2D to 3D Modelling

I wrapped up a series of spooling models yesterday, all sorts of piping systems sprawling over an 87m, 5 deck hull.

The problem that the company I did the job for faced had to do with their need for a digital twin, a concept I see coming up more and more in boat design software. The structural drawings were in AutoCad, and apparently their software package can not export a 3D model. Which of course proved to be a serious complication for the systems designers on a vessel comprising this many decks and compartments. My initial job for them was to create a full structural 3D solid model of all frames, decks and longitudinals (a story in it’s own). This model was then given to the spooling designers.

And then the same thing happened, the piping systems were delivered in AutoCad, in the form of (mostly) plan views and isometric fabrication drawings. Where I once again imported all the AutoCad drawings into 3D and used them as reference to model up all the piping runs, flanges and valves. I didn’t do any clash detection as this was not part of my scope of work – thankfully although as my models were all solids this would have been straightforward. For the piping runs I once again used Fusion 360 and was pleasantly surprised by the dwg and dxf import options. For dwg, each layer imports as a new sketch, named after that layer. And you can then toggle visibility by sketch/layer. After the initial dwg import and I had begun working I found some information had not imported as I had not exploded the dwg. prior to import. Interestingly, I now had to insert a dxf as a new sketch as there seems to be no way to import more than one dwg into one part. From then on I was careful to watch out for 2 things: organize the layers in AutoCad very carefully first, and make sure that everything – including text – is exploded first, or it will not import.

After I had modeled up the pipe runs I inserted all flanges and valves from a library I had created. I find the way that Fusion allows you to treat a multi-component, multi-body model as an assembly very effective, no need to first insert the part into an assembly. So I could continue to model up while inserting flanges into the model as I went.

Then it was a quick Step file export, and I mean seriously quick, thanks to the Autodesk servers I guess. And I was done.

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