Best Marine Design Software for Hull Modeling? (2008-09)

Discussion in 'Software' started by Admin, Apr 8, 2008.

?

Which program(s) do you use as your primary hull design software?

  1. Autoship (Autoship Systems Corporation)

    13 vote(s)
    6.2%
  2. Catia

    9 vote(s)
    4.3%
  3. DefCar (DefCar Engineering)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Delftship

    28 vote(s)
    13.4%
  5. Fastship (Proteus Engineering)

    2 vote(s)
    1.0%
  6. HullCAO (HullCAO)

    1 vote(s)
    0.5%
  7. Hull Form (Blue Peter Marine Systems)

    2 vote(s)
    1.0%
  8. Maxsurf (Formation Design Systems)

    59 vote(s)
    28.2%
  9. MultiSurf (Aerohydro)

    10 vote(s)
    4.8%
  10. Naval Designer

    2 vote(s)
    1.0%
  11. Prolines (Vacanti Yacht Design)

    4 vote(s)
    1.9%
  12. ProSurf (New Wave Systems)

    3 vote(s)
    1.4%
  13. Rhino (Robert McNeel & Assoc.)

    53 vote(s)
    25.4%
  14. SeaSolution

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  15. TouchCAD

    5 vote(s)
    2.4%
  16. Other (please post below)

    18 vote(s)
    8.6%
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  1. shellexpansion
    Joined: Sep 2008
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    shellexpansion Junior Member

    I didn't come here for long, busy with creating a new model with smartMarine.

    cadds5 is already dead, almost. ptc has someone fixing bugs in india, not much. NX and Catia is too expensive.

    smartmarine is really good, but the price is also very high, not suitable to discuss here.

    has anyone use Inventor from autoDesk to do some boat design? any comments for inventor? I know Inventor a little bit, but not ship/boat related.
     
  2. shellexpansion
    Joined: Sep 2008
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    shellexpansion Junior Member

    could you please comments on the modeling capability? how stable is the software?
     
  3. Ad Hoc
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    Inventor is ok, not great, looks good though. It is not truly parametric.

    The problem with all these 3D software programs is that one has to input so much data just to get out basic construction dwgs. This is very very time consuming!
     
  4. shellexpansion
    Joined: Sep 2008
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    shellexpansion Junior Member

    could you please tell me what kind of data you need to input? offset tables, scantline, seamlines or landcurves?

    do you use inventor to fair the station lines or repair the hull form?

    CADDS5 has geom. package to let know fiddle with hull surfaces. I am not in the position to tell the case for inventor.
     
  5. Ad Hoc
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    Sounds like you are referring to the hull and its ability to become an electronic file. As such you need a proper hull modeller. Inventor et al are not. These are just software's for producing 'production' related information in a single environment.
    Think of a draughtsman, a DO Manager, an estimator, Plasma cutter operator, purchasing manger etc...all these functions can be done in such software. This is what they are 'designed' to do. Hence many small designers (as well as large shipyards) use these tools. But takes for ever to learn how to use them effectively.

    Just don't try and crack a nut with a nuclear war head when a hammer will do..!
     
  6. Guest62110524

    Guest62110524 Previous Member

    how can one export polygon meshes into maxsurf please?
     
  7. dreamer
    Joined: Nov 2004
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    Location: Minnesota, USA

    dreamer Soñadora

    If you were to look at Inventor, you would be better off looking at SolidWorks. SolidWorks has much better surface manipulation tools and the interface is much more tightly integrated. Their sheet metal tools are also much better than those in Inventor (I'm referring to developable sheet metal tools vs. non-developable which neither package can do).

    Certainly I am biased as I was formerly an applications engineer for SolidWorks. But, now that I am no longer in that role I can be somewhat critical of SolidWorks as well, though between the two, SolidWorks is a much better package on its own.

    With that said, you could probably find some threads of mine from way back that touted SolidWorks as a truly complete package (including hull fairing). After fighting this for a very long time, I will say that today it's just not there. It takes too much work to get a truly fair hull. After trying this for 4 years and working directly with SolidWorks I have given up in favor of RhinoMarine or Orca (Orca being the preferred).

    That is STRICTLY for hull design. I design hulls in RhinoMarine (soon to switch to Orca) and bring the half hull surface directly into SolidWorks no IGES translation necessary as SolidWorks can read Rhino files. I build the rest of the boat from there.

    This gives me true parametrics and makes the modeling process and 'what-if' process much easier than using Rhino for the whole boat..

    The ONLY downside to this method is if the hull changes. It is a bit of work to re-integrate the changes into SolidWorks as there is no parametrics between the Rhino model and SolidWorks. It takes some forethought early on to make sure the up-date process is minimal.

