Looking for the right path to design and build

Discussion in 'Education' started by ben_morel, Oct 4, 2005.

  1. ben_morel
    Joined: Oct 2005
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    Location: Canada

    ben_morel Dreamer

    Hi,
    First, I would like to present myself : I have a Master in Engineer (hydro & mecanics), but I am not working in the naval industry. I have more than ten years of experience, and I have my own company.

    My hobby: Doing a lot of sailing but on small craft.

    My objective : Designing and building my own boat (50 to 60 feet long) - I have 3 kids - for a circumnavigation.
    I like doing things myself, so for now, I don't want to buy a boat. I like the challenge, and I have time.

    My objective is not to become a famous Naval Designer. My objective is to live my dreams with my familly.


    The constraints : Even if I am engineer, the knowledge you learn are not enough to design and build a boat with no direction and experience. So I am looking for a way to learn the missing knowledge (practical stuff).

    Of course, if I want to leave one day, I must continue developing my company. So the course must be adapted for professional, and it must be distance learning.

    The only school I know that could meet these criteria is Westlawn.
    And it could be a fit. But I am looking for other experiences.
    Any suggestion of a training course .....
    Thanks.
     
  2. Raggi_Thor
    Joined: Jan 2004
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    Raggi_Thor Nav.arch/Designer/Builder

    Take a look at MacNaughton,
    http://www.macnaughtongroup.com/school.htm

    I don't know what material and style you prefer, maybe you would like to read Bueler's "Backyard boatbuilding" or something like that?

    But I would advice you to buy a set of stock plans if you find something that is close enough to what you want.
     
  3. MikeJohns
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    Ben

    Welcome, could do with some more engineers around here !

    With your background you should find that you will learn more from a few good books on the subject than from a course designed for unqualified novices.

    For a start read Dave Gerr's "Elements of boat strength" and obtain Piere Gutelle " Design of sailing yachts" that will give you as good a knowledge levelas anyone else has in this field. The rest is prejudice. A really good primer is a little but very good book by John Teale called "How to design a boat" you should also get your hands on a few other titles but start with those above.

    If you choose to design a metal boat then you can use your usual tools such as FEA to assist in much of the design. Most design is simple linear mathematics , an understanding of moments, section moduli, and sensible load transfer. Prediction of loads can be a problem in a complex dynamic environment, as an engineer you have to learn to turn to tabulated data on what has worked historically as a design basis.

    You also need to get yur hands on a good 3d CAD package and a hydrostatics module. Such as Rhino and Rhino marine or the Maxsurf suite.

    feel free to email me (click on my user name above) for queries where and when you get stuck.
     
  4. CDBarry
    Joined: Nov 2002
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    CDBarry Senior Member

    Here's a reasonable list:

    Hamlin's book, ("Preliminary Design of Boast and Ships"), Larson and Eliasson's book, and maybe one on fishing vessel design published in the UK (don't have the name and author, but it was an FAO project).

    The scantling process is from ABS rules (www.eagle.org), you don't need FEA.

    Go to the SNAME website and look around too.
     
  5. ben_morel
    Joined: Oct 2005
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    ben_morel Dreamer

    Is self-study in books enough ?

    Hi all,
    Thanks for the answers.
    If I understand, most of you thinks self-study with books is enough.
    But even if I am engineer, I don't think that means I have all the right knowledge to design and build my boat.
    Yes, I am pretty sure I have all the math and physics knowledge. But I am not sure it is enough.
    Specially after working 10 years in another field.

    So, does it worth it to study with a school ?
    Maybe the investment in a school may be interesting compared to the time and money I'll lose if I study by myself, with a try and error strategy.
    In one of the previous post, Westlawn is described to be for "unqualified novices".
    When I read the program of the studies, it looks pretty good.
    And it is a 2 years long course.
    It is difficult to imagine it is so bad.
    Is it because of a war between engineers and the others...

    Can I have more details, inmput on that ?

    Thanks,
    Benoit
     
  6. Raggi_Thor
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    Raggi_Thor Nav.arch/Designer/Builder

    Well, I am looking at the first two lessons of MacNaughton's school. Even if I am a Naval Architect or Marine Engineers (Msc) graduated 12 years ago, I find it very interesting. There is a lot of details regarding sailing vessels and small boats that I never learnt at the university. Even if I have read a few meters (many feet!) of books the last 20 years, I find something new and interesting in these two lessons, and I suppose doing my homework and get some comments will be great fun :) Finally, you can buy just two lessons and then see what you think. And NO, I am not payd by MacNaughton.
     
