Artec Eva brings innovative 3D technology to the traditional crafting of exclusive boat decks
Challenge: An Italian craftsman needed to find a way to scan the decks of handmade yachts, and convert the scans into CAD drawings, to build custom teak decks.
Solution: Artec Eva, Artec Studio
Result: Boat decks up to 60 square meters in size can be scanned with full accuracy, leading to a turnaround up to 500% faster than before, and with no wasted materials.
The decision to build a bespoke vessel may depend on many factors, but eventually it often boils down to the need for a boat that’s unique in its own way. The tradition of Italian boat building has conveyed this vision for centuries, upholding the values of local nautical crafts.
Over the course of time and with many changes in market demands, however, seasoned shipwrights find it harder to compete with mass manufacturers – if not in terms of quality, then definitely in terms of time. The wisest of boat masters then realize that one way not to let traditional yacht building become a dying art is to embrace the technology that can help them attend to every detail with old-time artistry, yet with the greater speed and precision available today.
One such shipwright is Orlando Stabile.
One such technology – Artec 3D scanning solutions.
Paikea, one of the yachts symbolizing Italian excellence (photo courtesy of Orlando Stabile)
Orlando Stabile, owner of Stocks and Precision, mostly focuses on restoration and installation of teak decks for boats and yachts, with his work recognized as a symbol of Italian excellence. Not only a talented craftsman but a generally curious person, Stabile was clearly born with business genes, and so he designed an ambitious plan to beat the competition on the market – and the essence of this plan? To greatly reduce the time he would normally need to make measurements of boat decks. Simply put, he intended to scan the deck, obtain its flat digital representation, carefully obtain the perimeter from the resulting model, and convert it into a CAD drawing to place the teak slats within the perimeter, adapting them to the many curves and complex surfaces of the boat.
The adventurous craftsman Orlando Stabile at work (photo courtesy of Orlando Stabile)
Teak, the type of wood Stabile works with, is an expensive material, with prices going as high as 300 euros per square meter. Apart from its gorgeous aesthetics with a signature sheen, this wood boasts durability, as well as water- and rot-resistance – it doesn’t shrink or get corroded, and it is an absolutely ideal fit for that unmistakable Italian style. All these characteristics explain only too well why none of this material could ever be wasted or thrown away as a result of inaccurate measurements or having to redo any parts.
All hands on deck for finding the right tool
While looking for possible solutions and advice on how to go through with his plan, Stabile turned to ShareMind’s Pietro Meloni, Artec 3D Ambassador and a true visionary when it comes to 3D scanning. Intrigued with the application, Meloni explained both the technical and commercial aspects of using Artec Eva, a light and versatile 3D scanner the shipwright was considering for his project.
Eva has been a market leader in 3D scanning for several years now, thanks to its outstanding ability to make quick and precise textured scans. Based on innovative, structured-light technology, this handheld 3D scanner allows users to make highly accurate measurements of objects in a flash. With 3D resolution of up to 0.2 mm, Artec Eva was just the right choice for a large-scale project requiring sharp and detailed scans.
Stabile was still hesitant about the investment – even with certain budget limits and no similar projects to illustrate the success, but the boat master was never discouraged. Shortly after being introduced to Artec technology, Stabile found his Eva and asked Meloni to help him achieve the desired results. ShareMind’s expert selflessly offered his full guidance, and the craftsman began to work.
Obtaining precise data with Artec Eva (photo courtesy of Orlando Stabile)
Meloni was convinced that the existing floor surface would make it easy to achieve an accurate scan, despite the geometry being somewhat monotonous. His advice was to scan the area of 4 to 5 square meters, then, in Artec Studio software, to perform global registration, fusion, and texturing. The resulting fusions could be aligned with the related scans to complete the puzzle. Following this advice, Stabile managed to scan a wide area and process the scan data with the minimal resources available, relying on just his Eva and his laptop.
Processing the scan data and turning it into a CAD drawing (photo courtesy of Orlando Stabile)
“Once the surface to be scanned increases,” Meloni explained, “we need some tricks to obtain a good geometric tolerance, and some hints to be able to process a large amount of data. Until now, Mr. Stabile, using these techniques, has been able to scan the decks of huge boats, up to 50 meters long.”
Digitizing the boat step by step (photo courtesy of Orlando Stabile)
By simply adding some strategic reference points, the boat master managed to digitize the entire deck of Paikea, the first yacht he scanned, with millimetric accuracy. The only remaining challenge was scanning under the bright Italian sun, but this was addressed by using curtains to make sure the area had the optimal degree of lighting.
Measuring more with less – and in a trice
Looking back at the conventional and fairly straightforward approach taken, the shipwright can’t help but be amazed: previously, to obtain accurate measurements, he would have had to use wooden templates. The teak slats could then be pre-processed in the workshop, but were only completed and mounted directly on deck. Now, with Eva, the scan data Stabile acquires can be quickly converted into CAD profiles, and the strips are fixed in the workshop on CNC-machined plywood sheets.
Parts of the Paikea deck, perfectly captured (photo courtesy of Orlando Stabile)
Different elements of the craft can now be pre-fabricated, which reduces both the time to assemble everything on board and the complexity of the process. According to Stabile, the time to complete the job is now 70 to 80 percent less – he can manage to complete four or five boat projects during the time he used to need for just one.
“Taking less time to complete a job”, Stabile said, “leads to higher profits and allows us to secure more orders, but this is not the only advantage. The reduction in time also allows us to be more competitive in terms of prices, while the improved quality allows us to approach more demanding customers.”
The shipwright and his masterpiece! (Photo courtesy of Orlando Stabile)
New technology for an ocean of possibilities
In any business, return on investment is everything; the sooner it happens, the sooner one can expect progress, growth, new customers, and greater profit. Not only did the successful experiment with Artec Eva inspire Stabile to consider buying another scanner – he at first considered another Eva – it also led him to consider expanding his 3D scanning potential even further, with the wireless Artec Leo. One of the shipwright’s ambitions is to take over the maintenance of Astra, an iconic boat in the port of Salerno.
“Launched in 1928, it was originally purchased by Mr. Singer, the king of sewing machines,” Stabile pointed out. “This splendid boat still represents poignant elegance in the design of sailing boats.”
Astra, the iconic yacht soon to be restored (photo courtesy of Orlando Stabile)
Whichever yacht is crafted or restored next, it will be a work of art, designed with all mastery and passion – only now done with the kind of speed and accuracy that no other technology but 3D scanning can offer.
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