Building The Enterprise Refit

Discussion in 'Fan Art' started by DanGovier, Mar 5, 2020.

  1. DanGovier

    DanGovier Commander Red Shirt

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    It's been quite a while since I last looked at my Refit project, and having spent the past couple of years working on other things I really wanted to give the old girl a bit of love. I'm planning something a little different this time though, so I figured I'd start a new thread for it :)

    Something I'm really enjoying at the moment is watching SpaceX build and test their Starship prototypes in realtime via live streams, and I keep imagining how incredible it would be to watch the Enterprise being built from scratch in a similar way. So with that in mind, what I'm going to do is build the Refit from the ground up piece by piece, installing hardware, running cables and testing ship systems.

    To kick the process off let's take a look at the internal framework. I'm starting with the rim of the saucer, which is formed using a single continuous piece of tritanium alloy for strength;
    [​IMG]

    Radial tritanium beams are then connected to this frame to form both the internal structure and also attachment points for the outer hull:
    [​IMG]

    The individual beams are connected together with a series of bolts, not unlike naval ship construction, however this framework will later be reinforced with a structural integrity field before any loads are placed on the structure:
    [​IMG]

    The concave underside of the saucer will house the critical battery and power management hardware, as this region of the ship is heavily protected and only visible in a direct line of sight from below the vessel;
    [​IMG]

    The outer hull panels are undergoing fit tests, but will be removed again to allow for the installation of internal ship hardware. While they are in place however, the beautiful lines of the saucer are already evident;
    [​IMG]

    Further updates coming soon! :)
     
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  2. Fred617

    Fred617 Ensign Red Shirt

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    What an awesome and original idea. It looks amazing. What are modeling in? 3D Max?
     
  3. DanGovier

    DanGovier Commander Red Shirt

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    All the base modelling is done in Sketchup, which I then run through Blender to make game-ready before importing into Unreal Engine. All the shots are realtime Ray Traced :)
     
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  4. Fred617

    Fred617 Ensign Red Shirt

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    So the final composite is in Unreal Engine...that’s pretty cool. Just a thought, they probably wouldn’t put the NCC number on the vessel until the outer hull was completed. But, who knows, maybe it’s easier to paint during the manufacturing process than it is in open space.
     
  5. DanGovier

    DanGovier Commander Red Shirt

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    Yeah that's a fair point, I just left it there for prettyness :P
     
  6. Professor Moriarty

    Professor Moriarty Dice Admiral Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    You're insane.

    More please. :D
     
  7. BK613

    BK613 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    An amazing amount of artistry with impeccable detailing.

    My only criticism would be that, with the advent of computer-aided design and computer-controlled fabrication, we don't build large ships rib-by-rib any more. Modern construction methods revolve around "grand blocks," which are large sub-assemblies constructed elsewhere before being put together in a Lego-like manner at the dry dock. For example, the hull of the USS G.R. Ford consists of dozens of these blocks, each built separately in a bottom to top order, moved to the dry dock, and lifted and welded into place. Even the island was constructed (and painted) separately before being lifted into place.

    I would expect a similar process for Star Fleet's shipbuilding...
     
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  8. DanGovier

    DanGovier Commander Red Shirt

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    Thanks, that's a fascinating insight actually. My own CAD approach is actually based around a single segment of the saucer at the moment, which is copy/pasted in a circle within Unreal Engine to create is full circular structure. So this...

    [​IMG]

    After a lot of cleaning up, becomes this...

    [​IMG]

    Each radial segment could easily be imagined as a separate prefabricated piece. I've been trying to keep the framework as solid and continuous as possible with a minimal amount of joins, but when you factor in the internal layout it creates a number of triangular beam pieces that look like they should be bolted together, like this:

    [​IMG]

    I've been working on the principle that the various large pieces are factory-made and then bolted together in the drydock.
     
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  9. Professor Moriarty

    Professor Moriarty Dice Admiral Premium Member

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    I love stuff like this.

    Just curious: is it your intention to use the finished model in any stills/video, or are the “construction project photos” the entire raison d’etre? I’m just wondering whether you’re assembling a copy of this in parallel that doesn’t include the memory overhead of the internal superstructure that you won’t be able to see once the ship’s skin is sealed...?
     
