Is SOLIDWORKS a good CAD package for a boatyard's Design Office?

Discussion in 'Software' started by ram68ocean, Aug 5, 2017.


What is the most appropriate CAD package for modeling fully a power boat with all its items?

Poll closed Jan 5, 2018.

    0 vote(s)
  2. Rhino (+ AutoCAD LT)

  3. Fusion 360

    0 vote(s)
  4. Other

  1. ram68ocean
    Joined: Mar 2013
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    Location: Europe

    ram68ocean Junior Member

    Is anyone working in a boatyard or shipyard (under 24m) using SOLIDWORKS successfully to maintain a full 3d master model with all the structure and all components during the build, do detailed production engineering, and issue drawings for fabrication and workshop floor?

    In previous projects after the hull shape is defined in Maxsurf, internal structure and deck are made in Rhino. Then comes the modeling of tanks and all the equipment. We end up with what we call the boat's 3d Master Model. Normally we would do drawings from Rhino or export to AutoCAD LT (2d) to do neat drawings with dimensions, labels, etc.

    We realized this was not time efficient as minor changes in the 3d model are not reflected on the 2d drawing. In other words, it doesn't have the 2D associative drawing capability (3d model relates to workshop floor drawings).

    I was recently introduced to Solidworks (similar to Autodesk Inventor I was told) as an alternative for a boatyard's design office. After trying it myself and having seen it in use by experienced SW users, I am still not convinced this is a proper solution for marine design.
    I have seen some good designs coming from it but are mostly of isolated assemblies, like hatches and hinges where you can see the movement and check easier for clashes or interferences.
    On the other hand, I have seen it crash many times. Also, there is always an error or file not found. Seems quite unstable and fragile software where losing information is not unfrequent. It is also quite slow when displaying the whole boat assembly. I have seen some silly mistakes of the software or gets confused when using mates referencing parts not made in SW.

    I would like to think it is possible to use it. Are there any boatyards or shipyards using it?

    What CAD software is the most common and better nowadays for engineers and designers working in boatyards?
  2. jorgepease
    Joined: Feb 2012
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    Location: Florida

    jorgepease Senior Member

    SW is a parametric design software, Rhino has the History feature which helps a bit but, wow, what a pain when you want to make changes, wish I could justify the cost of SW!!!!! I think SW has so many more features than Rhino that its not even fair to compare them, if you can justify the expense and learn SW then, in my opinion, you would never use Rhino again :)
  3. tobbe
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    Location: Sweden

    tobbe Junior Member

    I would recomend you to look at Ship Constructor from SSI corp. It is a AutoCad based software purpose made for ship building. ..but I have never actually used it "for real" myself , only tutorials and demonstrations.

    I have used Aveva Marine in work. It is a marine design software for large shipyard with all possible features, far beyond your requirements . My company use Inventor for 3D design, it is a good 3D design software but lacks a lot of functionality, and we are very close to go for Ship Constructor. Its a matter of money, we are a design company and a lot of the features are for production an we will not get paid for them by our clients.

    Have a look at it and find out your self.
  4. TANSL
    Joined: Sep 2011
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    TANSL Senior Member

    Since you already have MaxSurf and know AutoCAD, I recommend that you use MaxSurf for all naval architecture calculations and to define the structure of the boat. All drawings of the project can be done with AutoCAD (which exchanges very well the files with MaxSurf), full version, not AutoCAD LT which is very limited.
    My advice is to look no further and try to get everything out of what you already have, which is a lot.
  5. ram68ocean
    Joined: Mar 2013
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    Location: Europe

    ram68ocean Junior Member

    I like this suggestion of using AutoCAD full version. Thanks.
  6. LEADGlobal
    Joined: Apr 2017
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    Location: US

    LEADGlobal Junior Member

    I am a 20 year user of Solidworks and Catia. To affectively use Solidworks For designing boats you need Solidworks Pro which now will set you back about $10k. This is what i use for designing.
    Through the years Solidworks nick name was crashworks. It used to be really bad, but in the last few years they have worked out most all the issues. On the other hand, it is a massive program and a memory hog. I have to keep upgrading my hardware to keep up with their new releases.
    The biggest benifit of Solidworks is the speed of design and the analysis modules. I have used Autocad Inventer, Pro-E, Rino, Catia and others, but Solidworks will cut your design time down considerably. Of course it is also depending in the skill of the user.

    On the other hand, it does not have ship hull calculations that i believe Maxsurf has. But it does have flow analysis and a good FEA package built in.

  7. Ben Landgren
    Joined: Jun 2017
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    Location: Newcastle Upon Tyne

    Ben Landgren Junior Member

    I have been using SW for the past 8 years and I have to say that I have not experienced too much crashing. The thing is that nowadays SW mainly crashes if you try to make something that can't be done while Rhino might not crash but your geometry will be a mess. So I would say SW crashing and your modeling skills go hand in hand.

    Currently I use SW 2017 standard and it is perfectly enough for me to design propulsion drives and boats. Of course I cannot use the extensive FEM features with standard version only. Nice thing about SW is the history tree which allows you to go back and modify the early steps of your design. I also like the drawing tools. SW takes however some time to learn and I still learn new things from time to time.

    Standard version takes just about 10 Gb of hardware space and SW2017 runs perfectly smooth on my 4 yo laptop even with large assemblies.
    akhilsvnair likes this.
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