  7. Willallison
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    Willallison Senior Member

    I would both agree and disagree with Mike's (Johns) post above. All the information you need is readily available in books - some of which are mentioned above.
    The problem is ensuring that you have accumulated and understood all the necessary information. This is where schools such as those mentioned can help.
    I am working my way through the final exam of the Westlawn course. I've enjoyed (almost) every minute of it and have learned a great deal. I also understand thet there is still a great deal more for to learn;) . For a start, let me assure you that if you intend to continue working and doing Westlawn part time it will take you more than 2 years. Bank on at least 4. Also, I think you'd be starting the course at a good time - since the ABYC took 'control' of Westlawn and brought Dave Gerr on board there has been a rapid updating of all the course material - which I think even the school would agree was long overdue. On completing the course, could I design a boat capable of taking my family and I around the world? Yes.
    As far as YDS (McNaughton) goes, I can't comment. I'm sure the course content is there. I chose Westlawn because I felt that it had a better reputation internationally. No, perhaps that's overstating it a bit - let's say I get the impression that the Westkawn course would hold me in better stead when it come time to apply for work in the industry....
    So, yes, you can find all the info you need without attending any of the schools - so long as you know what to look for.....
     
  8. CDBarry
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    CDBarry Senior Member

    It's worth noting that, among other working designers, Bob Perry is self-educated in boat design, and didn't even start with an engineering degree.

    I also know of several engineers and scientists in other fields (and one lawyer, and one vet, and even an actor) who have designed and built their own boats, including at least one serious maxi class racer.

    You can get most of what you need out of the literature, and you can probably get the rest free out of personal conversations with naval architects (hence the SNAME contact - go to a section meeting). If you are on the East Coast try to make the CSYS and get some contacts.

    Also, check out www.proboat.com and www.ibexshow.com
     
  9. ben_morel
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    ben_morel Dreamer

    When is a good time for Westlawn

    Thanks Will,

    I know now much better where I am going to.
    Will, You told me that I should start the course at the right time, because the course material is evolving a lot.

    What do you mean by right time ?
    Now, In 3 months, 1 year, 2 years ....

    Thanks,
    Benoit
     
  10. Raggi_Thor
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    Raggi_Thor Nav.arch/Designer/Builder

    I think he means that now is mucher better than a while ago, because Gerr is there now.
     
  11. nero
    Joined: Aug 2003
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    nero Senior Member

    There is a steep curve to starting your project ... and the learning will keep on until the end. Finding what type of boat you want, the method and material. Then you can start your design. I started off on this adventure a few years back.

    I choose wood strip planking sheathed with fiberglass because I am on on a budget and wanted curved, smooth hulls.

    For software I had VectorWorks CAD. I bought TouchCad. TouchCad is/was the least expensive of marine design software for OS X. It has turned out to be an accurate, powerful modeler for boats also.

    Had a conversation with Mr. MacNaughton also. Very helpfull, sincere, honest man.

    Read a few books. Surfed the net. Bought some study plans of somewhat simular boats. All this wil give you a global veiw of the project that is in front of you.

    have fun
     
  12. Willallison
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    Willallison Senior Member

    Yes - as Raggi suggested - I did mean that now is a much better time to start than before - and I would expect that things will continue to improve as Dave and his team continue to update everything.
    Something else to consider is whether you really want to do all the design yourself. With a little research you should be able to come up with a rough preliminary design that you could either look for a similar stock design , or take to a designer to have the design finalised. It would probably still cost less that going thru the schoolong process....
    Then again - if you're like me, it is the design phase of the boat that I find most rewarding.....
     
  13. nero
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    nero Senior Member

    If you want to make one boat for yourself then there is no need for going to school. If you want to become a NA then go to school.

    Important note is that boat design is an art.

    How far off base are these statements?
     
  14. Raggi_Thor
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    Raggi_Thor Nav.arch/Designer/Builder

    I agree with Nero.
    If you want to design just one boat, you can learn the stuff you need to know for this particular design, you don't need to become a "generalist" in yacht design. Maybe that's also one typical difference between "autodidact" designers and those who have studied at a school or university, the self made designer will tend to design boats within a special style or cathegory?
     

  15. ben_morel
    Joined: Oct 2005
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    ben_morel Dreamer

    self learning for design

    Hi All,

    So, if I want to summarize all this information.
    If I want to become a ND, Westlawn is a very good school.
    But it is time consumming, and I learn a lot of stuff I won't need for my project.

    But because I am very busy with my company + familly
    And because my objective is to design and build my own boat, and not to become a ND, then I should consider self-learning.
    I could design the boat by myself.
    Spend the money I'll save from the school in books and a good CAD software.

    I could also use the services of a ND for the validation of the plans, if necessary.

    At the end, I'll save time and money, but I'll still have the challenge and pleasure of designing and building.

    In that case, can I have your advices concerning where and how to start.
    I have heard about Gutelle's book.
    Are they good?
    Do you have a list of book I could use. Even if I am engineer, I prefer to consider myself as a beginner.

    And for the CAD, do you know a good one, not too difficult to learn.
    And I think not too difficult to learn is an important criteria.
    From a conversation with a french ND, I heard about MAAT (CIRCE 3D I think).
    But on this web site, They mostly talk about Rhino.

    Any thoughts...
    Thanks,
    Ben
     
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