    My guess is that a future release of SolidWorks will include the surface manipulation tools necessary to generate hull forms. The surface technology already exists in SolidWorks, but the surface manipulation tools are not as easy (I would say impossible) to use on a hull surface as say the 'net' feature is in RhinoMarine. Once we see nets in SolidWorks, that program could truly become a soup-to-nuts platform for hull design.

    Comparitively, it is a bit pricey compared to Rhino + RhinoMarine or Orca, but it is much cheaper than Catia and on par other marine-specific software. In addition, you get an AutoCAD-like editor called DWGEditor for free.
     
  8. Ad Hoc
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    Dreamer

    When you say "..I design hulls in RhinoMarine .." I assume you mean you 'draw' the hull shapes and structure in this software package; replacing a pen and paper so to speak. As opposed to 'design' using first principal calculations, beam theory etc and class rule checking for compliance etc?
     
  9. dreamer
    Joined: Nov 2004
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    Location: Minnesota, USA

    dreamer Soñadora

    Excellent point Ad Hoc

    There is a risk of arguing semantics here. The 'design' I refer to is high level design mainly for recreational craft under 100' or so. Personally, I have been sticking with the 30' to 60' range. These require less theory and more best-practices than a purpose-built 300' commercial vessel. While RhinoMarine may be just fine for such a thing, I wouldn't go down that road with SolidWorks. At least not on the entire vessel. SolidWorks is a more tactical package for that type of project. For examples of work done using SolidWorks, you can see some of my stuff in the Gallery. All those models were done entirely in SolidWorks with the exception of my latest model (Grand Marais 40 - which will be henceforth known as the Grand Portage 40 thanks to YM ;)) which use the process I outlined above.

    RhinoMarine does provide tools for predicting hydrostatic performance when 'designing' a hull, but it is not down at a Naval Architect level.

    Interesting side-note. I just now d/l'd Free!ship and attempted the same process. It seems promising however the surface editing tools are a bit cumbersome in Free!ship. The nodes are modified via parameters vs. mouse input. That's strictly on a first-impression basis and I could be wrong about that.
     
  10. Ad Hoc
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    Dreamer

    You too hit on a valid point, which confuses many, in the semantics.

    "..These require less theory and more best-practices.." Many 'designs' are simply that, using "best practice" but called design. Trouble is, best practice for who, what conditions, why etc?
    What may be called best practice is often just "that's the way I was shown or have built in the past" and not knowing if it is indeed 'best practice', it is just a repeat of "something" being done before. This is not to say it wont work, many are actually 'best practice details', just that the "design" element is somewhat lacking. Ask someone why XXX has been done, and "best practice" or similar to that which you have eluded will be the reply. Enquire deeper, .."ok, but why like that and not like this.." just leads to an argument, out of lack of understanding.

    These software tools are great for "best practice" type of design. One can create a database of such. Trouble is, without understanding the reasons for such 'details' one is in danger or repeating not just the detail but using the wrong 'detail' or if any inherent flaw that exists too, which are never communicated later.

    Copy and paste has never been so easy... as such the emphasis for "designers" is now the knowledge, speed and ability in using the software, and not the knowledge in what is being 'drawn/designed'.

    Can't see the wood for the trees!
     
  11. dreamer
    Joined: Nov 2004
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    Location: Minnesota, USA

    dreamer Soñadora

    Any 'design' (now being used as a noun here rather than verb) can be called successful if it fully meets its goals. In the range of vessel I'm referring to, the goals are fairly narrow in most cases have been goals for hundreds of years, answered with proven 'best practices' that can be quantified by deeper study to be true. If that is the case, why would one re-prove something that's already proven?

    Now, if the goal is to be the ULTIMATE race boat, or the ULTIMATE load carrying vessel, or the ULTIMATE in efficiency (timely no doubt) then those goals require further analysis as 'The Devil is in the Details' in these cases.

    However, the clients I deal with (and I would bet most who would deal with clients in this market) would not recognize the difference between a best-practice and a theoretical parameter carried out to the 10th decimal place. Especially if that parameter simply proves what is known.

    These tools are geared more towads re-using the wheel than re-inventing it. Using known design elements (now used as an adjective - damn English!) and procedures to answer very narrow criteria.

    I will stand by my use of the word 'design' and use the word 'engineering' more in the context you describe. In my 20+ years in the design/engineering business, the distinction between the two has always been clear.

    Now, if we really wanted to swing a dead cat, we could also throw in those Designers who make the pretty pictures and do cool interweb stuff. ;)

    I think what may be happening is more an issue of pride than anything. There are those who slog through the time and expense of getting their NA credentials only to see some high school kid who is good with 'puters crank out boat after boat - and The People are buying it!

