Ship design questions

ArtMic's picture
ArtMic
November 19, 2009 - 11:44am
 Okay, I am building a few ships (3D 1-1 scale that can be used as a map) and I have a few questions.
  I know I am over thinking alot of things but I want to use as much real world Science and engineering as possible along with a healthy dose of Science fiction.
   I've been reading the past forums and find a lot of it Enlightening. And that some share my view on some things. So I want to pick your brains on things. 

 How thick should a hull be. From the inner walls to the outer skin.
 
 Right now I am playing with a 2' thick internal walls, but how thick should the barrier between life and death be? 

  I know that SFKH uses shields and screens, but how thick should any kinda albative armor be? 

 

 Tech wise what sort of material do you think most ships are built of in the SF settings. Barring any kind of exotic/ima
 
 
 


Gold is for the mistress-silver for the maid-copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade.But Iron-Cold Iron- is master of them all
Comments:

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
November 19, 2009 - 3:10pm

Back in the 70s there were often sections as thin as a sheet of tin foil that was all the barrier between the crew and the vacuum of space. That said something in the neighborhood of a meter should suffice for SF ship hull "thickness", with armored warships (i.e. fighters, frigates, etc with more than 5HP per HS) obviously sporting thicker hulls than civilian boats. So 2' wouldn't be out of line, it's about what I use on my deck plans too.


Material wise I'd say it's some sort of steel and/or aluminum alloy, again depending on warship or civilian craft.

No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

umungus's picture
umungus
November 19, 2009 - 4:15pm
I have seen the name Plasteel used a bunch in Sci-Fi. I always pictured it as some sort of epoxy type stuff that could be poured into shape like plastic and them would harden and have properties like steel. ie; weldable, able to be heat treated, tempered, riveted, tapped and screwed etc.

What do you guys think?

At least I got to scare an alien rabbit thingy......


Will's picture
Will
November 19, 2009 - 7:04pm
I agree with ArtMic and Shadow on the hull thickness.

To answer umungus' question, I'm all for using plasteel for both the ship's structural members and its outer skin.

Other good choices are titanium and carbon fiber. The latter would be easier, if not cheaper, to manufacture(simply due to the scarcity of titanium), as a polymer chain a couple of meters thick would be sufficent to withstand solar and atmospheric heat, as well as provide some degree of protection against beams, kinetic weapons, and such.

"You're everything that's base in humanity," Cochrane continued. "Drawing up strict, senseless rules for the sole reason of putting you at the top and excluding anyone you say doesn't belong or fit in, for no other reason than just because you say so."


—Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stephens, Federation

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 19, 2009 - 9:41pm
David Weber used "Chem-catylist welders" in his later books with engineers complaining about having to use them to cut through the new armor I forget what the new armor was but I think ceramic was a component.
I thought the welder sounded cool anyway.

As for laying out a deck I like to see some provision for ducting to provide for engineering and/ or life support between decks just in case I need to use it in game to specify repairs need to be done at such and such location. In Star Trek I believe they called them jefferies tubes but they were usually depicted way to big IMO

I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

ArtMic's picture
ArtMic
November 20, 2009 - 4:08am
 Nice guys! 

 I actually forggoten about plasteel.... wow, it has been a while.  I like carbon nano tube tech ( which I do believe will lead to real plasteel now that I think about it) since, if a starship doesn't have to land planet side it doesn't have to deal with the heat and stress of reentry. Plus side is that the whole mass-speed of light gets helped out fron the lighter super strong material ( ie to travel at speed of light you'll have to start in a ship the size of a pea hehehe).

 In the anime series Dirty Pair (the  Nolandia movie I believe tells of this),they had a exotic metal that was the golden fleece for Warp speed. I think it was called Vibranium just like the stuff in Marvel comics. So once we finally get out into the stars and start mining new worlds we just might find metals that could open whole new doors for travel.

 I am scared to think about a hull thats inches thick, I looked that up and it scared me to think those brave men where that close to space.  after reading " the writer's guide to creating a Science Fiction Universe" by George Ochoa and Jeffrey Osier and then "Space Travel" by Ben Bova ( a great Scifi writer ) I truely understand how dangerus space is.

 So when I picked 2'. I was thinking a layering of:

 xxxxx - Outer Hull Plating ( armor )
 oooo - Water tubes for shielding and heating/cooling ( water is great for stopping radiation )
 xxxxx - Mid hull that has a self sealing property ( for those pesky micro metorites )
 IIIIII- Super Structure 
 uuuu - Electrical grid- Mechanical section 
 0000 - Lifesupport systems ( water- air- heating systems)
 xxxx - Inner hull/ walls

 and ideas or suggestions whole greatly be appreciated. 

 The way I see some deck layering and "jeffery Tubes" I think the bigger the ship the more these are used.  I've always pictured Assualt scouts up to light destroyers having access panels and systems you have to get to to repair closer to the living spaces. Like having to pull up deck plating to repair the Artificial gravity system or power gride or cutting out a pesky alien creature in a air duct. I think the star trek jeffery tubes in some places was big, but then I remeber if they had to bring in certain power equipment or larger replacement stock they would need that room. 

  I kinda like the idea that with carbon fiber and even plasteel you can "grow" a ship and not have any weak weild joints in the frame. ( my brothers a weilder and he tells me how weak they can really be) And I know my self If I am traveling at half the speed of light the last thing I want to worry about a weak weild breaking in a vital place ( A great Plot hook to boot) and the ship breaking apart cause of Humanoid error!

