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By Andrew Mirsky
$762 pledged of $1,000 goal
backers

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

About this project

History (Brief)

The origins of nautical drafting curves are most likely in the full-sized templates and molds used by the Romans to build the ribs for the ships in their naval fleet as early as 3rd century BCE. The same technique of 1:1 templates were used well into the 1700s, but as early as the 1600s, European ship builders started using scaled-down drawings and models.

And scaled-down drawings needed scaled-down templates and, over time, different sets of curves have been used in drafting, engineering, and design. While French curves are probably most common and well-known, naval architects, maritime designers, and boat builders used sets of Copenhagen Ship Curves.

However, sets of Copenhagen Ship Curves stopped being produced in the 70s/80s as computer-aided-design had become more widely available.

Project

This project is about making nautical drafting tools available once again for shipbuilders, modelers, and maritime designers as these tools are still very helpful in model boat building and drafting/tracing of very early ship drawings, among others.

Production of Copenhagen Ship Curves represents the final phase of a two-year long research project.

Thus far, I've made several trips to the Mystic Seaport Maritime Library and the Royal Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England. And acquired 8 different vintage sets of Copenhagen Ship Curves. High resolution scans of the antique curves has been completed along with processing those scans using computational line tracing and the development of software to do algorithmic smoothing.

Of the 120+ curves, over half have gone through the arduous process of visual confirmation and manual tweaking of every curve to verify correctness using a table-top cnc paper cutter. Remaining curves will be completed within the next two weeks.

Comparison of curves.
Comparison of curves.

 

Copenhagen Ship Curves will come in two different varieties: the typical 55-piece set of the most common curves, as well as a fully complete set of 121 different curves.

One of eight vintage Copenhagen Ship Curve sets used for this project.
One of eight vintage Copenhagen Ship Curve sets used for this project.

 

Due to the sheer number of curves that need to be manufactured, even the smaller, 55-piece set of Copenhagen Ship Curves can be cost prohibitive to some people. So this project is also going to produce two other kinds of nautical ship curves:

The Ship Curves One is just a single piece of acrylic, but it contains over a dozen small ship curve shapes. Passed along to me by an accomplished ship modeler (and an amazing teacher), the design comes from a curve that was found in an old drafting studio. Beyond that, its origins are unknown but it definitely has proven a valuable tool.

Ship Curves One
Ship Curves One

 

Second are Dixon Kemp Curves; a five-piece, pear-shaped set whose design is attributed to a nautical architect from the mid-1800s.

Prices will be directly reflective of the manufacturing costs.

Nautical Drafting Curves
Nautical Drafting Curves

 

Risks and challenges

Laser cutting pricing is well defined by the length of cut, speed of cutting, and dollars per minute of cutting time. So even though the Ship Curves One is only a single piece, it represents over 150 inches of cutting time. With low-volume manufacturing, there won't be any economy-of-scale, unfortunately.

Low-volume production can be delayed when it is bumped by other, larger orders. But mitigated with quotes and prototypes received from multiple vendors.

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    Ship Curves One

    Most helpful for drawings scaled down to less than 8" in length.

    A found design that was traced and passed on from ship modeler to ship modeler. Scanned and transformed into precise, digital bezier curves and laser cut from 2mm acrylic.

    Includes:
    • Ship Curves One
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    Dixon Kemp Curves

    Used best when drafting designs that have been scaled down to 14" or less.

    Five-piece set of Dixon Kemp's pear-shaped curves. Scanned from reference materials and transformed into precise, digital bezier curves. Laser cut from 2mm acrylic.

    Includes:
    • Dixon Kemp Curve Set
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    Pledge $225 or more About $225

    Copenhagen Ship Curves

    The most common curves needed for ship drafting and building, especially planking. Range in sizes from 2" to over 24" which allows drawings at any size.

    A 55-piece Copenhagen Ship Curves set based on original curves. Scanned and transformed into precise, digital bezier curves. Laser cut from 2mm acrylic.

    Includes:
    • Copenhanen Ship Curves (55-pieces, acrylic)
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    Ship Builders Standard Set with case

    Includes a custom-made, felt-lined wooden case to protect and easily store the 55-piece Copenhagen Ship Curves set. Plus the Dixon Kemp Curves and a Ship Curves One.

    Includes:
    • Copenhanen Ship Curves (55-pieces, acrylic)
    • Dixon Kemp Curve Set
    • Ship Curves One
    • Wooden case
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    Pledge $675 or more About $675

    Ship Builders Expanded Set with cases

    All the common curves in the standard set plus the uncommon ones as well to meet any nautical drafting need!

    A 121-piece Copenhagen Ship Curves set based on original curves, catalogs and other reference drawings with two custom made felt-lined wooden boxes. Also included are the Dixon Kemp Curves and a Ship Curves One.

    Includes:
    • Copenhagen Ship Curves (121 pieces, acrylic)
    • Dixon Kemp Curve Set
    • Ship Curves One
    • Wooden case
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    Pledge $975 or more About $975

    Ship Builders Expanded Set in Cherry

    All the curves available in a beautiful, cherry hardwood, allowing curves to be reshaped as needed.

    The full set of copenhagen ship curves, Dixon Kemp curves and Ship Curves One laser cut out of 3/32" cherry hardwood.

    Includes:
    • Copenhagen Ship Curves (121 pieces, wood)
    • Dixon Kemp Curve Set
    • Ship Curves One
    • Wooden case
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