Free or Low Cost Hull Modeling Software

Discussion in 'Software' started by Admin, Jan 1, 2016.


Which free or low cost hull modeling program(s) do you use?

  1. Bearboat

  2. Blender

  3. BoatExpress

  4. Carene

  5. Carlson Design Hull Designer

  6. Free!Ship

  7. Free!Ship Plus

  8. DELFTship free

  9. HullCAO

  10. HullForm

  11. jSDN

  12. PolyCAD

  13. SketchUp

  14. Other (please post below)

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  1. Mike Inman
    Joined: Oct 2018
    Posts: 55
    Likes: 6, Points: 8
    Location: Jacksonville, Florida

    Mike Inman Junior Member

    Thanks, those are awesome designs.

    As I said, it's probably more how I've been using Blender than Blender itself. OpenSCAD starts with a text editor and I just naturally approach that by starting to define variables for critical dimensions and build up the geometry from those, and, as you say, if you want an elliptical surface in OpenSCAD (not a squashed circle) you get out the equation for the ellipse and write a code-loop to draw it...

    Blender starts out with that damn useless cube in the middle of a point-click-drag-drop interface and when I want Blender to do virtually anything, I Google search up a few YouTube videos which eventually show me more or less what I'm looking for - but as I said, these tend to the clay-sculpting approach. For instance: your (extremely impressive) toy tugboat drawing, after you placed the stringers, there's not a parameter in the model where you can change the overall length or beam and the stringers adjust to match, is there? If I could base my Blender renders on adjustable parameters where I might, for instance, change the interior cabin dimensions and have the exterior hull shape adjust itself to match, I'd be much more excited about spending the time developing the models.

    Clearly, Blender makes the more attractive renders, but when I want to tweak and trade off parameters like cabin vs gangway width still fitting in a limited beam, it doesn't feel like I can readily do that in Blender.

    Attached Files:

  2. Dolfiman
    Joined: Aug 2017
    Posts: 1,497
    Likes: 660, Points: 113
    Location: France

    Dolfiman Senior Member

    I think Gene-Hull can be put in this category, for early stage project :
    - for sailing yacht , attached to the quote #1 of this thread :
    Gene-Hull upgrade 2,3
    Tutorial for Gene-Hull UE 2,3
    - for canoƫ, attached to the quote#58 of this thread :
    Canoe length, efficiency and speed
    - for catamaran hull, attached to the quote#5 of this thread :
    Gene-Hull upgrade 2,3
    Skyak likes this.

  3. Dejay
    Joined: Mar 2018
    Posts: 721
    Likes: 138, Points: 43
    Location: Europe

    Dejay Senior Newbie

    Fusion 360 is a really amazing software with lots of powerful features and it's free for enthusiasts, students and startups <100k. But it does have an steep learning curve and doesn't support anything specific for hull modelling.

    You do have subdivision meshes and nurbs and parametric objects so it's easy to make something quick and dirty to try out ideas. But working with sketches and splines to define hull forms doesn't work that well. So it's kind of hard to get exactly what you want but easy to make smooth shapes.

    To use sketches and splines to loft from boat line plans is really cumbersome. You have to set up each station and waterline with a new construction plane and a new sketch and then watch out that you don't add accidental constraints to your sketch or you won't know what's happening. Maybe lofting plans using subdivision meshes works better, I have to try that.

    It also has lots of cool features to set dimensions and use them for parametric designs or alter the timeline. I hoped that I could set up something like a parametric catamaran hull to try some ideas but there are lots of little hitches and a few feature missing to make that work unfortunately.

    There is a lot of potential imho. It has a FEA simulation for isotropic materials. And a full CAM module for CNC and 3D printing so if you want to design or 3D print other boat parts it's just amazing.

    But PolyCAD and Delftship is probably much easier for hull modelling.
    bajansailor and JotM like this.
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