Chuck's Close Shave with Beziers

My company is having a difficult time locating a Vessel of Convienence for a water pipe job in the Virgin Islands. (It seems the oil fields are heating up again! Vessels are expensive or busy....not good!)

I am approached late Friday evening...."Can you trace over a drawing or picture with your PowerCADD program?"

"Yes...blink blink??"

"Good...I am e-mailing you right now a .jpeg of a faxed, blown up drawing nobody can read. We know the boat is 218' long x 44' wide and 36' between the bulwarks. How long will it take to trace over the drawing?"

"I dunno, couple hours?"

(Is this is a pain with that other program?)

"Really!!!? Well, we need it fast to see if our equipment will fit on deck. Scale drawings are in the mail but we can't wait four days. To hold the vessel for our job we must pay $2500.00/day. We don't want to pay for a vessel that won't hold our stuff! We have two days to make our decision or the boat is gone!!! We will be burning the weekend oil, can you get it to me tonight?"

"Yep!" I hang up the phone.....gulp...I was worried about the curves:


grayscale .jpg import

I get the .jpeg and import it into PC and play with the scale to make it fit on an 17 x 11. Then I squared it to the grid. All that is needed is a line drawing in plan and elevation and send it back in Autoxxx 2000. Then I start placing reference points at line intersections. The drawing is blurry and zooming doesn't really help much. As an ex-tug captain I could probably draw a supply boat from memory it was easy to fill in the missing details. I do all the straight stuff and finally come to the curvy part...I think they call it the bow.


There is only one tool that can make this shape. I know it is the Bezier tool. Even a higly trained and experienced architect I hired recently exclaimed: "I never use the Bezier Tool."


So there I am...big mouth Chuck...shoving PowerCADD down anyone's throat who will listen....with a boat drawing without a bow...and clueless to the next step.

So... I start playing with the tool. It was clear what was needed and obvious when things were not going the right way. I KIDD YOU NOT!!! took me FIVE MINUTES!!! of concentration to figger out how to draw a beautiful curve from the side shell to the bow that matches the existing curve!!! It is now one of my favorite tools!!!! SWEET!!!

Clean and sweet

Lest anyone think I am bragging...I'm not. I'm terribly excited that I can now draw virtually anything I can see. It's one thing to spend time on the computer, but it is quite another to be productive and get paid for it! Kudo's to whoever design the Bezier Tool!!!

My drawing was e-mailed last night and the right people are now free to calculate/plan accept or reject whatever the outcome is.

Seacor Freedom

So then I make the logical conclusion that Beziers might export to DesignWorkshop....Bezier doodle...convert to as DesignWorkshop....Open DW..import pict...Poooof!!! There it is. Vertical says 0. So I type in 30'...enter...Wahoo!

Ahhhhhhhh! Life is good!

Chuck Gallup


And almost exactly a year later, Chuck writes...


Posted by  Chuck Gallup on March 05, 2002

Where I work, CAD is a tool used to communicate ideas on and off the internet/network, to keep things organized, checking fits of this or that, and many, many what if's. Few of all the drawings produced ultimately find life on the shop floor. We use what we design and build. Our finished product is cable on the sea floor. Those finished drawings are done by a contracted far.

I performed the same job before CAD entered into our business. After CAD gained a foothold, my job remained the same. Now that I am directly involved in producing CAD drawings, my job is still the same.

The difference is, now, we produce less scrap, running off on tangents is reduced, precut parts arrive quicker and better and I can catch errors very fast. I don't know how things are "supposed to be", but loosing CAD as I use it today would be a step backwards.

While I was reflecting on your comments pasted below, I was struck by an anology and an idea describing my perspective:

Bill wrote:
"Coming from the old school where one did not try to represent detail that would not show up (or be visible and understandable) on the paper leads one to question the wisdom of expending drafting time and money on detail that can never be seen by the contractor or toolmaker."

Our laptops and CAD programs are like chalk boards...erased when the next great idea is presented. Collective ideas merge eventually into one grand scheme...The Borg.

In Excel you can embed notes. They don't print, yet you can click on the little triangle to reveal whatever the writer had in mind. Clever feature.

For us, every job is different in it's own peculiar way. We brainstorm alot. What if this, what if that? We create new stuff all the time. How sweet it would be to zoom way in to type text or paste sketches of plan a,b, c, etc.

I usually work @ 1:600 while drawing a typical cable barge layout. My peers work at 1:1. They can zoom in to a 16" Skookum wire snatch block lying on deck, filling the monitor screen and write the serial number and equipment ID# on it, and continue zooming right thru the zert fitting, if they choose. Too much of this, granted, you get the ink blot Rorshack Test. (sp?) I haven't seen inkblot prints in Pcadd (because of the zoom limitation is my guess) but in AC all the time!...unreadable quickie prints. That's not the goal either.

My point:

I used to think a good persimmon driver would be found in every good golfers bag. Now, you can hardly find one. Old school thinking.

As an Old School Thinker, Bill, is it so terrible that others productively use your program differently than you had imagined?

What if Pcadd had an incredable zoom range?? Control over what prints and what doesn't?? With the expressed purpose of embedding text and drawing information knowing full well it won't print, nor should it. Yet this info could be sent down the internet highway. You could select all this miniature data, copy and paste and make a drawing if needed.

My hope is you will post back (as usual) replying this is already possible using some tool I've yet to figgered out...LOL

BTW....I hope I'm not coming off as a sniveler...Just trying to give positive feedback...I love the program.

Thanks to: practice, study, this forum, ES's fantastic support, Steve Muzon's book, a great Pcadd program and doing it wrong enough times.....I was approached by the owner yesterday who inquired why my drawings looked so much better than the AC guy who has been knuckle deep into ac stuff for the last 7 years and drawing for 20. I shrugged. He then instructed me to teach him. I winked:-) Thank heaven I didn't learn the Dark Side.

Life is is slow...but life is still good:-)



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