# U.S.S. Ariel - Federation Shuttlecarrier

Discussion in 'Fan Art' started by Cary L. Brown, Jun 27, 2011.

Joined:
Oct 14, 2005
Location:
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How to make a B/C deck superstructure

Another poster here, "Circusdog," has decided to start working on his own version of the classic 1701, and like me, he's using a CAD package (as opposed to a surface-modeler like Maya or Lightwave or the like).

He was having some trouble figuring out the best way to make the unusual shape of the B/C deck superstructure, and I've offered to post my step-by-step here to help him figure it out.

First... here's the topside of the Ariel's primary hull. I originally created it solely as a set of revolved shapes, and wasn't really planning to do this detail yet (since my focus remains on the secondary hull's complex topside). But I'll have to do it sooner or later, so I've gone ahead and done it now.

The first thing to do is to turn the revolved section into a smaller region, as seen below. It's important to make sure that you have the angle of the absent area as a changeable parameter, so you can simply adjust the angle of that cut-out area (and the tangent angle of the new section) on-the-fly as you tweak the shape.

Now, with the TOS Enterprise, the cylindrical "core" is perfectly adequate, but for TMP-era ships, you can't just sweep around a cylinder and get the shape right, so I added an additional volume to provide the "core" around which I'll be sweeping my shape. This should have a surface which is normal to the shape you want to achieve. I usually use conics to create this sort of shape... this path is defined by two symmetrical conic section, normal to the cut faces.

Now, you need to create the structure you'll be sweeping... a path, and at at least three sketches for cross-sections, as seen below. If you're not happy with the shape you're able to create using three sections, you can always add more (ensuring that they're symmetrical, obviously!). Each section needs to have the same number of drawing entities, and should have its origin at the same point, facing the same direction. I set my section origins in the innermost corner, facing upwards. If you don't get the origin right, the shapes will "twist" as the shape extrudes along the path, and you'll get a MESS.

(Note that you want the new, swept surfaces to be tangent to the existing surfaces. You need to have a surface adjacent to each of those sketch curve edges, so you can establish the tangency of the swept shape against those surfaces.)

I'll show the result of that sweep in no-hidden-line wireframe mode. Now, in this case, I wanted my upper "lip" and lower "lip" for the inset region to be unrelated, so I left the lower lip out of the first sweep. (This is not necessary for the TOS ship, obviously!)

I created a sweep profile for the lower lip... this is a 2D sketch I created, projected onto the surfaces of the inset region. I created three profiles, again, just as before.

Here's the result. Note that I've added a few rounds to help make it look more like a real object... the rounds were not part of the original sweeps.

At this point, you start comparing your shape to the sketches (which you should have been doing all along, obviously, but now you make it into the "final" shape). You tweak the various parameters in your shapes... the "cut-out angle" for example... and adjust things to get as close as you can to the drawn images.

The following two images allow you to compare my final result to the "trace sketch reference" I'm using. The lateral view is nearly perfect... and I'm not inclined to make any further tweaks here.

The top-down view is very close... but not totally exact. As I said before, I could add more sections to match the top-down view more closely, but I don't WANT to do that... I actually like the look I've got here better.

And that's all there is to it. Hope that helps... or at least is of some interest to the rest of you!

2. ### Science OfficerLieutenant CommanderRed Shirt

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Location:
United Kingdom
Hi Cary,

Thanks for the tutorial - I never considered doing something like that to create the B/C decks. In C4D I think there are various NURBs options that can achieve the same thing.

A question on the your B/C/Bridge decks. Are the drawings meant to represent the exact structure used on the TMP NCC-1701 or a variation?

I ask because that lower lip (below the windows) looks very low. Looking at the side view drawing, the lip on the LHS of the structure is inconsistent with the line drawn across (as on the LHS it's twice as high).

Cheers,
S.O.

Joined:
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Location:
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Hi S.O.

No, it's not a 1:1 match to the Enterprise's superstructure. In fact, if you review the earlier entry where I lay out decklines, you'll see that this entire section (what on the Enterprise is B and C decks) ONLY includes B deck on this ship.

I didn't create the drawings, of course... also as mentioned earlier, this is Aridas' design, and I'm trying to replicate it as closely as possible, so I'm trying to match his drawings.

