways to model and design ship hulls with free open source Grasshopper scripts. The two scripts that are published enable you to model a bulbous bow and pram aft body type hull with a press of a button. Both solutions are based on our Rapid Hull Modeling Methodology which is the manual way to design a ship hull in Rhino.

      The first solution (01 RapidHullFullyParametric.GH) is only a script which contains a fully parameterized hull in which also the loft curves are scripted. This is a more academic script that optimizes the design of one type of ship hull. For this you only have to open a new Rhino session and then activate the script. For modeling other ship types you have to fully understand the hull definition in the script and this is not so easy.

      The second solution is a combination of a Rhino file (02 RapidHullPartlyParametric) that contains the loft curves as well as a script (02 RapidHullPartlyParametric) that contains the rest of the solution. The idea here is that the physical Rhino loft curves are input for the lofting in the script. The advantage of this script is that you can create easily new ship type solutions by modifying or even replacing the loft curves. In the Rhino file you'll find several ship types.

      The first script is the result of a collaboration of the following people from their respective companies and organisations:
      • Bas Goris, GustoMSC, started the quest for Rhino hull modeling methods
      • Phil Shapiro, Cadlantique, presented the loose loft 3d curve technique
      • Bart van Oers, TU Delft, put this Rapid Hull Modeling methodology in Rhino Script
      • Julien le Rouzic, GustoMSC, converted the Rhino Script into a Grasshopper Script
      • Gerard Petersen, RhinoCentre, added real time lines plan and displacement functionality

      For us it is important that you share your experiences, changes and additions to the script. So please send them to us and we can learn from you!

      Tuesday 6 October 2015

      Lapstrake boat hull in Rhino with Grasshopper

      Model and design lapstrake boat hulls like this viking ship with Rhino and Grasshopper scripts.
      Modeling lapstrake hulls in 3D is actually quite challenging. When they are modeled by hand, it is very time consuming to edit the shape at a later time. In order to create more flexibility, a Grasshopper script makes it possible to easily edit the shape and also instantly see some hydrostatics and a linesplan.

      Try out yourself by downloading the zip file which contains a Rhino file as well as three different scripts:
      1. lapstrake-no overlap is the script of the video. Strakes do not overlap.
      2. lapstrake-no overlap-GRP is a script that creates a hull with a smooth inner skin.
      3. lapstrake-overlap is a script that actually creates strakes that overlap. However this doesn't result in perfect solutions.

      Demonstration movie of modeling lapstrake hulls with Grasshopper

      Drawing of a Viking ship that is used as reference

      Thursday 22 August 2013

      3d PDF plugin for Rhino from Simlab

      A picture tells a thousand words – a 3D model even more!

      Wouldn't it be great to be able to rotate this image and fly through the yacht?
      See for yourself after downloading the 3d-PDF of this design to your computer and opening it with Adobe Reader for example.

      Mind you that a 3d-PDF doesn't work in a web browser. It only works after downloading and opening the 3d-PDF in Adobe Reader for example.

      The Simlab 3d PDF plugin for Rhino is a perfect plugin to send a 3d model of your design to your customer.  The advantage is that you don't give your 3d model away and it is easy to use.

      At RhinoCentre we tested this plugin and created a nice workflow that takes advantage of the features of the 3d-PDF.

      Contact RhinoCentre for training if you like to learn our workflow.

      Test the plugin for free at Simlab or buy directly for $99.

      Tuesday 6 August 2013

      MARIN integrates Rhino in their process for hull and propeller modeling.

      This page comes from the Marin Report Newsletter of Jan. 2013.

      The Dutch Maritime Research Institute (MARIN) is currently developing several plugins for Rhino for internal use. These plugins will be used for modeling ship hulls, propellers, appendages etc. These models are input for CNC milling and advanced CFD analysis.
      One of these plugins will replace their current inhouse software 'GMS' for modeling ship hulls,  which has been in development for over 20 years.
      RhinoCentre is happy to support Marin in this sensitive process as accurate 3d models are the starting point for any analysis at Marin. By offering software, training and consultancy RhinoCentre has hands on experience in the high tech demands of Marin. 

      Offering knowledge to MARIN is something we are proud at!

      Friday 5 April 2013

      RhinoCentre supports Dutch Shipbuilding

      Dutch shipyards build or finished a wide variety of commercial vessels in 2012. RhinoCentre serves 50% of these shipyards with software, training, services or consultancy. This list doesn't show our involvement in the yacht industry, marine suppliers and ship designers. Not to mention our involvement in other industries like architecture, industrial design, jewelry etc.

      The 'Infographic' down below shows an overview of these shipyards. The original image was published in the March 2013 issue of magazine SWZ Maritime. This adapted image is published with permission of SWZ Maritime. The total list you can find over here.

      Friday 7 October 2011

      RhinoCentre at 3d printing event

      RhinoCentre is partner of the 3d printing event in Eindhoven during the Dutch Design Week in the Netherlands.
      Together with Rinus Roelofs and Gijs de Zwart we will show that Rhinoceros is one of the best software tools to create 3d models for 3d printing. During the exhibition we will show 3d print examples which were made with Rhino models. Also we will give a presentation during the seminar to show what Rhino 3d can mean for 3d printing.

      Please visit us at Tuesday 25 October 2011 at the 3d printing event.

      Register now for the exhibition (free) or the seminar (€95,-).

      RhinoCentre modeled the 3d model  for this 3d print of a Diving Offshore Construction Support Vessel for Shipyard de Hoop. The 3d print was very detailed.

      Rinus Roelofs is experimenting with 3d printing for several years now. His models are also printed in all sorts of exotic materials, like titanium, concrete etc.

      Gijs de Zwart models mostly industrial design. Also he's active at Shapeways to manufacture and sell 3d prints. 

      Monday 26 September 2011

      10 Years of Rhino in Ship and Yacht Design

      For a Dutch Magazine called SWZ Maritime, I wrote this article in Dutch about 10 years of Rhino software in ship and yacht design.
      Published with the permission of SWZ Maritime.

      Monday 12 September 2011

      Bridge Design with Grasshopper for Rhino

      Royal Haskoning bridge design

      The Westzanerpolderbrug in Zaanstad in the Netherlands was designed by Royal Haskoning a few years ago. When I offered a Rhino training to Royal Haskoning Architects, I developed a Grasshopper script which is roughly based on this design. With this script I showed the flexibility and power of Grasshopper in bridge design. The time to script this bridge was approximately six hours.


      Try out yourself by downloading the zip file containing both the Rhino model and the Grasshopper script. The Rhinomodel includes the handrail post curve. 


      Demonstration movie of the Bridge script