    It has always been this way. Until recently, here in MN any average drafter could become a licensed Architect (buildings). The 'Pros' with their MArch. degrees put a stop to that and now it is not possible for anyone but Architects to design buildings. Personally I could care less, but I think taking that direction has the potential for stifling creativity.

    Considering that today one can create a totally legitimate set of lines in a matter of a few clicks of the mouse when it would take a good drafter a couple of days to create a set by hand, it is pretty phenomenal. Don't disregard the potential of these tools as perfectly acceptable for solving the problems at hand. The same was once said of AutoCAD and despite all the naysayers, it is ubiquitous. I would doubt there is any marine design firm in business who does not utilize several copies of AutoCAD. I would be willing to bet that Rhino is almost as prevelent.
     
  12. Ad Hoc
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    Dreamer
    You are far luckier than I. All my designs are different, in essence they are prototypes, but that is generally the nature of any commercial design, rather than the luxury/private sector wish i assume you are in.

    "...Considering that today one can create a totally legitimate set of lines in a matter of a few clicks of the mouse when it would take a good drafter a couple of days to create a set by hand, it is pretty phenomenal..."

    Yes amazing. There are some guys i know who really blow me away with their ability to "manipulate" the software and their speed too.

    But you are also right in that the word 'design' has become a noun. As such the general public tend to get confused as much as anyone else.

    "...Now, if we really wanted to swing a dead cat, we could also throw in those Designers who make the pretty pictures and do cool interweb stuff..."

    That is a major can of worms too. Having said that, I've got a friend who is a "stylist/interior designer". He wouldn't know a shear force from a shear drop, but his work is "design". It may not be with numbers, but he is creating something from nothing which has a "function", and jolly exceptional designs they are too...
     
  13. dreamer
    Joined: Nov 2004
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    dreamer Soñadora

    Then there are the Hair Designers who DO know what "shear" force is. :p

    but, I digress....
     
  14. CowMan
    Joined: Mar 2009
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    CowMan Naval Architect

    It'd be nice if there was a 'best' program! All the ones I've used have thus far been varying mostly in their level of frustration, generally at the UI. Have had some success using most of these together with educational licenses; that is, AutoShip for hull development, Rhino for some cleanup, Solidworks for structural detailing, and AutoCAD for final drawings. Not economically feasible for a small design office, though.
     

  15. dreamer
    Joined: Nov 2004
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    Location: Minnesota, USA

    dreamer Soñadora

    There is not a BEST program. Never will be. It is the nature of free market. The best you can do is to reduce your 'fraction' as much as possible. It is entirely possible to eliminate either AutoShip or Rhino from the equation as well as AutoCAD. Use either Rhino or AutoShip as your hull modeler. Bring that into SolidWorks (or ProE or Inventor) either directly (as Rhino) or indirectly (as IGES). You can also generate your hull lines plan in your hull modeler. Or, if you're savvy, it's entirely possible to generate hull lines in SolidWorks as well.

    With the hull imported into SolidWorks, complete the entire vessel (if your vessel is under 100') or detail portions of it (if over 100').

    SolidWorks includes a free AutoCAD-like component called DWG Editor. It looks more like AutoCAD 2000, but that's not a problem. It can open and edit current versions of AutoCAD and I would bet that all the common commands you would use for editing DWGs are available in DWG Editor.

    So, in theory you could do all your modeling with just two applications.

    The problem is when you start to dig into the details. You will need other programs to do boundary layer CFD, another for VPP, another for development of non-developable sufaces, etc. I've heard that Catia can do all of this, but it's a matter of getting the modules and Catia is outrageously expensive and requires a great deal of mental real estate.

    Now as a CAD instructor for going on 20 years, I can tell you that UI frustrations are more a characteristic of the user than of the software (I had one old-timer continually turn the mouse 180 degrees from its intended use). The students who excel are those who take the time to understand how the interface works rather than trying to make it work the way they think it should. Some of the most difficult students are the ones who are already well-versed in a particular piece of software and have a tough time letting go. It takes a lot of diligence to learn a new piece of software. The good news is that as competition has become fierce, most of the big-name packages have started to look and feel like each other.

    Anyone looking to learn a solid modeler will find that SolidWorks, ProE (Wildfire), and Inventor for the most part act the same and use the same terminology. Rhino is set up more like 3D Studio or Maya.

    AutoCAD is, well, AutoCAD. As it has evolved, it has become a bloated whale of a package. It was difficult to teach back in the day and I can't imagine trying to wade through all the minutiae it's filled with now as a first-time user.

    All of this is academic really. Too much emphasis is placed on Software and not enough on actual skill The software will do EXACTLY what you tell it, no matter how lame. As a 3-year novice in hull design, I can vouch for that.
     
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