  10. DanGovier

    DanGovier Commander Red Shirt

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    The main reason I'm doing this in Unreal Engine is so that I can explore the ship in VR, and use that to make a series of YouTube videos as a bit of an engineering study. For example, performing a full cold start from a first person perspective... initiating the deuterium flows and getting the M/AM reaction up and running, etc. I want every button, switch or lever to have a purpose and an affect on the ship.

    The internal superstructure will remain in place, because I've built the ship in a modular way so you can show/hide individual decks as desired. I'll be using this to make deck plans when the layouts are done.

    It's not as heavy as you might think though because Unreal Engine has fantastic built in mesh LODs, so most meshes quickly go down to 50% of their original poly count without any visual impact. And things like the bolts are only rendered up to about 20m away, and even then their poly count is reduced by range. All the pictures I've posted so far are realtime ray traced at an average of 70fps, and if I turn off ray tracing and use Screen Space alternatives I get 120+fps. The beauty of game engines :D
     
  11. BK613

    BK613 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This Youtube video (playtime 8:16) is better at showing what I lack the eloquence to explain. Well worth the look (and at half speed and muted, you'll see more detail):

    Time lapse of the AIDAprima build
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2020
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  12. Psion

    Psion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Fascinating! And thank you for posting this; it will be useful for a "wet navy" ship that I'm due to revisit this summer for a friend's upcoming roleplaying game.

    It's also interesting to note that the ship's frame wasn't laid down first. The ship was built out of modules, almost Lego-style which included the framing. Most surprising was the "aztec pattern" evident on many surfaces prior to priming and painting! I had the sense they were coatings, or maybe sections that were worked on with grinders so that the surface varied in rectangular patches.
     
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  13. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Admiral Premium Member

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    Beautiful! And welcome back! :)
     
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  14. DanGovier

    DanGovier Commander Red Shirt

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    Oh wow, this is amazing thanks! Basically this video is exactly what I want to do with the Refit build, especially at 1:08 with the machinery being dropped in and 6:06 with the internal build work. I'm actually looking forward to running miles of cables... I'm weird like that.
     
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  15. Rekkert

    Rekkert Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Great to see you back here and working on the refit mate! The new start looks awesome, and I love your idea of a construction piece by piece, it's just the right kind of insanity hahaha. :)
     
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  16. BK613

    BK613 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm glad it will be useful, and i wish your friend the best of luck in that endeavor.
    Yes, the subassemblies are built indoors for the most part (although the observant viewer will notice some smaller units being assembled aft of the fantail before being lifted into place.) Indoors means weather is less of a factor for the build overall. You can see the video jump inside for 10 seconds around 0:33.
    I can completely understand the quirkiness to want to do something like this and you definitely evidence the skills necessary to pull it off.
    It's not really evident in this video but you might also keep in mind that the cabins are also prefab and each is installed as an individual unit.
     
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  17. ashefivekay

    ashefivekay Captain Captain

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    Glad to see you back at it! :)
     
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  18. DanGovier

    DanGovier Commander Red Shirt

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    The saucer framework is now connected to the core ring sections, which will later be significantly reinforced to protect the main computer and EPS hardware that will reside within. Here we can see down the central shaft which will house the main computer stack, from a vantage point on what will become B Deck;

    [​IMG]

    As the saucer construction continues, the expansive floor space of E Deck is revealed. This will serve as the main habitation area of the ship, containing a significant number of crew quarters and leisure facilities;

    [​IMG]

    The saucer framework is now almost complete, but there's still a number of longitudinal beams to put in place and some final touches to be made before the bridge module can be installed. She's still an imposing sight though, despite her lack of proper attire;

    [​IMG]

    The first piece of hardware has also now been installed - the emitters for the shield grid which surround the saucer perimeter;

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Bill Thompson

    Bill Thompson Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Ooooh, I love where this is going, Dan! Looking forward to this...it's gonna be epic. :bolian:
     
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  20. Atolm

    Atolm Commodore Commodore

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    Damn.... All I can say is that you are one sick SoB...
    Truly an audacious undertaking. Sir, I applaud you.