Mackintosh CAD software for Westlawn?

Discussion in 'Education' started by waterworld, Mar 7, 2007.

  1. waterworld
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    waterworld New Member

    I am a longtime boatbuilder and with a view to becoming a better boatbuilder I hope shortly to enroll in the Westlawn course. I am currently in the process of evaluating what it is going to cost me. One of the big dollar variables seems to center around the various CAD programs and the necessary hardware to run them. I currently have a 2004 pre-Intel iMac G5 running OSX with a nice 20" screen and am hoping that I will not have to buy anything else. My question comes down to this - will the system I already have be sufficient to run the necessary 2D and 3D programs for the course, what programs do any of you recommend, or would it be better to obtain a PC and thus have access to a wider range of program choices?

    One final question that I have (and one that will reveal what a newbie I am to this area) concerns TouchCAD. Some of the posts on this forum seem to have a lot of positive things to say about this program - is this just because it will run on a Mac platform, or because it is a great program in itself? Are there any programs that can do duty both as a 2D and a 3D rendering program.

    Thanks for any insights you can share.
  2. CGN
    Joined: Jan 2003
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    CGN Senior Member

    PC will give you large range of programs including free programs for rendering for example like Blender3D, or free cad software like progesoft which they are going to upload a new version of it's cad software for non commercial use so you can use it while on Westlawn, and for hull design you name it is available on PC, but all you need is DELFTShip also soon there is going to be available a nurb modeler for 100 bucks probably not as complete as a rhino but i think it will have the necessary tools to use it for 3D modeling, and is not a "cheapo"
    is from the guy that wrote or helped wrote most of ashlar vellum so I think is going to be a good one.

    Now after the "plug" for PC, TouchCAD is very complete and should do the job for 3D, 2D maybe something like Vectorworks.

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  3. Willallison
    Joined: Oct 2001
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    Willallison Senior Member

    CGN - I suggest you get in touch with the school and ask them. There are requirements on the type of format that you must send your work in - .dxf for instance.
  4. nero
    Joined: Aug 2003
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    nero Senior Member

    If you decide to sell your imac G5, I will be interested.

    I run TouchCad on a imac G5 17 inch. It runs quickly, even with all the elements I have in my catamaran file. Vectorworks is an excellent OSX CAD and rendering software. With the two you can do anything you can imagine. Files can be passed back and forth between the two with no hang-ups. They both export .dxf files.

    More over the two programs are not restricted to marine design.

    And no microsoft bugs, spying, sabotauge, ...

    Blender runs on Mac also, so do several free FEA programs, and free renderer like POV Ray. And if you are into Unix, with a lot of work, several research programs can be compiled and ran. This is not macintosh only direct access to the unix OS below it.

    You can download a free copy at About a day later you will see how addicting the program can become. Lots of free tutorials to explain the basics. Vectorworks has a student version.
  5. dgerr
    Joined: Jul 2004
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    dgerr Senior Member

    Here is an excerpt from Westlawn course material on using Apple Macintosh computers:

    As for Macintosh, I prefer Mac over all other operating systems. Having lived with both Windows and Mac side by side on my desk for years now, I can tell you that the Mac system is superior in every way. Unfortunately, there is virtually no marine-design software available for the Mac. There are some fine general CAD programs—Power CADD, VectorWorks, Ashlar Vellum. Another program that might be of use for developing hulls on the Mac is TouchCAD, ( You can try and make a Mac fit your boat-design needs, but my office was forced to abandon it. Though I wish it weren’t the case, Windows-based PCs are the only computers that will provide you a wide selection of marine-design software.

    There is a new development which may allow you to use a Mac. This is Parallels Desktop software for Mac. Parallels runs true Windows on a Mac, and so allows you to run all that PC-only software native. The requirements are your Mac must be powered with an Intel chip and must run OS X. Reports are that a Mac running Parallels Desktop (Windows on a Mac) is as fast as running the Windows apps on a standard PC. It is possible, however, that there might be some input/output glitches, with printer ports, and network drives, and such. Still, it is worth a look if you already own a suitable Mac and want to save money.

    Dave Gerr
    Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology
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  6. nero
    Joined: Aug 2003
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    nero Senior Member

    Thanks dgerr!

    Waterworld give up your Mac! Sell it to me real cheap! smile.

    2D rendering? Or perhaps you mean 2D drawing/drafting? As I "make a Mac fit boat-design", I use TouchCad to develope the hull, bulkheads, forms for the boat. The program has a render mode that gives another way of viewing what your drawing. When the design is finalized I export parts to Vectorworks and layout plans for using in the workshop. This is an extra step since TouchCad is able to print out basic shapes with dimensions by itself.

