Boat Design Software Under Review

I’m John Richards, weekend sailor and amateur boat-builder. I’ve been testing 3D Boat Design Software to see how easy it is to create a proper hull design and whether it’s a sensible investment for the hobby sailor. Read on and I’ll not only give you my honest objective opinion on the product but I’ll also tell you how to get the software for under $50 with a full 60 day 100% money back guarantee.

John Richards

3D Boat Design Software is not brand new, it’s been around  a little while. But it does get continuous upgrades (I used version 2.6.0), so there might well be a later version by the time you read this. Never having used any sort of CAD or boat design software before, I was a little unsure just how much I was going to be able to achieve. But I was pleasantly surprised and I have to admit, it’s pretty good. I’ve given it scores on a five point rating for some criteria which I think are important. It scored pretty well.

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3D Boat Design Software is designed for all versions of Windows, including 98/2000/ME/XP/Vista/Windows 7Boat Design Software Views and it installed painlessly on my Windows XP test machine. As a boat design software beginner, I was a little overwhelmed by the number of views that it’s possible to have of your hull as you develop it, (see screenshot on right) but fortunately you can switch off the ones you don’t want. There are a number of sample hulls included with the 3D Boat Design Software package and it makes sense to experiment with them first, as I did, to get used to the interface.

Is 3D Boat Design Software Easy To Use?

It’s not quite as intuitive as I expected and it did take a little while to produce something useful. 3D Boat Design Software DialogIt’s pretty easy to get started though. To begin a new design in 3D Boat Design Software you simply fill in the boxes on the dialog shown here. These describe the basic parameters of your craft which you then manipulate as you want. Like most software, once you’ve played around with it for a few minutes you begin to get the feel for it. It’s a standard Windows interface so you should have no problems finding your way around.

3D Boat Design Software Ease of Use: 4/5

How About the 3D Boat Design Software  Manual?

Fortunately there’s a very comprehensive manual that starts right at the very beginning for newcomers to CAD and boat design software.The manualThis makes a difference because, as I found, much of the CAD terminology that is used in boat design software was somewhat foreign to me. I recommend that you read it thoroughly before you begin fiddling with the software. The manual itself is 57 pages long – not huge for such a complex subject but certainly enough to get started and working on your first project. The main chapters are: Introduction, shown right. A chapter on viewports, (the windows that are used to view your design from different angles). Then follows an essential description of the Boat Design Software File and Edit menus. These contain many terms which will be completely baffling if you haven’t read the manual.

Then follows a number of chapters that deal, in turn, with how to handle point, edge, curve, face and layer operations. It sounds confusing initially but it makes sense once you start doing it. The final three chapters in the 3D Boat Design Software manual deal with the tools that are available to help you, how to perform calculations and how and why to do transformations.There is a well-established boat design software forum and user group which it will probably be worth visiting and getting involved in. You can also sign up to their newsletter to remain updated on new developments. I haven’t tested the user-support response time as I didn’t really get stuck anywhere and had no reason to contact them.

3D Boat Design Software Help & Support: 4/5

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3D Boat Design Software Surface Modelling

There’s plenty of instruction in 3D Boat Design Software on surface modelling  and how to create and modify surfaces, but I’d recommend toSurface modellingexperiment for yourself, to get the hang of it. I’m not going to go into a discussion of the details of surface modelling techniques here because, quite frankly, I don’t know enough about it. What I can say, however, is that once I’d learned the knack of developing a surface, most surfaces almost seemed to develop themselves. It’s simply a matter of placing a point on a surface and then pulling it around.OK there’s a bit more to it than that (you’ll learn about points, lines, curves, creases and faces, for starters) but it’s not difficult and actually very enjoyable. One point I would make though, is that your designs are very sensitive to mouse movements. Sometimes, the smallest movement of a point can make a dramatic difference to a surface. My tip would be to go into the Windows control panel and slow down your mouse tracking speed to give yourself a lot more control. Having done that, I found surface development to be a very satisfying operation indeed.

3D Boat Design Software Productivity: 5/5

Useful Wizards in 3D Boat Design Software

It’s not all hard slog….some of the work is done for you. Here, for example is the Keel & Rudder wizard, to enable youKeel and Rudder Wizardto create those features simply by entering a few parameters into a few boxes. If you can read the image, you’ll see that it calls it an ‘appendage’. Having created your appendage and viewed its drag and lift graphs, you simply hit ‘Send’ to send it to your hull drawing at your desired insertion point. It can also be used to create hydroplanes and fins. Very useful and very time-saving. There are other useful – no – essential, wizards and tools to help you make your boat design as efficient as possible. You’ll need to know how changes to your hull shape are going to affect draft, displacement and water resistance. These can all be calculated on the fly in 3D Boat Design Software according to a number of different algorithms. There’s quite a learning curve here but it’s all good interesting stuff and you’ll probably find it as absorbing as I did.

3D Boat Design Software Tools & Wizards: 5/5

Cool & Useful Tools in 3D Boat Design SoftwareAmong the other cool gizmos included in 3D Boat Design Software is this one, I’m showing you the instructions from the manual because when IZebra Shadingwrote this I hadn’t yet produced a hull surface to use it on, but it’s so useful I thought you’d want to see it. It’s called ‘zebra shading’ and when switched on, it colors your hull with a series of stripes. By checking the pattern of the stripes you can find areas where your hull is not as smooth as it could be. It’s a similar effect to the one you get when you look along the length of a piece of wood to see if you’ve planed it straight, the foreshortening tends to exaggerate any deviations. Like many features of  3D Boat Design Software you need to see it in action to understand it fully, but it really doesn’t take long to get the hang of it.

3D Boat Design Software Usability: 5/5

3D Boat Design Software: Value for Money

At under $50, 3D Boat Design Software isn’t exactly going to break the bank and I felt, that for anyone interested in taking their interest in sailing just that step further then it was a valuable and instructive investment. It certainly managed to accomplish everything I asked of it and I had no crashes or blue screens during the six or seven hours I played with it.

3D Boat Design Software Value for Money: 5/5

3D Boat Design Software – My conclusion: The current version of 3D Boat Design Software is a pretty comprehensive package, and an ideal introduction to CAD hull design. It has everything you need to create and develop your own hull designs from start to finish. It probably doesn’t have some of the bells and whistles of some of the much more expensive CAD programs but at $49.95 it’s well worth the money. It comes with a 60 day 100% money back guarantee, so if you’re interested in taking your boat building skills to the next level there seems no reason not to give it a try.

 Click here to get your own copy of 3D Boat Design Software!

and get to work on the boat you always wanted!

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Nothing on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional boat construction advice. Always consult a professional if you are in any doubt about the seaworthiness of any craft you design whether with or without 3D Boat Design Software.