View Full Version : Plyboats software

Dave Hadfield
09-03-2000, 10:02 PM
I just spent an hour with the www.plyboats.com (http://www.plyboats.com) software (a demo) and enjoyed it. I used the Jim Michalak user guide from his list-of-past-issues. (www.apci.net/~michalak/1jan00.htm) In very little time I worked out the lines for a 10ft punt, only to discover that it wouldn't show me the offsets unless I forked over the cash and bought the program. Great anguish.
It's USD $145. Has anyone used it? Would you recommend it?



09-03-2000, 10:18 PM
I must admit to owning a copy. In a fit of unabashed spending on boatbuilding books I bought the program ( more like my latest "fix"). Now, I'm not an engineer and I don't play one on TV, but I do know the value of a piece of software when I use it.

All kidding aside it's a good tool for what it's designed to do. It's for hard chine-mulit-chine boats. It's been acouple of months since I monkeyed with it, but as a non-engineer - non-cad user I liked the program. It's simple enough for anyone to use. It works off of the distance from a builders line. You cannot just enter a set of offsets. I sucessfully entered a couple of designs on my own after a few hours of toying with the program. The manual is very helpful and so is Ray Clark.

This program allows you to design the hull and measure it's efficiency. He does have a catalog of sail rigs that you can add to your design, but I have'nt had the time to learn that end of it.

If you can afford the $145 US and would like to play with some hull shapes (including cats and tunnels) it's worth it.

Of course, this is just IMHHO.


Foster Price
09-04-2000, 05:13 AM
Hello Dave

You might like to try "Hullform", even the free version is very usefull and the 7S or 7G can be used for a high level of analysis. A friend of mine did all the hull design for a 40' boat on it. See www.iinet.net.au/~bluep (http://www.iinet.net.au/~bluep) .

It's Australian (was initialy developed for their Americas cup program I think) but I wouldn't hold that against it!!

Regards - Foster Price
Southland, New Zealand (which is not part of Australia !!)

[This message has been edited by Foster Price (edited 09-04-2000).]

Dave Hadfield
09-07-2000, 10:50 AM
Thanks for the replies.
Foster, I downloaded it, tried it, was frustrated by it, and deleted it. It's too complicated. The 70-page manual defeated me and I got a lot of rainbow-coloured gunk across my screen. Thanks anyway -- you're dealing with someone who is dos-challenged here.
I have several hard chine designs I'd like to build (a 10ft pram, a 15ft sailing scow, a 17ft garvey, and a 23ft trailer sailor), all out of the dreaded plywood, so I guess I ought to bite the bullet.

09-22-2000, 02:06 PM
Dave, I have been using "Plyboats" for about 2 yrs now and think it was one of the best software purchases I have ever made. It is some what limited in what it will do but it does what it does very easily and produces very easy to use outputs. I have designed a "flats" skiff and it went together very well. I am now attempting to draw a large "sharpie" for Fl.& Bahamas crusing and it is looking good. The sail plan portion of the program I have not figured out and I have been unable to produce lines. I think I will need to hire an architect to help me with this quite large project, at least to verify my centers and be sure of overall balance.
I have tried Hullform and too found it quite confusing. I think one of plyboats great points is the ease with which you can draw and alter plans, allowing you to try many solutions to a problem.
The DFX outputs do work however for my purpose doing interior/deck layouts are easier and quicker on paper.
Please feel free to E-mail me if I can be of any help.... Good luck, Hank

Dave Hadfield
09-24-2000, 08:26 AM
Hank, thanks for the reply.
Well I went ahead and bought the program. It's very expensive when you add Canadian exchange, shipping, and then a 30% software tarrif. It's too bad you can't download the demo program, then, when you pay your money, download a cypher/uninhibitor that unlocks the printer restrictions. Skip the post office and the tarrif. I detest giving even more of my cash to the feds.
Speaking of printers, I'm corresponding with Ray Clark now about it. That's the only part of the program I have trouble with. As you say, tweaking the lines and adjusting the design is easy. It's making the result print that's difficult.
I worked out a garvey, a 10ft punt, a 23ft 2-chine sharpie, and a 15ft hot rod sailboat. All in 2 days. Great fun, actually.
I've bought the plywood for the punt already. I'll be butt-joining it as soon as I've finished making a wood-stove for my ketch -- this afternoon, I hope.

09-18-2006, 09:35 PM
Sir, I just very recently puchased Plyboats and I'm building my first design. I was wondering if you can help me out with enlarging and printing the templates from the offsets. Any suggestion would be much appreciated.

Columbus OH

Dave Hadfield
09-22-2006, 10:23 AM
Well here's an old thread, brought back from the old-threads-home!

I did indeed use Plyboats to build that 10ft dinghy. It worked out very well and is still in use. Then later I built a sharpie-canoe, 15'3" long, that, due to the rocker in the hull that plyboats allowed me to experiment with, turned out to be an amazingly good little boat -- much better that the short-use throwaway idea I originally had.

As for helping you with the offsets.... well, that's hard over the internet. Better to find someone in person.

But the offsets are not what you build from. They are what you would use if you were making full-size molds to constuct a jig. Instead, you build from the Plywood Layout. This gives you distance "in" from the edge of the plywood sheet to make a mark. You make a series of these marks. Then you join them up in a smoothly curving line, using a long, thin wooden batten, and cut on that.

Thus you get the pieces of the boat. Often you start assembling by joining the sides to the center bulkhead. Then you carry on by the stitch-and-glue method, or by attaching chine logs and using nails and glue.

In the ones I've done, the lines have never been perfect, but they're close enough to fair the curve of the batten and give you the boat you want.

Good luck,


09-23-2006, 11:12 PM
I had the original software, DOS, 45 bucks or something. I thinkt here are supposed to be free online ones also. I have used it to make a few boats, and it's a really good program. I have prolines and their pating software. Plyboats is so good that is what I normally use for this kind of thing. I was surpised how nice the boats look when they tend to look a littel weird on the screen. I recomend a model first for any design.

Been a while since I looked at it, but the whole point of this program is to get you to the point where you can build from the skin in rather than traditionally from offsets.

The info you need to build from offsets is: the outline of the frames you are trying to use; their hight relative to each other on a storngback; then you make that strongabck mount the frames, and use stringers to define the panel edges; and plank to the stringers.