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Old 26-01-2010, 15:04   #1
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Best Hull Design Software ?

I did a quick search and didn't find another post on this, except for a linux inquiry. What in the forums opinion is the best design software out there? I'm primarily looking for catamaran sails.
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Old 26-01-2010, 16:00   #2
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Have you looked at boatdesign.net? Lot's of discussion on this topic, there. I am using Rhino, there seem to be a lot of people using Rhino and/or AutoCad, with deftship or freeship.
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Old 26-01-2010, 18:10   #3
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You are looking for HULL design software? Or SAIL design software?

Last I heard, specific software for either of those tasks cost a bloody fortune because it is targeted to a very small professional market. You could probably use any 3D CAD program to do the work, but that's still not an easy job. Simply running the numbers or getting "pretty" lines, won't give you a boat or sail that performs well.
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Old 26-01-2010, 19:28   #4
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You are looking for NUBS fairing software and hellosailor is right you are talking thousands for the software. Rhino will work but it is not as good at fairing as others. Still not cheap. I would recommend have sailrite do the design work and you do the sewing. These software packages also have a big learning curve to know how to use them correctly and get proper results. It will often look great on the screen but like crap in the real world I have used most of them and it is no walk in the park.

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Old 26-01-2010, 20:36   #5
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What are you looking to get out of this? If you want to actually design sails for your boat, I would get sailrite or a shop with the proper software to do it for you. A helpful shop will let you sit down with someone in front of the computer for a little bit and discuss the sail. Same thing if you are looking at actually designing a hull.

If you are just doing this to mess around on your own or get some preliminary drawings, you can use a program like Rhino, autocad, or solidworks. I am not aware of solidworks being used by boat designers but I believe that it is the most intuitive software and if you run cosmos floworks, you can do basic fluid simulations. For the home edition, I would guess that you are looking at around $1000 a year but I am not the one paying the bill on it so I am just guessing. The limitation of a software like this is that you can only model static systems so you cannot model how the boat moves through the waves or what pitch and roll are like.

CAD software is very useful but it is also very dangerous because many people do not know how to properly set conditions and interpret the results. I would definitely encourage you to mess around with it but you will need to do significant research on fluid dynamics and structures to get any meaningful results. Also, I would definitely consult a professional designer and have them plug your design into the industry specific programs before you try to build something.
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Old 26-01-2010, 20:41   #6
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I have AutoCad R14 and you can get an add on app, with the Cad Bible not hard to learn at all. With Cad there are also websites out there that have sample layouts to help aid.


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Old 21-07-2010, 10:25   #7
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Originally Posted by Furian View Post
I did a quick search and didn't find another post on this, except for a linux inquiry. What in the forums opinion is the best design software out there? I'm primarily looking for catamaran sails.
there is a program for linux called sailcut, I looked at it seems pretty straight forward if you know what you want.
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Old 21-07-2010, 10:39   #8
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Guys. Anything opensource that might be useful for designing interiors or deck layouts with a given hull?
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Old 21-07-2010, 23:29   #9
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Guys. Anything opensource that might be useful for designing interiors or deck layouts with a given hull?
2D - there are lots of free draw packages

for 3D - Google Sketchup? I used this to detail a bimini I built recently - fairly easy to pick up and helped a lot.

for other 3D stuff, google - BIM - I doubt that many will be opensource and most will require a CAD background or many many hours of learning
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Old 22-07-2010, 05:09   #10
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Hull design software abounds, particularly in recent years, but the low cost and freeware stuff is pretty Mickey Mouse. FreeShip and it's big brother are the most popular currently, but have limitations.

SailCut is available for Windows based systems. There are a number of "foil" generation software packs, but these don't do what real sail design packages do.

To top it all off the biggest limitation to these types of software are they don't tell you if what you've drawn is any good for your application or not. My point is you can design a really fancy hull that sails like a dog. Or, you can design a wonderful looking yacht that you haven't a clue what the scantlings might be for it's category or classification.

In short, software is just a tool and though many of these seem intuitive and user friendly, unless you have a clue about what you want and need, in very specific ways, then fooling with these packages is fodder, entertaining possibly, but still fodder.

I don't mean to offend you, but no software in the world can overcome the inabilities of the user. In this vain, very few novices have anything more then a remote shot at sucess, without some training.

I'm using several packages, most custom.
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Old 22-07-2010, 11:56   #11
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Hull design software abounds, particularly in recent years, but the low cost and freeware stuff is pretty Mickey Mouse. FreeShip and it's big brother are the most popular currently, but have limitations.

SailCut is available for Windows based systems. There are a number of "foil" generation software packs, but these don't do what real sail design packages do.

To top it all off the biggest limitation to these types of software are they don't tell you if what you've drawn is any good for your application or not. My point is you can design a really fancy hull that sails like a dog. Or, you can design a wonderful looking yacht that you haven't a clue what the scantlings might be for it's category or classification.

In short, software is just a tool and though many of these seem intuitive and user friendly, unless you have a clue about what you want and need, in very specific ways, then fooling with these packages is fodder, entertaining possibly, but still fodder.

I don't mean to offend you, but no software in the world can overcome the inabilities of the user. In this vain, very few novices have anything more then a remote shot at sucess, without some training.

I'm using several packages, most custom.
Very true, I recently started playing around with VariCad (they have a free 30 day trial download, I imagine there are a variety of cracks for it on the internet if you want to go down that road) there are some flash videos that show you how to manipulate everything, I only followed the first three sessions and it gave me enough to figure out the rest of the BASICS it all seemed pretty straight forward though time consuming as it is generally aimed at being very accurate, like down to the thousandth of an inch kinda thing, I'm tend to not be so picky and usually am happy with 1/8 or maybe a 1/16 of an inch but it was interesting to go from the 2D autocad I used in grade 10 drafting class to this really high performance mechanical engineering thing, it acutally has a 2D part that you can build things in then extrude them into 3D, very cool, it's got nuts and bolts and pipes and all sorts of stuff like that, I used it to design a walter murray-esk servo pendulum self steering gear that can be built out of sch 40 pipe and a sliding hatch that will seal well, like my hatch but sliding. It's a lot easier to explain concepts like these to other people with a three dimensional image than trying to pathetically draw it out and talk about it.
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