    But as Dave Gerr, a respected professional, wrote for Westlawn studies it is not acceptable. ... SO sell it too me! smile
  7. waterworld
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    waterworld New Member

    Thank you Dave and everyone who responded. And sorry Nero, but I think I'll keep the Mac and have both platforms - that way I won't always be looking over the fence and thinking, 'if only . . .'

    I went on the hunt for a new PC a few days ago but now I am hearing problems of compatibility for various CAD programs with Vista. Not suprising, but what a hassle! I think I'll find something cheaper that has XP for the time being.
  8. nero
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    nero Senior Member

    Didn't realy think you would part with it. smile

    Can't understand what stops some of the "marine design" software makers from compiling a version for Mac ... or linux/unix. For the high price they sell the software for they should be able to make back the investment with 4 or 5 sales.

    TouchCad is compiled for Mac and Windows ... so is Vectorworks.

    Dave Gerr, Perhaps here is a chance to express what you think TouchCad's marine calculations are missing. ??? Imagine your ideal marine design needs on a Mac.
  9. spank
    Joined: Feb 2004
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    spank Junior Member

    I have been a Mac user since 1984 when the mac was released to the public. I onlhy switched over to the PC in 2000 when I was forced to do so for yacht design. After suffering under windows for a number of years, I finally replaced my PC with a new Intel based Mac. I realize that I will not be able to develop hulls on my mac (it is possible, but a real hull development program is far better than doing it in just a surface modelling program that is not equipped with hydrostatic analysis). I use bootcamp to load XP when I need to. I use programs such as Multisurf and Delftship to develop hulls, and then I can use Ashlar Cobalt, Blender etc. to work on these hulls once I export them into an IGES file. I try to spend as little time in the Windows enviroment as possible.
  10. kkolehma
    Joined: Apr 2007
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    kkolehma New Member

    Open Source

    It a shame that DelftShip (FreeShip) is written in old obscure relic language like Delphi. Somebody ought to rewrite it in C++ or Java so it would be easier to use in different platforms *hint*. More people would be able to contribute to development if the language would be more understandable.
  11. joz
    Joined: Jul 2002
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    joz Senior Member

    All you need is Auto CAD/lite and Rhino and Excel to complete the Westlawn Course.

    I am not sure if these run on a MAC?
  12. M.Ezell
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Location: Portland, OR

    M.Ezell Engineer, PE

    Mac CAD Software

    Hi All,

    You may have already purchased your PC and windows software, but incase you haven't you do have some mac options for your G5. I bet you could run Rhino and AutoCAD light using Virtual PC. I have personaly run AutoCAD, Inventor, and Mechanical Desktop on virtual PC with windows NT and Windows 2000 on my PowerBook G4. Virtual PC was about $80 and you have to buy a version of windows. It will run on G3, G4, and G5 macs but it may not be available since the intel switch.

    If you opt to get an intel mac you can run all your Windows software several ways:

    Parallels Desktop ($79 plus Windows)
    Bootcamp (free from apple but you need a Windows NT or Vista CD)
    There is another package similar to parallels, but I can't recall the name.

    You may be able to run Rhino using Crossover Mac ($39 intel mac only, no Windows needed). I have not been able to run AutoCAD 2009 on Crossover but some people have.

    McNeel (the maker of Rhino) is currently Beta testing a Mac version of Rhino. I'm one of the Beta testers and it works well. It still does not have the drafting and drawing sheet parts of Rhino up and running and requires mac OS 10.5 or higher.

    If I were about to take the plunge I would probalby try the Rhino beta for hull modeling and hydrostatics. And I would use PunchCAD SharkLT ($496) or ViaCAD Pro ($250) for drafting instead of AutoCAD Lite. Shark and ViaCAD can import and export AutoCAD files and Rhino 3D models. I have only used the demo but it works quite well. The only problem I have found is that it will not import Mtext from AutoCAD. If It doesn't work you still have the above options for Windows.
  13. M.Ezell
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    M.Ezell Engineer, PE

    A quicks update. I tried to install Rihno for windows under Crossover Mac today. It didn't work. So it looks like Rhino Mac or another windows on mac option is required.

  14. yachty4000
    Joined: Apr 2004
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    yachty4000 Junior Member

    Unfortunately you're doing the right thing moving over to Windows I was forced to do this in about 2000 like spank says above. Maxsurf use to be a Mac product but they stopped supporting it. When I used mac I was using Maxsurf and TurboCAD. I wonder if the old versions of maxsurf for the mac work on the newer mac operating system? (there normally much better than windows at doing this) As for using the Windows/Mac system I would suspect this would invalidate any form of technical support you would get with the software.
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