Copenhagen Ship Curves
Copenhagen Ship Curves
Bringing the tools of nautical drafting back to life with sets of Copenhagen Ship Curves.
Bringing the tools of nautical drafting back to life with sets of Copenhagen Ship Curves. Read more
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)