Friday, January 28, 2011

Can Archicad be used in ship design?

Can I use Archicad to design marine structure such as cruise ship the Oasis of the Seas? Archicad is a BIM software that is usually used by architects for designing houses, and buildings. The latest version is Archicad 14. I personally used to try the software to design simple floor plan for a small house. What I really like about this cad software is that we can create 2D drawings simultaneously with the 3D drawings of the house that we are designing. To visualize our concept house from 2D to 3D, we only need to click view in 3D and within a few seconds we can see how the house will look like. Archicad also has a lot of items in its library from furniture items such as tables, chairs and beds to home construction components such as windows, doors and stairs. Another software that is the competitor of Archicad is Revit Architecture. Revit is developed by Autodesk a giant CAD software company whereas Archicad is by Graphisoft.
After studying the Archicad tutorials for a few months, I conclude that this BIM software can only be used for visualising the interior of ship. It is not suitable for designing hull form due to various technical aspects such as resistance and propulsion, hydrostatic and stability calculation that Archicad does not have. Archicad can calculate how much material that will be needed, for example, for building a wooden house in cubic meter. But it cannot calculate that center of gravity of the ship and center of buoyancy of the submerged hull of a vessel. Although Archicad can create very beautiful interior design of a suite room of a cruise ship such as the Oasis of the Seas or the Allure of the Seas, it is lack of features that are vital in ship design.
So, if you are asked to design the interior part of a cruise ship, then it is ok to use Archicad. But if you are asked to do the basic design of a hull form including her hydrostatic and resitance as well as propulsion properties, then I must recommend other software that can do the job for you. They are Maxsurf, Delfship or CATIA. If you don't want to spend money on buying the license of the software, an alternative solution is Freeship. Delftship and Freeship have similar interface. The professional version of Delftship has more complicated features for calculating damaged stability of a ship. I personally have used Delftship and written some tutorials or explanation in this blog. You can find them in this blog. I like Delfship because although its size is small it can be used to create hull form complete with the hydrostatic feature of the ship.  by Charles Roring
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