 You guys like the GURPS Vehicles rules? I know that some of the dream Pod 9 Ships are nice. I've actually gotten around to finally read the lensmen series ( I've been lazy hehehe) and love it. I know that deck/axis debat is some where else but I just wanted to say that alot of Sci-fi ( did you know that theres a big diference between whats Science Fiction (more fact roots) and SciFi (more Fantasy roots)),Anime and mediums has groomed me to be more a Deck being laid out like Naval ships. And the one cover for Module darkside of the moon shows a flight deck thats this way.
 
I'll post some pics of what I have so far. I am hoping to publish some of my stuff. I am gonna work on some submission for the Magazine ( which I love by the way ) in the near future. I'll have to tell you about the last Mega game to end all games I Dm years ago, lets just say Worlds did collide and nothing was same when You have the Corp Genom taking on star Law for control of known space hehehe 
 
Gold is for the mistress-silver for the maid-copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade.But Iron-Cold Iron- is master of them all

ArtMic's picture
ArtMic
November 20, 2009 - 7:18am
 Heres what i have so far:

 The Open space is where the access panel goes for repairs and maintance.


BulkHead Door


 This bulkhead is 2' thick the doors slide in the slide along the track. the doors are bevealed for positive airpressure seal just like on the shuttle. the Widow tunnel between both doors are made of cloth material.

Side


 A closer look at the inner workings

side 2


 These are like my first attempts working with Google Sketchup ( with I like and is freeee!!) I am actually trying to get the doors to animate and actually compress then slide open.
Gold is for the mistress-silver for the maid-copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade.But Iron-Cold Iron- is master of them all

ArtMic's picture
ArtMic
November 20, 2009 - 9:55am
 Heres some shots of the ship. It's still a work in progress, with just basic colors.
 It was inspired by the original Assault Scout. 
Spaceship


 The Black areas are solar panels.

Top spaceship
side spaceship
 The large Diamonds on the ends with the yellow/black grey are thrusters for side to side movement.

Bottowm of Wing Engine

 You see here is the landing gear. I made them to work also as magnetic/sucktion cup type.

Close up of Landing gear and Hardpoint

 I placed two small hard points on each wing that are basically like 50 cal machine gun placements for anti missle anti personal usage.
Close up of hardpoint


 I have much more work to do on the other parts














Gold is for the mistress-silver for the maid-copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade.But Iron-Cold Iron- is master of them all

Will's picture
Will
November 20, 2009 - 10:52am
Wow. Can I have a ship like that?

Yeah, welds can be pretty weak, especially if too little or too much heat is applied to the weld.

You can use nanotechnology to "grow" the ship from the inside out, or the outside in, to make a seamless whole with no apparent weak points. Retain the nanotech, and you'll have a ship which can repair itself.

Jefferies tubes are a little unrealistic, IMO, especially considering the relatively small size of most ships. Ducts would be more the size of HVAC ducts, and you might be able to send repair bots down into them, but nothing larger.

Also, assuming a perpindicular deck configuration, you would have some 'tween decks spaces(accessible by core lift or ladders) where you can get at some of the ship's inner workings. Also, the interior bulkheads of the crewed spaces would have removable panels to service the circuitry going through the ship, or would be solid-state circuit modules which can be ripped out and replaced in the heat of battle(like the ships in Ringo and Weber's McClintock series).

"You're everything that's base in humanity," Cochrane continued. "Drawing up strict, senseless rules for the sole reason of putting you at the top and excluding anyone you say doesn't belong or fit in, for no other reason than just because you say so."


—Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stephens, Federation

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
November 21, 2009 - 6:06am

Floor and cieling panels...that's rather common on my smaller craft deck plans. Not everything is going to fit on the six decks worth of a HS:3 scout ship so some 'tween decks stuff is in order.


+1 to forgetting about the plasti-steel. IIRC it's even mentioned as a repair material in the KH books.

No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

Sargonarhes's picture
Sargonarhes
November 21, 2009 - 9:44am
It's too much details to fit everything realistically into the deck plans of a ship for gaming purposes, it's not like you're going to actually build it. No matter what a ship is going to have some welding work done on it, even if you could form the hull in a single mold. Some battle damage happens and you're going to be patching it at that spot, and truth be told the welds are often stronger than the actual material if done properly. I've heard that from actual ship welders all the time.

I've tried to rationalize out a sci-fi military ship yard, cranking out pre-fab hulls. But at some point ships will have to be put together in sections for reasons of speed and effeciency, forming the hull all at once just took too much time and space waiting around for the hull to harden. I've created an alien race for a game with a military that just had a private contractor form the hull and substructure, and the military would take the ship and load it with their customized load out of choice at another facility. Ships were equipped for their purpose rather than standardized, made these aliens a hard opponent for PC to deal with.

I tried going into the details of the ship, floor, wall and ceiling panels that acted as hatches to access points. The systems were routed through these emergency tubes of the ship, should the lifts ever fail. These were barely big enough to move through, single file hunched over only in a full spacesuit. You got to get from deck to deck some how, which are often locked when there's no emergency. They'd also have to be sealed to prevent decompression of all decks. It was a nightmare just designing this, so much that players never tried to board one of my alien ships ever again. They didn't like the crew using the emergency tubes to go slip around behind them. Nor did they like the booby traps every where. And when they killed the top officers on the ship they certainly didn't like the series of internal explosions that pretty much wrecked what was left of the ship.

Of course they boarded a HS 5 ship. A HS 3 might be a lot easier to go to all this detail for.


In every age, in every place, the deeds of men remain the same.