Sourcing for 20'ish ft boat plans and CNC cutting files.

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by blacksheep, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. blacksheep
    Joined: Jun 2008
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    blacksheep Junior Member

    Hello there all...

    This would be my first post after having been lurking for the past months as I'm about to embark on having a 22ft to 24ft open/center consoled fishing/family aluminium boat built. It's to be used in the open sea, for island hopping, and beached if it's not too much to ask.

    As much as I have been able to glean a tremendous amount useful information from this board, there are still a few questions that I need help with. I am hoping that I might get some useful pointers to get me on my way.

    Firstly, I have zero real boat building experience, only scaled working models, fiberglass and wood. Although I will not be physically putting the said boat together, I will be working with the metal boat shop (http://www.supreme-boat.com.sg/) every step of the way. I AM quite adept at waving and flailing my fingers, and, I DO have a loud voice. Although they do have existing work boat hulls, I'm after just that little bit more. Purpose built instead of the one-size-fits all mentality.

    I'm sure that in time to come, there'll be loads more to be asking, but i guess this is where I'll start.

    My parameters are simple, to me at least. :) This is how it goes:

    1. The shortest hull length that would safely accomodate the weight of the chosen engine. Im thinkin that short = light = better power to weight ratio?
    2. Longish with a narrower beam, (Panga'ish) for efficiency and less drag, unless told otherwise.
    3. Rectangular'ish deck for more space, like a landing craft. Kinda like a garvey. Capacity 6-10pax.
    4. As shallow a draft as possible. Haven't yet decided on the deadrise.
    5. Pump out head.
    6. As fast and efficient as it can get with the chosen engine. Optimised for the engine.
    7. Safe and virtually unsinkable (Close cell foam block inserts).
    8. Some kind of hard T-top tt can support the weight of 2-3persons sun lounging.
    9. Note: I do realise that it would be difficult to have stability at rest and in motion, efficiency, speed etc all into one package. I know that WILL be tradeoffs, I just want to get as close as I can.
    So, my questions are:

    1. The engine will be Yamaha ME372 Inboard 165hp weighing 477kgs(http://www.yamaha-motor.co.uk/products/marine/hydra_drives/me372/ME372_SP.jsp. In a boat of this size, what would be the general consensus in terms of practical power to weight ratio and speed? I am hoping to get as close to 35knots as physically possible. this is just an ungrounded idealistic figure off the top of my head. Possible?
    2. What would be the most cost effective setup for jets? I looked at hamiltons, ultras etc... but it appears that they are in excessof US$10K for a single setup. Is this guesstimate correct? If it is then I will just stick to my stern drive with an additional prop guard/nozzel (http://www.propguardmarine.com/how.html).
    3. I have looked at virtually every small boat plan returned by google as well as boatdesign's directory, nice designs and plans, but no cutting files. I like the utilitarian workboat look above the water line. For the hull lines I'm leaning towards ("The Looks". Ditzy, I so know, but I DON'T know better. If my eyes like it, the water should too yes?) the likes of:


    Is there a company that would be able to supply me the drawings and cnc cutting files of an existing, in production, tried and tested boat fitting this description? What would a ball park of the cost of this service? Would this be considered a custom design? I'm askin simply cuz anything with the word 'custom' usually involves big bucks.

    Many thanks for reading.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2008
  2. raw
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    raw Senior Member

    Sent you a message.
     
  3. blacksheep
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    blacksheep Junior Member

    Raw, i'm guessin that for one of the below-mentioned reasons, i'm unable to access my private message folder. Could you email me instead?

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  4. kengrome
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    kengrome Senior Member

    Hi blacksheep,

    You'll have to excuse me for saying this but you're confusing me. First you say:

    ... and then you say:

    ... so I don't really understand what you want, a custom boat or one built from stock plans?

    Nevertheless, the answer to your question about CNC files is yes, the original designers can supply them if they feel like it, but they probably won't because it's too easy for unscrupulous people to sell them as their own once they get their hands on them.

    One more thing I will say here is that the boats you've mentioned look and perform a lot like Tolman Skiffs, and it seems like everyone who has ever built a Tolman Skiff loves his boat ... so maybe you should consider having a Tolman built for you ... and you'd better go with the Jumbo with that heavy engine you specified, especially when you also want to haul so many people around with you.

