Sea — February 2003
By Capt. Bill Pike
|Part 2: The owner was happy.|
Well-versed in the first field of endeavor, Foss turned the second task over to Janicki's engineers and computer-modeling gurus. They promptly set about using a Leica Laser Tracker to create a digital record of Maverick's existing hull, a complex process Janicki had honed while doing work for Boeing. The first step entailed stationing the tripod-mounted Laser Tracker at fixed distances from Maverick's dry-docked hull, then rolling a handheld sensor over its whole exterior in much the same way a painter works a roller over large surfaces. As the motor-driven Tracker followed the sensor with deft precision, storing a mind-boggling multiplicity of three-dimensional points in a giant data file, what began to form in the unit's computerized mind was a "point cloud," which would eventually assume the shape of the hull.
The next step was purely electronic--the point cloud was used to reverse-engineer a highly accurate, computerized electronic model of the hull. Then, with input from both the owner and the original designer of the boat, this electronic model was used to create another model, only this time of a 15-foot bolt-on extension that when carefully laminated to the hull would give Maverick a new, sleeker look and incorporate the sportfishing- and watertoy-related features her owner was so fired up about.
Janicki's final step returned the makeover to the domain of the physical. Utilizing tool paths generated from the electronic model, one of the firm's big, five-axis mills cut a plug for the hull extension from a vast chunk of plastic foam that was about the size of a small house. Tooling was shortly molded from this plug, sent off to a subcontractor, Seattle's LeClercq Marine Construction, and within a few weeks a truck rolled through the gates at Foss laden with a brand-new part, complete with sportfishing accoutrements, gasoline tankage system, watertoy stowage areas, and a little stylistic flair.
Foss was happy. Although the hull extension was created almost entirely virtually, the darn thing fit like a glove. Bolting it to Maverick's existing transom and then glassing over the joint prior to applying a new paint job produced a new 140-foot hull that was absolutely seamless. "The new part went on amazingly well," enthused Foss sales manager David Herring, "and not a single modification was needed after it was in place."
The owner was happy. Not only were the lines of the made-over Maverick both pleasing to the eye and more contemporary than before, several acquaintances opined that the yacht finally looked the way she should have when first launched. Moreover, because much of the work had been done virtually, as opposed to physically, large amounts of time and money were saved. Where Janicki and LeClercq put together the essentials in a matter of weeks, traditional tooling development would likely have required Maverick to have lain in dry dock while a physical plug, mold, and part were fitted and built in place. Such an approach would most likely have delayed aspects of the overhaul as well.
Such a big success story suggests others. After all, if a hull can be laser-tracked, reverse-engineered, computer-modeled, and then substantially stretched and modified, why not a whole motoryacht? Or even a megayacht?
Howsaboutit? Want a swoopier, more curvaceous look for your boat? A little more pizazz? Maybe some new side windows? A racy radar arch or even a whole new interior layout?
Call your designer. Then call Janicki (360) 856-5143. They're ready, willing, and able to tackle just about anything.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.