Design in AutoCAD

Discussion in 'Software' started by pazimmer610, Dec 28, 2011.

  1. pazimmer610
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    pazimmer610 New Member

    I would like to know where to get started in design using AutoCAD. I have 4 years of experience in AutoCAD, but it was mainly houses and floorplans. I did design one boat but, it was so "sketchy" and not very well drawn using the software. Any suggestions? I feel like the dwg may need to be set up differently than if I were doing a floorplan or house. Any help is greatly appreciated.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011
  2. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

    Boats are built on the floor, so start by laying out a floor in acad. As you draw the boat from the floor up you may want to start laying out the building jig simultaneously.
  3. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

    But there is more to it than just knowing how to use autocad. You must also know the requirements of the vessel.
  4. pazimmer610
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    pazimmer610 New Member

    What exactly do you mean by requirements?
  5. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

    Speaking as an amateur, I refer to stresses, loads, hydrodynamics, economy, materials, assembly procedures and techniques and many other factors involved to move the boat from the drawing board to the dock.
  6. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

    Knowledge of floor-plans is important in both houses and boats, so that is a plus for you. There is a strategy for the lay-out of traffic patterns and usage in both. Form follows function. Houses and boats must both be protected from their environments but there is a lot of difference between the two.
  7. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

    Just as a house has many layers of blueprints tailored to different sets of contractors (i.e. electrical, plumbing etc.) so it is with boats. All layers must be compatible.
    There are more similarities in the drafting on acad than there are differences. Just follow the same standards you already know but adjust for the differences when you encounter them.
  8. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    If you are experienced in Autocad, get a demo version of Freeship or Delftship software and look them over.

    You will get features like automatic mirror imaging, and most importantly, floating calculations (hydrostatics).

    With houses, you don't have to arrange the shape and weight of the house so it wont sink past the windowsills in mud - and there is barely a right angle or straight line in the whole structure.
  9. JRD
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    JRD Senior Member

    Agree - but if you are experienced with AutoCAD, make sure that whichever boat design programme you learn, that it can export the lines as a DXF.

    AutoCAD is not great at dealing with the curves on a boat and transfering the lines from elevation to plan to section will be a slow job, especially as you will keep having to change each to make it all fit together.

    Additionally there are the hydrostatic calculations that Freeship etc are designed to do that AutoCAD cannot.

    However AutoCAD is great for doing working drawings, detailing and dimensioning.
  10. Alik
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    Alik Senior Member

    12...15 years ago I did scripts and AutoLisp applications for AutoCAD for making sections on lines plan, exporting graphical database of shapes to other engineering software, checking sail plan balance, etc. Nowdays a lot of better soft is available, though AutoCAD Lite is still in use by us for finalizing 2D drawings.
  11. FMS
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    FMS Senior Member

    I have not used autocad in many years. Then the curve spline tools were very limited.
    Has this improved at all with later versions of autocad?

  12. CmbtntDzgnr
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    CmbtntDzgnr Senior Member

    If you find you are having difficulties in using ACAD, consider checking out a demo of Punch! ViaCAD Pro 7 (8 won't be out til maybe Feb 2012). You could also check out a demo of ViaCAD 8 2D/3D. That is, if you are not using ACAD within Ship Constructor or AutoShip.

    I know of a design firm that uses ACAD for 2D. They have Ship Constructor and HARDLY USE IT. But, the experienced drafters don't attempt (any more) to use ACAD 20xx for 3D (nothing serious that is) because it is insufficient. Part of the issues is that for quite a long time many of the clients didn't value 3D enough. If I had to do ships in 2D for a living, I'd be very stressed out if ACAD was the ONLY tool I would be allowed to use. I have tried before, and was stymied by the 3D interface (in older version, but the most recent seems to be pretty nice), the seemingly multi-organizationally-created CLI commands, and such.

    Personally, I CAN NOT bring myself to do ANY THING related to ship design in a pure 2D product application. (Years ago, in/~ 1994 I bought DesignCAD 2d/3d after painful experience with TurboCAD in 1990. No joy. sat on it for years, achieving zilch. Between 04 and 07, I tried various things, but never knew of this forum, and never knew of Freeship from the early years. Never knew about PolyCAD til maybe 07, but it at that time had some bug which now is fix. Non-free tools were out of the question since money is often an issue.) I am constantly wanting to visualize working room and fit/functionality before I get the hull form down.

    For me, the combination of Delftship Free and ViaCAD 2D/3D (~$80) worked out once I began good habits. Then, it became Delftship Pro and VC 2D/3D, then Delsftship Pro and ViaCAD Pro, then Freeship/Hydronship and VC Pro (~$270). Now, it's edging to PolyCAD and VC Pro, but Freeship is there for the reports, and I'm experimenting with PolyCAD for the greater ease of segmenting the hull more locally than compared to solely FS/DS.

    ViaCAD Pro is not *perfect*, but for 3D work and getting outputs of moments/CGs, and sweeping rails on statons and waterlines to obtain web frames and stringers, bulkheads, and flanges, and doing general CAD, VCP (for me) is vastly better than ACAD. ACAD has its place, but as it is, I don't thing 3D solids and surface in the hydros environ is it unless you have deep pockets, a valid license of it, and also use it with AutoSHIP or Ship Constructor -- and you have projects that will get you your ROI in a sane timeline. SC has numerous modules, but you may not need them all, and some things you need may be featured in a general module you don't want, due to pricing or other reasons.

    VCP lacks numerous bells and whistles and the CLI ACAD has, but it (for now) does surfaces and solids and mass information better (as long as you start off with clean shapes, meaning that whatever Hydros/ship modeling software you use, make sure your LINEWORK is faired VERY well, otherwise VC or probably any other app will crash, croak, or just present you super-jaggy stations you won't notice without a curve plot, and while you may get surfaces, they may not thicken well or at all. I learned this the HARD way when creating stations in DS and FS and relying on JUST their own fairing plots -- which would be fine if I didn't have so many points along stations. But, once in PolyCAD, I quickly found out that my overly-control-pointedbadly-faired stations were 99% responsible for my inability to consistently and stresslessly generate solid side shell in ViaCAD in some places. I was confounded that some seemingly complex, compound curvature surfaces could thicken almost instantly, yet an area of a midbody-like surface would take minutes to thicken if at all. Thanks to PolyCAD, I now make sure to re-create all my DS/FS lines with least-fit squares bsplines, even though I sometimes re-convert to polylines to do some things. But, at least the curvature plot is vastly better than compared to not using PolyCAD.

    Keep an eye out for CAFE, too. I'm chafing to see the next version of it, but as an almost all-in-one hull design program it is looking PREEEEETy good. I just wish they'd get out the product update/upgrade (it's a little overdue but check out their youtube vid or the ones on their own site).

    Having said all that, if you are learning for a specific employer and AC is THE only thing that can be used, then that's what you may as well focus on. But, don't overlook other nimble, industry-suitable apps. And, as JRD said, make sure DXF if 2-way usable.

    Having said THAT, if you're going to design vessels you don't want to do it free-form in a non-hydros package. You need to have limits, a plan, and buoyancy/stability tools guiding or reminding you of thresholds you're approaching or exceeded. Otherwise, you could design in ACAD and find that Rhino (with hydros plug-ins, etc), or other apps, will be needed to reign you back in to a design that will work for your intended recipient (assuming it's not just about you.)

    Have FUN!

    Oh, some URLs:

    When designing ships, you need a product that is more than a generic 2D app. It needs at a minimum to offer you this kind of environment:




    Creating the bow of a ship in PolyCAD using X-Topology Lofting:




    Punch ViaCAD:
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011
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