Free Webinar: Vessel Hull Design, Fairing and Reverse Engineering with Rhino.


Learn more about designing a beautiful hull shape for your ship, yacht or boat with Rhino. This webinar is hosted by McNeel & Associates and presented by two naval architects from RhinoCentre. The webinar session follows the main topics of three online training modules developed by RhinoCentre.

In total 393 people attended the two live webinar sessions.

This is the recording of the webinar

March 15, 2018 session 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM CET

Vessel Hull Design, Fairing and Reverse Engineering with Rhino from Rhino Tutorials on Vimeo.

Online training modules

This webinar covers hull modeling and fairing topics that are covered in the following online training modules:

Topics of the webinar

As not many people are aware of the mature features of Rhinoceros in creating smooth hulls, you can learn more about the following topics in this webinar:

  • The idea behind the online training and this webinar
    • This webinar is a demonstration and not a training.
    • The training and this webinar is based on only Rhino:
      • For modeling, fairing, design, reverse engineering.
      • Of a wide variety of ship-, boat- and yacht hulls.
    • Rhino plugins add valuable functionality to Rhino for any designer and naval architect. These are not part of this webinar and online training:
      • Orca3D for multiple naval architecture tools.
      • Scan&Solve for FEM calculations for the designer.
      • Grasshopper (part of Rhino 6) for parameterizing parts of the Rhino geometry. For example a hull script or tank arrangement script.
      • Bongo animations to show moving parts that show the design performance of your unique design. For example a dinghy crane.
      • Rendering plugins like Flamingo3D and V-Ray for presenting and selling a design.
  • Hull design and fairing Level-1:
    • The basic idea of rapid hull modeling with loft/loose command together with ‘Record History’.
    • A custom display ‘Glossy for Fairing’ to analyze the quality of the surface.
    • Basic hydrostatic analysis with Rhino for fast design optimization.
    • The creation of a lines plan based on a hull.
    • Some vessel hull type examples which can be modeled with this method:
      • 6 ship hulls.
      • 4 yacht hulls.
      • 3 boat hulls.
  • Prepare 2D input: The importance of preparing 2D AutoCAD drawings when they are used for 3D modeling and/or reverse engineering.
  • Hull design and fairing Level-2:
    • The method for reverse engineering an accurate 3D hull from a linesplan/ laserscan etc.
    • About developable hull shapes:
      • Gaussian analysis.
      • Unrolling strakes.
  • About the three modules of the online training:
    • The three modules on our website.
    • How training modules look like after purchase and how they work.
    • The possibity to purchase training support separately.

Questions and Answers

The coming days, I will add more answers to questions that were asked during the two sessions of the webinar.

Question 1:

Can I use an existing linesplan, mesh or point cloud to create loft curves as input for a hull surface?


No, existing information is only used as a reference to create a hull surface from scratch that matches the reference within a certain accuracy.

  1. When using a linesplan, some lines, for example stations, are used to create reference ribs with a certain thickness that represent the desired accuracy. This is shown in the webinar with the AHTS vessel and the orange/green reference ribs.
  2. When using a mesh, several reference curves are created from the mesh. These curves are used to create reference ribbons.
  3. When using a point cloud, several reference curves are created from points that are more or less inline. These curves are used to create reference ribbons.

All these applications are called reverse engineering. More information about this topic is published in this Rhino Report Blog article.

The technique for creating the reference ribbons and using them is taught in the Hull design and fairing Level-2 training.

Question 2:

How did you come up with the original loft-curves?


They are modeled from scratch or copied from an example hull of the same ship type.

  1. In the Hull design and fairing Level-1 training module you receive a Rhino file with all the example hulls that are shown in the webinar. Then you can use for example the loft curves of the sail yacht, copy them and edit the shape of these loft curves to create your own sail yacht hull shape. You can also find this file for free on our Rhino Report Blog.
  2. In the Hull design and fairing Level-2 training module you learn how to create loft curves from scratch based on a certain strategy. This way you should be able to design any vessel hull shape. As there are often several strategies with pros and cons, there is a lot of focus in this training module on developing a clever strategy.