    Tolman skiffs are designed for flat panel construction and someone built one in aluminum so I'm sure you can too.

    [​IMG]


    There are lots of Tolman skiffs shown in the website at the following link, and as you will see the cabins and interiors are as flexible as the builders want them to be: http://www.fishyfish.com/

    Tolmans are particularly lightweight for their size too, but that's because they use composite sandwich construction not aluminum. If you want a lightweight fast boat you use plywood and/or composites, not metal.

    Tolmans are not narrow for their length so if that's what you want maybe you'd be better off with a different style altogether -- something like a genuine panga perhaps -- and I'm not talking about the boats some companies are calling pangas these days.
     
  5. blacksheep
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    blacksheep Junior Member

    Hello there kengrome, my name's Hai.

    I think you should be the one to excuse me. I realized that I could have made myself clearer. Allow me to clarify.

    Although they do have existing hulls in production, they are meant for use as workboats. I guess that the focus for them would be safety, reliability, and suited for heavy duty usage. Like these:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As you can see from these pictures, all the orange boats are of the same dimensions, LOA, beam, deadrise etc. But with options for outboards starting from 30 to 60hp as well as inboards ranging from 33 to 127hp. So this is what I was referring to as one size fits all. There has got to be an optimal point where the engine and hull intersect for efficiency.

    You see, i'm not prepared to shell out the extra money for an additional 38hp and lug around an additional 100kgs if all i'm getting is an additional knot or two. But the problem is, I'm not sufficiently versed in hull designs or hydrodynamics to make an informed decision.

    The option given to me was to have the hull lengthened, at the transom, with 2 foam filled 'boxes' on eitherside of the engine to support it's weight. Well, it doesn't 'sound' right to me.

    In view of the above-mentioned situation and having lurked in this forum, read and re-read the postings, as well as having gone to the various boat design websites/companies/forums etc, I thought it would have made more sense to just purchase the cnc files and have them tack and weld it up for me. That would essentially take most of the guess work out of the equation for me.

    They build workboats, I want an efficient seaworthy hull for fishing and leisure. So based on the examples of the lines that I like and have seen on the various websites eg: bateau, glen-l etc, I thought that if they sold the designs, they might also have the cutting files. i was not sure, so therefore I asked.

    I was inspired by the very many boat builders, both professional and the DIYers. I would have attempted to build it myself if not for the fact that there is a severe lack of space where I'm at. Personally, I think I build stuff well.

    What I want is just simply the cut panels so i can tack and weld a hull suited for my engine and purpose.

    Boating isn't the cheapest hobby, so I'm just hoping to get it as right as I can within my constraints. If i can have the panels cut here, then that would be what I prefer. It's a cost and time issue I'm addressing with this thought.

    And why I chose to want the CNC file? It's more accurate than drawing and cutting by hand. I like symmetry. If u look closely at the pictures, there are some 'wavey' bits on the plates. This is something I'm hoping to avoid since I won't know for a fact if it's due to structrual tension, alignment, heat from welding etc... tension is not good.

    What fazes me is this: I see sites that sell boat plans. I see sites that offer cnc cutting files. But what I don't get is why the the plans and some cnc files cost a coupla hundreds but when it comes to 'customs' they costs a coupla thousands? I really don't mind having the very same boat that been built several thousand times over by people who have purchased the plans. Really. If the study plans says that it's good for a range of hp and weight and several thousand people have built off the plans, well, if it's good enough for them, it good enough for me. I'm not THAT special.

    Some of the websites I visited sold their designs with the CNC cutting files as well. And from what I understand from the forum, the files are for a one time use only. So I don't really understand what the problem could be. Unscrupulous people will be unscrupulous regardless.

    Ultimately, my question posed still remains. My engine is a constant. So i'm just looking for an appropriate hull. The ones I mentioned in my first post, If they sell the design and there's a community behind it and also selling the materials and helping people along the way with it, then I'm just thinkin that they might have the Cutting files since it was also stated that it can be fabricated in aluminum as well. I have no hidden or dark agenda. :)

    I'm convinced. You know of a company that's willing to sell me the cnc cutting files so i can start getting my boat built? I'd do fiberglass if I could find somewhere decent here to have it laid, but i haven't yet, not here at least. If i had, I'd be out at sea now. :)

    And hey, thanks for taking the time to respond! Much appreciated! :)
     
  6. kengrome
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    kengrome Senior Member

    Hello Hai,

    Thanks for the clarification of your goals.