FYI, many ships designed in the post-TWOK era were similar to, but not identical to, the 1701. A great example of this is the Federation class Dreadnought (uprated to TMP-era specs). Most people look at this and see the Enterprise with only a third nacelle added and different engine attachment, but this is not true.

Major differences in the TMP-era dreadnought from the TMP-era Enterprise include:

a) A dramatically larger B/C deck structure... nearly twice the volume of the one on the 1701.

b) A different bridge module, with an extended aft section incorporating dual docking ports.

c) A much larger secondary hull... fully 1/3 longer.

d) An extended "lip" at the landing bay doors.

e) two aft-firing photon torpedo launchers (inline with the forward ones)

That's in addition to the top-mounted nacelle and the different lower nacelle mounting.

This is what was done during that time period. Similar shapes and functions... similar STYLE, really... but SIMILAR, not IDENTICAL.

In the case of the Ariel, the protruding stuff on top is actually smaller than on the Enterprise. But the saucer is quite a bit larger in diameter, and has a much different shape (with no undercut). It's only 8 decks thick, though... I'm anxious to do a volume check on it, and to compare this to the TMP 1701 saucer's volume.

In my personal worldview, the inset ring around both the TMP 1701's B/C deck superstructure and this ship's B-deck superstructure is, in fact, the main subspace antenna. A similar device was inside of the TOS ship's B/C deck superstructure, as well... which is the sole reason for this structure's rather unique shape.

Obviously, by the time the Excelsior launched, a different antenna configuration had been introduced which didn't require such a massive, exposed slab of antenna material.

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awesome 3D work so far

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Docking Ports - Dimensions?

I need some help here. I know that it's been well-established, the exact size of the TMP-era starship docking ports. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find this information anywhere

(Google used to be useful, but now you only get results based on advertising revenue to Google... so no matter how I phrase my query I get the same damned list of WRONG answers every time!)

I'm most specifically looking for the actual enclosed diameter. I could derive it, or take my best guess, but I KNOW that people have figured this out previously, so why re-invent the wheel?

Also... if anyone has a model they've made, using TMP warp nacelles as separate components in their mix, and is willing to share them, I'd be very grateful. OBJ, DXF, Maya, Lightwave... anything like that should be useable, as long as it's NURBS based (not polygonal, or "sub-div", based... those won't work for me).

I'll give credit where due, no worries about that.

Last edited: Jul 2, 2011
6. ### Bernard GuignardFleet CaptainFleet Captain

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Jan 25, 2005
Location:
Ontario
Re: Docking Ports - Dimensions?

Hello Cary
Here are some dimensions that I took off an Autocad Bridge blueprint that was sent to me it looks pretty good to me

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The past several days have been spent experimenting with the secondary hull shape, with some input from Aridas. In the end, I ended up keeping pretty much the shape I'd come up with originally, but it was worthwhile effort in any case.

The one significant change in the secondary hull, noticeable to anyone but me anyway, is the addition of the deflector housing. I'll end up "re-ordering" the model to put this after the hull solidification once I get the inner shape worked out... but for now, I'm using it for reference to ensure that the hull surface entirely encompasses this, complete with a 1m thick anti-radiation wall around the entire compartment. (The dish itself, and the various supporting hardware for it, are not yet present, of course... but this will end up looking very much like the TMP Enterprise's dish, just less exposed.)

In addition, doing my B-deck structure got me onto primary hull detailing. Eventually, I'm going to split the model into two, but for now (until the neck structure is final), it's all in one file. Eventually, I plan to have four components... a saucer, a secondary hull, and a pair of nacelles. I'm going to get those patterned up with an SLA machine, so I can have a physical copy of this on my shelf!

On the primary hull, I got the shapes final on the upper decks (A deck and B deck), as you can see here. There are some fine details to be added, but the overall form you see here is "final."

On the underside, I got pretty far along on the lower scanner platform and sensor dome. I think I have a little bit more shape-tweaking to do, and I need to add the surface vents to each of the four legs of this shape, and then create the "scanner windows" and other details inside of each of the four scanner ports. And, obviously I think, the dome needs some detailing added as well!

