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Old August 22 2008, 04:08 PM   #103
Eric Cheung
Fleet Captain
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Re: Visual Proof a Resdesign is a good thing

Cary L. Brown wrote: View Post
For me... the idea of engine nacelles being generally cylindrical makes perfect sense. The idea of having them be mounted at a distance from the hull makes perfect sense. The idea of not having lots of nooks and crannies (aka "stress concentrators") in the exterior of each principle section makes perfect sense. The idea of having two separate hull sections makes perfect sense as well. And the logic behind having as little on the outside (read "in a hostile environment") of the ship as possible is, I think, unassailable.
From what we've seen they seems to be maintained as design elements.
Cary L. Brown wrote: View Post
If I were going back and redesigning the 1701 with MJ back in the 1960s...What I WOULD do is make the pylons about two and a half times longer, but with the same thickness,and keep the (structurally-most-practical) rectangular cross-section. They're essentially BEAMS, after all... the strongest beam is the shortest one, all other matters being equal. Put it in at an angle and you've got a longer... read WEAKER... beam! Make it wider in cross-section (ie, along the length of the vessel) and you dramatically increase the structure's strength with even a small increase.

As for the primary-to-secondary "dorsal" interconnect... this is really a pretty bad design, honestly... if I were redoing that from scratch, I'd have TWO "dorsals"... going from the centerline of the secondary hull upwards, at angles, to intersect the saucer in two locations. That would result in any bending moments between the primary and secondary hulls resulting in only tension or compression in the dorsals, not in torsion at a narrow joint! (I also think that this would have given a design which would be every bit as reminiscent of "tall ship" sailing vessels, and would have had a nice parallel between the dorsals and the engine nacelle pylons.)
Well, that seems like it look off, even if it's a more realistic design. I think that form can't completely follow function in the case of a ship representing the United Federation of Planets. It is after all supposed to represent the Federation and Earth. To that end it makes sense that it convey the aesthetic sensibilities of its citizens as well as its functional engineering expertise. There will always be a Tom Paris that wants to put fins on a Delta Flyer and a Tuvok that argues that it diminishes warp field efficiency by some fraction of a percent. It's just a matter of balancing those design economics.

And another point I thought of that places the TOS ship at least some time in the past in terms of sci-fi design. The blinkies that don't seem to have much of a function. I liked what "In a Mirror Darkly, Part II" did with the computers by ret-conning them into sort of ENT's computers with TOS's color scheme.

Also, in terms of design modernism generally reflects a movement that lasts from the industrial revolution to the 1950s and 60s (modernism in art has a starting point of a century earlier). After that it begins to fade as post-modernism takes over. Ironically post-modernism is a movement that focuses a lot more on form, in large part because of the technology available. Designers can afford to spend some more time spreading their wings, or pylons, creatively.
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