    Personally I do not like the bow ends of those orange boats, they don't look very efficient to me. Tolman skiffs are much smoother and far less likely to create drag in my opinion.

    Their idea of extending the hulls a couple of feet on either side of the center mounted engine actually works well on some boats. But if you want an efficient boat and you're not convinced that these are efficient, why bother with their proposed solution?

    Welded aluminum boats are heavy so they need bigger engines and more fuel than ply / epoxy / glass composite boats. On the other hand, aluminum requires almost no maintenance ... so you have to decide what's more important, low maintenance and less efficiency or moderate maintenance and higher efficiency?

    If you want efficiency while going fast it is expecially important to have a lightweight boat that is also very strong. The cheapest construction method for this is composite sandwich construction using plywood as the core material and encapsulating the wood in epoxy and fiberglass for additional strength, waterproofing and abrasion resistance. This is the way Tolman skiffs are designed and built.

    I suggest that you consider buying and reading Renn Tolman's book. It contains the plans for all three of his Tolman Skiffs and it costs less than $50 including shipping. It's worth the price even if you never build one of his boats. The book has a lot of useful information in it from a guy who is about as practical and down-to-earth as you will ever find -- almost as practical and down-to-earth as me ... :)

    http://www.duckworksbbs.com/media/books/tolman/index.htm

    The plans are written for people who have never built a boat before, and there's a Yahoo group with a whole lot of guys who have built these boats and who will be glad to answer your questions if you get stuck on something.

    Well, it does a lot of the work for you, that's for sure!

    In my opinion CNC cutting is way over-rated, especially when you're interested in building economically. Sure it saves time so it's a good method for commercial boat builders who pay high labor rates, but it adds unnecessary expense to a backyard boat builder's project -- and cnc cutting is absolutely NOT necessary for accuracy because boats never need sub-millimeter accuracy in their cut panels!

    Any beginner can draw and cut and shape panels for building a boat with a few hand tools, it is really no big deal. But hey, if you have more money than time and want to pay someone to cut the panels via cnc router or laser or waterjet or whatever then I guess there's no reason not to do it this way -- unless you cannot get the cnc files (or create them yourself) of course.

    If you don't build a welded boat in the first place, you'll never have to worry about whether the metal was too thin, or if it was warped by heat, or if it was possibly cut wrong, or if it was simple mis-handled and damaged during construction.

    Maybe it's time for you to decide upon your hull material, or perhaps the hull design itself. Either way you can proceed more clearly with everything else after you've made at least one of these important decisions.

    :)
     
  7. raw
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    raw Senior Member


    A cnc parts package for an aluminium boat includes much more than bottom and side plates. A cut set would include all shell plating, frames, longitudinals, with all details required for longtl penetrations, frame slotting, allowance for welding flanges/pressings, slots for plug welds, relief holes, limbers, stem bars and much more. Everything.

    They take some time to do and get right, hence the cost as well. This represents a big time and cost saving for a commercial builder hence it is common place to do it this way even when one boat only is built. Even better for multiple builds.
     
  8. blacksheep
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    blacksheep Junior Member

    Hello hello there again! I should have started off makin myself clearer in the first place.

    Actually, most of the self built boats I have seen have lines looking more efficient, smoother and much less drag. Like I said, the ones in the pictures are meant as workboats moving at 12-15knots. They're reinforced to be tough, not streamlined. Hummer and Lamborghini. Although different looks and purposes, I see beauty in both.

    I'm not, it's just an option extended to me to consider. Adding boxes means adding weld lines etc.... That being the case, I'd much rather have extended the hull to start off with.

    This was just to illustrate to you and clarify the reason, intent and purpose of my predicament and my wish to resolve it. Thus coming to this board for ideas, help and possibly a solution. As much as I am under constraints, I try to avoid after thoughts.