This is essentially the same technology, even likely the exact identical hardware, as on the Enterprise, but the housing is not shaped identically at this point (again, matching up the shape from the port view on the drawing I provided in my first post in this thread).

Finally, the standard orthos, for comparison to the drawing views:

And finally, one somewhat nicer image...

Last edited: Jul 2, 2011

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Mar 22, 2010
Thanks ever so much for doing this. I love all the other Planet of the Titans entries but have wanted to see a 3d model of this for a very long time. I like how you made her a through deck design. That secondary hull is quite fluid.

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I'm afraid you've gotten a misconception... remember, this is not finished... it's a "work in process."

The Ariel is NOT a "through-deck carrier." You can see the bay outlines from the front, because I want to be able to see that surface (with those openings) as I create the remaining volume of the secondary hull.

There WILL be some "from the front" landing capabilities, however. I have discussed this with Aridas, and if you look at the top-down view, you'll see four squares with four smaller squares visible in them. Those are lift platforms. You can best visualize these by thinking about the landing platforms seen on "Space 1999" for the Eagles. But they are on the "forward side" of the secondary hull... so in THAT sense you will "sort of" get what you were looking for.

I guess I really do need to get my secondary hull shape finished, don't I?

I've already worked out, in my mind, the internal layout I plant for this ship to have. Aridas has given me some feedback on what he was envisioning, and I'm pretty comfortable with how I'm going to make it work, and only have to implement that (but I can't do that until I finish the solid form of the secondary hull).

Maybe I'll spend a few hours tonight and try to make that work, huh?

10. ### beamMeCommodore

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Mar 17, 2011
Location:
Europa
Good lord, that's ugly.
The ship - not the modelling.

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Location:
Austin, Texas
Hey, to each their own... I'd wager that there are ships you think are good-looking that I'd feel the same way over. I've always liked this one, personally...

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I've been struggling to get the "wing back" surface to work. This is one of the areas where Pro/E, frankly, sucks... surface-based modeling. I've gotten the whole thing set up, and I can create the curved surface I want, but the moment I try to assign tangency conditions, the thing flips out. There doesn't seem to be rhyme or reason behind it, though I'm sure I'll figure it out (Pro/E is full of annoying "long-term bugs" that I've had to learn ways around over the years!)

So... at the moment, my surfaces are NOT tangent to the adjacent surfaces, as I intend them to be. But you can at least get the general idea.

Also, as I always knew would be the case, once I started doing this, my neck (but not the surfaces I created to make it up) failed. So, I've got my surfaces visible, but the nice, clean structure I've had before isn't there. Mainly, you can see the neck structure extending well into regions where it doesn't "really" exist, at the moment at least. I'll fix this once I've got the secondary hull top surface fixed.

Here's a perspective view showing the new surfaces. Again, these are SUPPOSED to be tangent to the top, aft surface of the secondary hull, but they're not. Also, I've got some odd inflection event occurring out near the nacelle pylons. I'll be fixing all of that, of course. Or... maybe I'll just take this out of Pro/E to create the surface, and then import that surface back in? I'm just really annoyed at how "uncooperative" this one feature is, especially compared to how nicely this sort of thing works in other packages I've used. (I guess nothing can be perfect!)

Next, here's the view from ahead... you can see the relationship between the neck and the body fairly well from this view. Note that there will not be a sharp intersection... instead, I'll be adding a fillet to blend the neck into the body, with the upper extent of that fillet being where you can see the blue line.

Finally, the port-side elevation. This shows, better than the other views, how nicely I've managed to match the "original design intent" so far. I know what I have to do (and I know how to do it in Lightwave, Maya, or yes, even AutoDesk INVENTOR)... but Pro/E is really fighting back with me on this.

Once I can get the surface to work as I want it to, I'll solidify it, then restore the neck, blend the two... and then I'll be able to start dealing with detailing.

I've decided that the nacelle is something I'm going to get creative with... since nobody has been able to provide me with a useable LN-64 nacelle set I can modify, I've decided to create "family table" for my nacelle.

There will, literally, only be one "part" I'll be creating, but I can create additional features which can be turned on or off (top-side or bottom-side control reactor rib, interior grills, intercooler, etc), and I can assign parameters that I can feed in to adjust different elements (in this case, the starting point and ending point for the location of the control reactor rib).

