Marine Design Software for Hull Modeling

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


Which program(s) do you use as your primary hull design/modeling software?

  1. Autoship

  2. AVEVA

  3. Catia

  4. DefCar

  5. Delftship

  6. Fastship

  7. Freeship

  8. HullCAO

  9. HullForm

  10. MAAT

  11. Maxsurf

  12. MultiSurf

  13. Naval Designer

  14. Napa

  15. NX

  16. Paramarine

  17. Prolines

  18. ProSurf

  19. SolidWorks

  20. Rhino

  21. SeaSolution

  22. TouchCAD

  23. Other (please post below)

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  1. WarthogARJ
    Joined: May 2021
    Posts: 6
    Likes: 0, Points: 1
    Location: Sheffield

    WarthogARJ Junior Member

    Thanks, good points.
    And I misread his question in any case, I missed the point he's asking about the actual drawings in trhe Gallery section, and not specifically about DESIGN a boat per se.

    It obviously depends on your objectives, but I see the hydrodynamics as one of the most interesting aspects of being an amateur/solo designer (as in not trying to do it for a living, and not working in a company).
    You don't HAVE to be a CFD specialist to do reasonable work.
    Although by "reasonable", I mean you would need a pretty strong technical background, and to understand the hydrodynamics involved.

    Sure, if you don't have that, and aren't that interested in attaining it, you could have someone else to do it for you.
    And copying an existing hull design (assuming they did it right themselves!).

    Or else if you're not too concerned with an optimal hydrodynamics design, you can revert to one of the empirical procedures that were used before CFD became so available.

    But to do CFD you don't need a high end CAD package, and any high end package will in any case be able to create and export something you can use as a mesh in a stand-alone CFD package.
    Like with openFoam, which is open-source, you can create your own mesh in it.
    And export it to CAD packages when needed.
    OpenFOAM v6 User Guide: 5.5 Mesh conversion

    I'd be very surprised if that's not possible in any CAD/design package you've want to use in actually designing a boat.
    Here's a good description of CFD packages:
    "CFD software packages fall into one of the following four categories, more-or-less: CAD Embedded, Open-Source, Semi-Comprehensive (often for with niche specializations), and Comprehensive."
    A Comparison of CFD Software Packages — Resolved Analytics

    AutoDesk CFD is what you'd use if you wanted an integrated package with CAD in the AutoDesk system where fusion 360 lives (and is no longer free, just trial for a year for non-commerical use).
    But it's NOT opensource...:-}

    Ansys has Fluent, and SolidWorks has "Flow Simulation".

    In any case, once you got an initial hull design, you could then go onto see if it met your other objectives.
    If not, go back and adjust things and run through the CFD again.
  2. Dejay
    Joined: Mar 2018
    Posts: 721
    Likes: 138, Points: 43
    Location: Europe

    Dejay Senior Newbie

    Have you worked with openFoam? I might give it a try but it's rather involved. I agree that anyone could learn how to do it, plenty of tutorials and learning material, but it's not simple and takes time.

    So I'm a novice / amateur so from what I've found so far you have different areas:
    1. Hydrostatics / stability can be done relatively easily e.g. delftship or you could write an addon or do by hand.
    2. Resistance estimation for me is critical because I want to design a solar powered boat. Best I've found is michlet and (no trimarans). OpenFoam would give you the best answer and yeah you can export a mesh from any software so you're free to choose any design software.
    3. Structural engineering... well I still have to learn that. I think you can do much of it yourself but if you really want to optimize you need FEA software that has support of anisotropic materials and you really need to know what you're doing.
    4. Then sailboat design becomes even more tricky. There are many more factors to balance that require experience. Basically forget about designing a larger sailboat or ocean going cruiser as an amateur.
    5. Seakeeping simulation I think is then another whole field. I don't think you can reasonably do it even with openFoam because you'd want to simulate how the boat reacts to different wave and wind interactions. Theoretically you could do it and render lots of films and extract acceleration curves and is probably done for high end boats, but this is going to become complex. I assume ship design software has simplified and faster simulations for this and you don't need CFD.
    6. Tank testing / testing scale model in a pond. Traditional way to verify your design and scale up the numbers, but not easy too. Would have to learn how to do that too.
    Basically the 3D modelling of the boat is the easy part. The design and iteration of the boat design through all those fields is the tricky part.

    Also estimating your boat weight plus all the gear and things you want to pack.

    BTW Fusion 360 is still free for personal use. They there are a few non-problematic limitations but it's still great. You need to renew it every year but it's just clicking on a webpage. It might become paid only in the future. Real problem is that fusion 360 has zero tools for boat design so I don't recommend it :) You could write an addon for fusion to do hydrostatics and stability curves.
    jdray likes this.
  3. BClyde
    Joined: Jan 2022
    Posts: 1
    Likes: 0, Points: 1
    Location: 29205

    BClyde New Member

    JotM, I am learning Polycad now, waiting on a registration code from the developer. Have you had success converting developable surfaces into plates? Thanks

  4. JotM
    Joined: Jan 2009
    Posts: 98
    Likes: 9, Points: 8, Legacy Rep: 34
    Location: Leiden, the Netherlands

    JotM Junior Member

    No, I haven't. I don't think it can do that.
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