    Ok this gets tricky. I'm reading 2 school of thoughts here. For the same boat, without the pedantics, aluminum is supposedly lighter, but there's some that says otherwise. Ultimately, for someone who is not in possession of the facts, ME, I can only make my decisions based on my constraints. And my constraints are:

    • The fiberglass ones I have seen in the marinas do delaminate. Branded or not.
    • I have tried breaking/smashing/bending fiberglass and aluminum.
    • The standard of glassing is not really 'there' here. Regardless.
    • I can only find ONE metal boat workshop here. Fortunately, the owner is a decent guy that smiles a lot and is nice.
    • The workers are welders, they just weld. So i'm trying to make it as easy for them as possible. I have to get the alloys, get them cut at a cutting contractor and truck them over for assembly.
    I do not dispute that the tolmans are as you have said. I'm sure that I would personally be capable laying them out if I had my own workshop. But I don't. I think I'd go to the extent of laying them in kevlar/mylar/carbon composites... but tts me. Sorry, I digress.

    Constraints, I hate them.

    Done.

    The cost of cutting here is not unreasonable. I machine bits and pieces, so I would like precision if I can get it. And like I said, they peeps in the shop are welders, they just weld. They are good at what they do. So I would like to just take the guess work out of the equation. U have seen the pictures.

    And no, I dont have more money than time, this is why I'm stuck.

    And yes, I am still unable to get any cnc files. I just wish the NAs contacted would just respond.... Even if they are not interested in my business.

    ToMAYtoes, toMAHtoes... same same.... fiberglass, brittle, delamination, heatsoak etc.... just different things to worry about. I'm sure there are glassed boats that have lasted 20yrs and virtually bullet proof, but I can't get them here. period.

    Aluminum. That is why I am sourcing for CNC cutting files.

    hey there raw! Yes, I agree for most parts. Actually, in totality. This is the primary reason for this posting. For me, it's the cost issue of having a 'custom' over an off-the-shelf plan. The cost differential is prohibitive to me as the costing for the design and files amount to about 16-18% of my total cost.

    In my previous post:

    If my cost can be defrayed over a coupla boats, that's fine and dandy, but I'm looking at one boat for my own use, so it becomes restrictive.
     
  9. kengrome
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    kengrome Senior Member

    Okay, thanks for explaining. Since you're committed to both aluminum and cnc cutting I wish you the best of luck. Be sure to let us know if you find a company that's willing to share their cnc files with you ...
     
  10. blacksheep
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    blacksheep Junior Member

    Thanks guy! From the looks of it, I think I'll be needing all the luck I can get.

    At this juncture, I only wish some of the companies would respond or at least let me know why I'm barking up the wrong tree or on why they they won't or what they will.

    How does one address an issue or solve a problem when one doen't even know what it is?!

    This is demoralizing.
     
  11. kengrome
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    kengrome Senior Member

    I think you're asking too much, that's all. The folks who have the complete sets of cnc cutting files are manufacturing their own boats, and they don't just give away or sell this valuable proprietary cnc data to others -- instead they keep it in-house and protect it because it's one of the keys to the success or failure of their businesses.

    I think you'll end up hiring someone to create a set of custom cnc files if you continue to insist upon having and using them. Or maybe you'll have to settle for buying a boat from someone who produces them from their own cnc files. This second option is obviously the easiest and fastest way to get the boat you want, aside from buying a used one of course.
     
  12. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    It just is not this simple, Ken. While it is true that most designers will not let you have the CNC files in .dxf format so you can cut at will, they will provide the precut panels if you make that arrangement up front. I should think that Australia will have its own resources in that regard. Follow this link and it will open the door to the world of aluminum boat kits out of OZ.
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=aluminum boat kits australia

    It works like this...

    A finished boat is a fairly large object to ship to a destination, whereas a set of boxed parts will be much easier to handle in smaller loads.

    While it is possible to reverse engineer a set of CNC cut panels and then start making your own boats from the effort, the design would be immediately recognizable, the originator of the design could easily track the locations to which they had sent the first kit and the culprits could be brought to answer for their deeds.... should it be worth the trouble, that is.

    Of course, there will be thieves no matter where you go in this wondeful world of ours. In the end, if someone wants to swipe a boat design from a reverse engineered set of CNC panels, there is little you can do. The same cold be said for a set of plans, for that matter.