I can then just type entries into the "family table" (basically a spreadsheet" to create new "instances" that I can use as components in other assemblies.

This means I'll do one LN-64 nacelle... and I'll be able to use that part for a left-hand, right-hand, middle, or "solo" nacelle... mounted from the top or from the bottom... and mounted with any configuration of pylon we've ever seen.

Which, I think, will lead me inevitably into making more TMP-era ships. It's mainly been the nacelle that I've been avoiding, re: ships from this era. So... now, I think I can just do it one time, and never have to worry about it again.

13. ### MLJamesLieutenant CommanderRed Shirt

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Location:
Riverbank, CA
According to the original blueprints for Ariel, she doesn't use a standard LN-64 nacelle. Her nacelles are larger in all three dimensions, but, unfortunately, the percentage increase is different for length, beam, and draft. You won't be able to simply apply one factor to a basic LN-64 if you want her to be completely accurate.

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FYI... I'm leaving the original text of my post, just for context... but adding to the end.
Well, that's quite an interesting claim you make, MLJames.

First off, there are no "official blueprints." The closest thing to that is the two-view sheet (and descriptive page) I provided at the outset of this thread. Do you have other blueprints which you believe are "more official" than those two sheets?

Second... the original designer of the Ariel, Aridas Sofia, is working with me as I do this. If HE chose to tell me that the nacelles I'm using are wrong, that would be his prerogative. But nobody else can say anything of the sort.

Third, the text on the "descriptive sheet" I copied at the top of this thread reads as follows:
Now... that was written by Aridas Sofia, who (in case you've forgotten) is the guy who designed the Ariel.

The LN-64 (including mods 1, 2, and 3) and the LN-65 are externally identical engines. The LN-68 is subtly different, mainly having a sloped top-front area. These various nacelle concepts have been around in "fannon" works for a long time. I'm not inventing them myself, in other words.

SO... given what I've just presented, perhaps you can support your own claim with something more than just the claim itself?

In particular, I'd love to see the "official blueprints" for this ship, as you mentioned, and know who published them, who drew them, etc, etc.

********

EDIT: Okay, MLJames didn't give me enough information, but it turns out that he was actually correct...

Here is an LN-64 (under construction) in the location, along with the backdrop of the engine Aridas put into the design... and even though other sources I've read describe the LN-65 as being in the same housing as the LN-64, clearly this isn't the same unit.

I wish MLJames had been more clear, but it turns out he was right. Apology issued...

Last edited: Jul 4, 2011
15. ### MLJamesLieutenant CommanderRed Shirt

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No biggie. I honestly didn't think I needed to go into much more detail, because the info I was citing was right off of aridas' pages from the development chart. That was the "original blueprints" I was talking about, and it was one of the images in your first post.

16. ### Bernard GuignardFleet CaptainFleet Captain

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Jan 25, 2005
Location:
Ontario
While it looks to be a little longer on the elevation view
how does the warp engine look on the dorsal view looks
like All you would have to do is Stretch out an LN-64 in
the elevation view. Cary I've collected a wack load of
warp engine drawings some from Gary Kerr would you like
me to send you those for reference? if so PM me with your
e-mail address. Great work by the way on the nacelle
I know that even drawing them in 2d is a pain

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Thanks, Bernard... I'll PM you with that info momentarily.

Basically, I made a copy of my LN-64 and edited the features making it up, and got an LN-65.

My first step in the nacelle creation was simply creating a "box" of datum planes representing the dimensions that Aridas listed on his drawing. I then took his two provided views and scaled the images of the nacelles in those views to exactly fit in the boxes (granted, with lines having a fairly large thickness at this scale, I just "eyeballed" things so that my real planes, or real lines for that matter, fall at about the midpoint of any of the drawn lines).

I also used the LN-64 front view, rear view, and bottom view... tweaked and stretched to best match the shape of the "box" in their particular view. They turned out pretty close, in most respects, so I was easily able to interpolate the LN-65 from the LN-64 in those views.

One thing I noticed is that the nacelles in the drawing seem to be tilted slightly nose-downwards. I'm not going to do that, however... not unless Aridas intended them to "nose down" like that. It's only by about two and a half degrees, but it's still noticeable.