Question 3:

Can I create a 2D shell expansion from the hull surface?


Yes you can create a shell expansion of both single curved and double curves surfaces.

  1. Developable surfaces can be unrolled very accurate with the _Unroll command. Most important is that the surface is really developable. In the Hull design and fairing Level-2 training module you learn to analyze developability and to manipulate a strake in such a way that you can make it developable within certain limitations. Some aspects of developable hull shapes are also shown in the webinar.
  2. Double curved surfaces can also be expanded with the _Squish command. However, in this case you need to have experience in this field of work to interpret the quality of the results. Several of our clients use this actually in the fabrication of their aluminum and steel boat hulls. They rely on it as they know by experience where to put the butts and seams and how to analyze the results of their expansions.

Question 4:

What is the difference in creating a hull with your Rapid Hull Modeling Methodology with the loft curves versus modeling with Orca3D?


The difference is that with Orca3D you directly manipulate the control points of a hull surface and in our method, you can first create the hull DNA with the loft curves. This also makes it possible to exchange loft curves and create a different bow shape for example. When you decide that this shape isn’t satifying, you can easily activate the old bow loft curves again and continue with these. In Orca3D you have to make a copy of the hull surface and continue with this variant. So both ways are good but they have minor differences that can be a pro or a con in your specific situation. In the end, the quality of the results can be exactly the same with both Orca3D and our method. Most important to understand is that the user defines the quality of the end result and not the method.

Question 5:

Is this webinar and training only Rhino 6 or do I also need the Orca3D plugin?


  1. Yes, this is only Rhino 5 or Rhino 6 and can also be done with Rhino 5 for Mac.
  2. However, Orca3D adds very valuable functionality to any naval architect:
    1. Real time sections that update for lines plans
    2. Much more advanced hydrostatic analysis than Rhino offers
    3. Intact stability analysis
    4. Speed and power prediction with Holtrop and Savitzky
    5. Weight and cost analysis
    6. Easy and accurate CFD analysis

Question 6:

When the lines plan is a result of the hull surface you produce, is it possible that it automatically updates when you change the shape of the hull surface?


  1. The _contour and _section command in Rhino do not automatically update. And the ‘record history’ feature in Rhino doesn’t support these commands too.
  2. In the Hull design and fairing Level-2 training module you learn a simple trick to create a linesplan that automatically updates.
  3. The Orca3D plugin offers real time linesplan functionality that is very practical and easy to use
  4. A Grasshopper script can also do the job. This is done in this Rhino Report Blog article.

Question 7:

Why is it so important to create a single surface and how can I use this in other software like Maxsurf or Napa? Is exporting to other software also taught in the training?


  1. Regarding single surfaces:
    1. A single surface is most easy to fair and to edit later in the design phase and maintain fairness then. We see often that self taught people end up with a patchwork of surfaces which will never be fair.
    2. Singles surfaces are more easy to offset for adding thickness.
  2. Importing and exporting to other software is not taught in this training. However:
    1. Rhino surfaces can be exported without loss of quality as IGES, STEP or Meshes to for example Maxsurf or Femap.
    2. When creating a mesh from a Nurbs surface, you have to define yourself the level of refinement to create an accurate and smooth mesh. This might be part of a Level 3 training.

Question 8:

Do I need to be a naval architect to follow this training?


  1. Anyone can follow this training who has a some experience with Rhino or finished the Rhino Level 1 training.
    1. You can download and practice the Rhino Level 1 training for free over here.
    2. In addition to the free Rhino Level 1 training, you can purchase 4 hours online training support to the Rhino Level 1 training at RhinoCentre.
  2. No, this training is only about modeling, fairing and reverse engineering techniques. This training doesn’t cover naval architecture aspects like:
    1. Defining the ‘volumetric displacement’ and ‘center of buoyancy’. As Rhino offers a simple hydrostatics analysis feature, this is practiced in the training.
    2. Defining and analyzing the desired stability
    3. Analyzing the speed and power prediction





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