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Modeling Software Preserves Historic Ship

Published: Monday, July 5, 2004 - 22:00

After he’s done with his daily duties as an electronics manufacturing service engineer, Bill Clarke uses his skills in creating workstations and computers to re-create a piece of American history.

Clarke uses CoCreate Software’s OneSpace Designer Modeling solution to model the U.S.S. Constitution, the fabled “Old Ironsides” built in the 1790s. He’s worked since 1995 as a volunteer draftsman, recreating master drawings of the Constitution’s design that have either been lost or need to be duplicated for the historical record. Each of the detailed drawings--all of which are created electronically--take hundreds of hours to render. In the nearly 10 years he’s been working on the project, Clarke has logged more than 3,500 hours on the effort. His completed drawings are included in the national archives in Washington, D.C., as well as naval periodicals.

Clarke says Designer Modeling’s unique features make creating the drawings simple. The program offers history-free, or dynamic, modeling different from other 3-D CAD software products.

“This may sound funny when we’re talking about reconstructing historical naval design, but the last thing I want to worry about is being limited by history-based modeling,” Clarke says. “Designer Modeling has enabled me to recreate a complex set of designs on a project where every detail is critical. Without the flexibility of dynamic modeling, I couldn’t have accomplished what I have.”

Creating the drawings for the Constitution required working from original plans as well as taking the ship’s physical measurements. Clarke is able to physically measure the ship’s knees (the supporting braces used for strength where two parts are joined) and then recreate them in 3-D with Designer Modeling. He’s also modeled the fighting top platforms at each mast where sharpshooters would fire at enemy vessels. Such drawings, he says, are essential when a historical ship needs repairs.

The 44-gun-rated warship is now a naval museum in Boston. For more information, go to www.cocreate.com.


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