One thing you'll likely notice is that even the new "LN-65" nacelle doesn't perfectly match the drawing. This is because I used the written dimensions to determine size, and the "on-print" size does not match the value given in the table.

Similarly, you may have noticed that my primary hull diameter looks "small" in the top-down view (and has its axis forward of where it is in the print by a small amount). Again, in this case, I kept the overall size of the ship as my "stake in the ground," and then treated each sub-component as being built, again, in accordance with the overall sizes listed. The amount each is off is Small , but noticeable when compared to the drawing.

For reference, here's the LN-64:

And here is the LN-65:

Now, when you look at these images, remember that I have only the "untrimmed" surface for the neck... so please disregard the excess "neck material" extending below the top of the secondary hull.

Here are the top view and the port and front elevation views.

Finally, while I'm posting, I thought I'd just toss up the current state of my nacelles... the LN-65 is shown, but the LN-64 is in the same state.

Again, I'm going to model the basic nacelle, then create some additional features ("inside grill," "outside light panel," three different intercooler fins, and two different, and parametrically-modifiable, control reactor "ribs" (top and bottom)). I'll then be able to make any particular installation of these to any ship I want, in the future, and will only have to tweak one part in order to get port, starboard, solo, or center-mounted nacelles... using a trick called a "family table" which is common in CAD.

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Good job on the nacelles. I see what you meant earlier, in that you are keeping the flowing form of the secondary hull and not building a spolier-like terrace in the back for the shuttles.

You know, there is nothing that says you have to have an Excelsior styled recessed sensor/nav-deflector dish. A tesselated skin-tight phased array of plating that merges into the aztec might work. With Shuttle standing down, I just noticed how the secondary hull evokes the STS orbiter after a fashion.
I mentioned the similarity between ST 6 and Atlantis last flight here
http://federationreference.prophpbb.com/post11560.html#p11560

Nice TOS nacelles
http://img221.imageshack.us/img221/2273/nacellewip.jpg

Aridas also had the idea for ACE nacelles. I wonder if that might be easier to do:
http://federationreference.prophpbb.com/topic6-220.html#p11575

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A quick update...

I've been focusing on the warp nacelles for several days now (or rather, what little time I've spent on this has been on the nacelles).

The "base" nacelles are ALMOST done now. I've done everything except for the coppery shapes near the front.

After that, I'll create separate features for the three different types of intercoolers (port, starboard, symmetrical), the inboard grills (port and starboard) and external "light panel" (port and starboard), and the upper and lower "control reactor ribs." I'll set those up as variable entries, so I can use this as all of the nacelles, anywhere this type is used.

Again, this is the very slightly larger LN-65. I haven't done all this on the 64 yet, but I do plan to.

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Saucer Internal Layout - Starting off

Okay, even though I don't plan on doing a total, complete interior for this ship, I did want to figure out generally how it would be laid out internally. So, I've cut spaces into the interior of the saucer to help me with this.

You can see that there are eight total decks in this saucer, including the relatively small bridge at the top and the sensor/scanner operations center at the bottom. There's also a lot of "wasted space" (from a habitation standpoint, not from a "storage and equipment" standpoint, realize!) due to the slope of the hull surfaces. I've chosen to cut off the habitable spaces based upon a minimum 2m (~6ft) headroom limit. Of course, those sub-height areas will be of limited use... lower-level ones will be store-rooms, mainly, and upper-level ones can be cabins.

I put a 6' tall figure in the bridge cavity. It matches up pretty well with the TMP bridge set, I think... but it's worth noting that the latter-film bridges would not fit into this space.

The shape of the saucer precludes two full decks, with proper interstitial spaces, in the outer rim, unless the decks in the saucer are much shorter than is normal (say, 7.5' decks?). Right now, you've got 9.5' ceiling height, which is pretty much what we've seen in every series and every film.

So, what I've done is provided for a "high-bay" out there. I'm thinking that the "high bay" will only exist adjacent to the window clusters, and will represent recreation/lounge facilities. A catwalk along the outer wall will allow those windows to make sense, while there's no other way I can make them make any sense (unless I just treat them as sensors and ignore the idea of windows completely).