    In the kayak kit business, there are several manufacturers of wooden kits who send their stuff all over the world for builders. They are successful, have been in the business for many years and do not seem to have much of a problem with folks swiping their work to short-cut the process of ownership.

    CNC cut panels offer some really big advantages over hand cut panels, no matter the material used. Each panel has a very clean edge to work with. They are uniform, time after time, so that the parts assemble in a straight forward fashion with a high degree of repeatability... should you be making a fleet of boats. As mentioned, the cut-outs for all the assembly needs can be done right at the fab shop. The problems associated with a poorly marked offsets and the subsequent errors that are put into the system are eliminated.
    Hand controlled cutting errors are done away with. (in wooden boats this is not as big a problem as it would be for an aluminum boat, should the panels not fit together nicely)

    On and on the list goes in favor of CNC panels for boat building. The one caveat in all this is that the designer and/or the fabricator, have to make sure that all the panels work they way they should. This necessitates the building of at least one example to check all the pieces for accuracy and, if necessary, go back to the original file and make the corrections. If they produce a corrected piece, or pieces and they work correctly, then the completed product can be deemed ready for shipment.

    For many builders, wherever they are located, this can be a huge time saving operation.

    The last four wooden boats I have built have all come from a CNC cut file I prepared and delivered to the cutting shop, along with the proper marine plywood supply. They then made minor adjustments to the nesting layout to allow for their machine's character and 20 minutes later, a full set of parts were ready to take back to the shop for assembly. Cost to me... $75. Measure that against any time you have invested in the offset layout, the hand cutting, the trimming to match, etc., and you can see that machine cut parts are much more cost effective.
     
  13. blacksheep
    Joined: Jun 2008
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    blacksheep Junior Member

    Mmm... ok. I may just be able to see where you are coming from and I do really appreciate your candor in this matter. Fact of the matter is just this, which is the same thing I don't get.

    1. There are full sized plans for sale.
    2. There are kits with plans and assembly instructions for sale.
    3. There are supports/boards/communities backing the designs.
    4. There are links to suppliers of all the necessary hardware to build a working boat.
    5. There are boat builders who are available to build the designs.

    This being the case, what is there to protect? Mebbe there's something amiss in my logic and reasoning, can someone help me out on this? Not meaning to offend anyone, how can it be proprietary when the plans are available for purchase? Isn't it just a matter of format? Eg: Hardcopy, digitized, charcoal on cave wall etc...

    If the part required is a square piece of 2x2, does it really matter whether the 2x2 is chiselled, sawed, plasma'd, peeled, eroded, vaporized, atomized, bazooka'd or bitten off as long as it's eventually still the right dimension? So isn't providing the cnc files the same as supplying the kit sans the cut parts?

    Based on what I understand; It's for a ONE time use only. So how does one reuse the files to mass produce more boats? Software driven files for single uses are crippled after execution.

    I'm asking simply cuz I don't understand? Could it be that the cnc cutting and nesting files are tedious to produce? Please correct me if I may be over simplyfying this issue. I am familiar with vectors for the cutting of vinyl stickers and it's not that difficult. One uses a rotatable blade on 2 axis, whereas the cnc differs by using a milling tip or water jet. How far wrong am I?

    I just want a boat that's all. I'd pay for an off the shelf boat, but I can't even find one here.

    All the local dealers I have approached wants to sell me luxobarges which I can't afford to upkeep. Those that can bring them in for me are asking for 3-3.5 times their listed msrp. Eg: a 22ft center console for US$56k. WITHOUT engine. Msrp? US$14,995. WITH 115hp outboard.

    Not one of the Australian or US aluminum boat factory even entertained my email. Not ONE single response after 2 emails each after 3 mths.

    The ONLY person who responded, well, responded. I'm just ashamed to say that it was out of my budget. If it was within, he'd have gotton my business.

    Kengrome, thanks, again, appreciated.
     
  14. blacksheep
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    blacksheep Junior Member

    Chris, thanks for the google link. Which begs the question... now why didn't i just think of that? :)

    For all the reasons you mentioned, yes. It crystallizes my thoughts and very succinctly verbalizes them.

    I am also exploring having a boat in a box. Kinda like a marine ikea.
     
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  15. specmar
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    specmar Junior Member

    For proven welded aluminum boat plans and CNC files, contact specmar, Inc at www.specmar.com
     
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