Free Boat Plans

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Mckruger, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. Mckruger
    Joined: Jun 2011
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    Location: South Africa

    Mckruger Junior Member

    Can anybody tell me where really free boat plans are avaiable. All the "Free" sites have some kind of catch.
     
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    @Mckkruger: welcome to the ways of the world. Free plans are worth every penny.
     
  3. Nurb
    Joined: Jan 2011
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    Location: IL

    Nurb Junior Member

    What size and type of boat do you want to build Mckruger?
     
  4. ozaffect
    Joined: Jun 2011
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    Location: uk

    ozaffect Junior Member

  5. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Free plans are just as Gonzo has point out any deserving of everything you've spent on them.

    As a rule, unless it's a 4 panel canoe or something, where you can't really screw up much, free plans are usually not complete, leaving the builder with more questions then plan details can solve. Stock plans don't cost much, many of mine are under $100 and several at $50, so if you need to save that much on a project, maybe building $20 plastic car models is a better hobby. I know a site where you can buy "complete plans" for $50 to a 40' ocean crossing yacht! The plans package has 4 11"x17" drawings, some text written 50 years ago, by a long since dead designer, a BOM that incorporates materials you can't find any more and uses techniques that are 3/4's a century old. But damn, they only cost 50 bucks . . .

    You get what you pay for . . .
     
  6. GTS225
    Joined: Jun 2011
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    Location: Waterloo, Iowa

    GTS225 Junior Member

    I've been looking into this myself, for just a ~12' sail/power boat. I've found that if the price is low, then the quality is also lacking. Two of the plans sets that I've purchased were low-dollar. There's no full-size templates, and the assembly instructions leave a bit to be desired as to details. I can follow them ok, but someone else may have difficulties.
    I suggest you decide what you want in a craft, research what is available, and bite the bullet if you have to. You'll thank yourself in the end.

    What I'd like to see is some sort of swap/for sale page that offers used or new/unused plans sets available for purchase, private party to private party.
    (Maybe there is one, and I've just missed it during my searches.)

    Roger
     
  7. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

  8. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Roger, plans are not a license to build how ever many you like and by as many as you pass the plans off to. It generally is accepted as a licensing agreement for the building of one boat. If the boat doesn't get built and you have the opportunity to acquire the plans, then the designer is contacted, if for no other reason then to update their records (which is all I require), though possibility for a royalty fee (you have the plans in a private sale, but not the right to build).

    Most plans, if a boat is built from them, become pretty rag tagged after it's all said and done. Additionally, most don't want to give up their plans after the build in case they need to make repairs.

    I agree some sort of low buck plans swap meet is a good idea, though I'm not sure how many respondents you'll find.
     
  9. troy2000
    Joined: Nov 2009
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    It would help if we knew what sort of boat you're interested in. Are you wanting to knock a few pieces of plywood together so you can paddle over to an out-of-reach fishing hole, or do you want to build a salt water cruiser and live-aboard? Do you want a sailing dinghy, or a high-performance inboard/outboard?

    There are plenty of free boat plans available, if you're willing to sail in the past. And a boat built to plans that are fifty or a hundred years old will still do everything it would have done fifty or a hundred years ago. If that's what you want, I second the suggestion to try Svenson's. If you want genuine period pieces (which I happen to like), the Smithsonian Institute has a catalog of plans that are so cheap they might as well be free....

    But boat designs have come a long way over the years, as have materials. I agree that free plans for modern boats are sometimes worth what you paid for them, once you get past the smaller and simpler ones. If you're looking for a boat plan that fits your specific needs, with good detail, designer support (very important sometimes for amateur builders) and the latest thinking and technology, there are plenty of real live designers on this forum. For anything beyond the most rudimentary of boats (the kind I build), they're worth talking to.
     
  10. Mckruger
    Joined: Jun 2011
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    Location: South Africa

    Mckruger Junior Member

    Boat Plans

    I am in the scale boat game, so it does not matter what type of boat it is. I enjoy building the boats at +- 1000mm length. Something that I found very usefull is to use stiff cardboard of A4 size and sticky tape as a basis to play with until the boat takes the shape. I have already done a double hull speedboat, tugboat, deep-v speed boat and double ended boat (like a canoe) using this method to get the shape and scale right. I also use Delftship Free design program to get a 3D feel for what the boat will look like. Any other suggestions which will assist in the process?
     
  11. Squidly-Diddly
    Joined: Sep 2007
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    Location: SF bay

    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    Oh, for model building? I posted a site with the most amazing

    old time COLOR blue prints from ships in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

    Amazing craftsmanship in the drawings alone.

    I believe it was about 8 months ago, give or take a few.

    I'll try to find it later.
     
  12. Milehog
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    Milehog Clever Quip

    In my experience free plans are not worth the cost of the wasted time, material and disappointment.
     
  13. Jeremy Harris
    Joined: Jun 2009
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    Location: Salisbury, UK

    Jeremy Harris Senior Member

    Unless, like the poster who's asking here, you're a model maker.................
     

  14. Milehog
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    Location: NW

    Milehog Clever Quip

    True, true. Possibly someone looking for free plans to build a full size boat will find this thread and be saved some trouble.
     
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