Cost of converting plans into numeric cutting files

Discussion in 'Metal Boat Building' started by servobot, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. servobot
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    servobot Dreamer


    I have plans for the Atkin Liza Jane, a tiny single-chine steel sailboat of 17' 6" LWL (19' 8" overall) and 7' beam. More information can be found here:

    I'd like to know what it might cost to have someone loft this boat on a computer and create a set of cutting files for the entire hull, deck, cabin and skeg---basically a kit that I would assemble.

    It’s very simple---totally frameless, except for deck and cabin roof framing.

    Would anyone on here be interested in providing a quote? I can capture an image of the table of offsets and construction plan, if that would help.

  2. MikeJohns
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    Firstly you need to purchase the rights to build one vessel from whoever owns the design.

    Then if they already have a CAD file of the vessel then it's much simpler since the plates only need flattenning which can be done in several CAD programs.
    The NC cutters these days read many CAD formats so cutting files are much easier to produce now. In the past we had to produce code for a specific machine, now we just give them the CAD file.

    Estimate for the shell plates hull and deck for this vessel would be around $200 if a CAD file exists and around $800 working from the lines plan and offsets.

    Or you could do much of the work yourself with help from the forum members using Freeship and perhaps the 25 save free version of Rhino. :)
  3. pamarine
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    pamarine Marine Electrician

    If you are looking for it to be cut from steel just look in the yellowpages for Machine Shops in your area. There are a ton in the Triangle region that will have the capability to cut that boat for ya. Just take them the plans (if you've bought them) and they can quote it for ya.
  4. servobot
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    servobot Dreamer

    Thanks for responses, guys.

    Mike: I do already own the plans, but the design was created sometime in the days of yore, prior to computer-driven design. I've briefly looked at the offsets import function offered in Delftship. It doesn't seem beyond me, I've just got two young kids that eat up a large part of my free time. I do have quite a bit of 2D image editing and illustration experience, but none in CAD/CAM or 3D modeling.

    Does Freeship have any advantages over Delftship in the conversion of offsets?

    pamarine: It's great to hear that I can handle the cutting locally. I'll start looking around now.
  5. rugludallur
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Iceland

    rugludallur Rugludallur

    Why not do it yourself?

    In the last couple of years I have been building a Hout Bay 33 by Dudley Dix, since there were no cutting files or digital drawings I remodeled the boat from scratch. It has probably taken around 3-4000 hours but that's including almost every detail, bolt holes, interior, etc.
    Modeling round/radius chined hulls is going to take more time than hard chined boats and if you only want the hull plating that will cut down the time. Looking at the design I would think an experienced modeler could probably create a single surface model in 10 hours, keep in mind that this includes adjusting seams for the plate thickness and such.
    When the model is ready it might take another 2 hours to flatten everything and organize it for optimal material usage from the plates, this would then be exported as either DXF format or DWG.
    Once this is complete the DXF/DWG needs to be turned into G-Code which is machine specific and includes things like offsets for the cutting width of the plasma/laser/water/acetylene, this is done with a CAM program and might take another hour or two.

    Why don't you download a trial copy of Rhino 3D and try modeling the boat yourself?
    Basically all you have to do is to type in the station offsets as points, create polylines through the points and then create surfaces from the polyline/curve network. If you get lost there are plenty of tutorials to try.

    I think it's a really good exercise to model the boat yourself, it's a bit like building the boat before you actually build it so it gives you the opportunity to spot problem areas and solve them before committing to cutting any material.


  6. servobot
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    servobot Dreamer

    Thanks, Jarl. I will defintely try it myself. Right now I'm playing with a demo version of ProChine 3, but I'll go ahead and make the switch over to Rhino, since it seems to be a more powerful tool for the exercises that happen beyond hull plating.

    I like the idea of modeling every detail associated with the boat. My goal is to have every piece of the hull machine cut and ready for assembly. If I could go even farther, and model interior cabinetry, that would be awesome too.

    I'll download the demo and get cracking on some tutorials.
  7. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    When you look here:

    you´ll find a very simple and easy to learn way to draw the lines in Freeship. You can then "develop" the plating yourself and check if everything is to your satisfaction. When that is all done (not a difficult task and much less time consuming than learning Rhino), you export the files into dxf and have it ready for further steps in other cad/cam applications and programmes.
    Try it, it´s easy.


  8. Raggi_Thor
    Joined: Jan 2004
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    Location: Trondheim, NORWAY

    Raggi_Thor Nav.arch/Designer/Builder

    In Rhino I would guess it's a couple of days work, depending on the accuracy you need.
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