Kayak creation software

http://www.blueheronkayaks.com/kayak/index.html just found this, I’m thinking a good way is to import the shapes into fusion 360, loft around them, and unfold https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwwP2hQ586I them. all theory, but at some stage I would love to make something like this.

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The linked article has a great quote

“Having endured tens of minutes of grueling training”


I have been looking for something like this for making kayaks for months. In fact as soon as Maslow kits are for sale again through other suppliers and I’ve had a minute to catch my breath I’m going to start working on an open source CAD/CAM program to do exactly this kind of thing. Very cool! I can’t wait to see if it works out!


@bar I also found the following http://www.bearboat.net/ it is similar, but looks more difficult to use. it can also output to .dxf although I tried to import it with no luck into fusion.
There are others available like www.delftship.net and www.maxsurf.net but not specific to kayaks.

Looking forward to anything you create.

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here’s a site I like where the author has 35 free native kayak and canoe plans drawn up in Delftship. there are a number of free packages useful for kayak design that also unroll the drawings. Carlson hulls program is popular although ancient by modern computer standards. if needed I could post a link. Usually it is tucked hiding away somewhere on the web.


edit: FYI Delftship is the professional version of Free!ship which was released as free software with source code and there was a couple of variants. Free!ship export was limited, but unrolled plates were available as dxf files if my memory serves. Free!ship/Delftship are really nice. There are spinoffs of Free!ship as source code was available. Plus it is free. I’m sure Delftship adds more niceties.

I just looked through the site and see the plans are no longer really free. Use as an example of kayaks drawn in Delftship.


Carlso’n Hull designer:
Probably the simplest program there is. Includes a number of designs. One is called SEAKAYAK.HUL

edit: download 2.6 listed at the bottom

Quick start:
Unzip both programs, run FreeShip.exe, file->import->Carlson.hul file->
browse to Carlson Hulls directory, select

At the top right corner of the Perspective View press the square maximize button.

Right click on the canvas, go to mode->developability check. Using the bottom and side sliders move the model around, the surface is all green, except the edges are red. Green is roughly developable, red is not. Edges always show as red, and can be safely ignored as far as developability goes (as always building a scale model is recommended, and I am an amateur in these programs)

From the top bar select Tools-> Develop Plates
From left to right uncheck fillcolor(floodfill icon), check show interior edges, check highlight stretched or compressed areas, uncheck show dimensions, uncheck shownames

In the plate window select the drafting compass icon next to the green check mark. Export the visible plates to a DXF file.

In the plate window the min/max edge area gives an idea of stretch/compression. With experience using these indicators as well as the developability mode indicates how accurate your plate development is.

Open the dxf files in whatever program you choose for inspection. You can also print out the plates to a printer, I used a PDFCreator, or save as a bitmap.

SEAKAYAK_developments.dxf (23.4 KB)
plate developments.pdf (25.0 KB)

edit: Freeship 2.3 was the basis for Freeship+ (an offshoot,). All the various programs could open a file saved in 2.3 format, which is why I’ve always preferred that version. 2.6 was the last official version, but that could not be read by Freeship+. Freeship+ written in Delphi seems abandoned, but there is a newer port to Lazarus (a free programming language similar to Delphi) called freeship-plus-in-lazarus. Freeship+ in Lazarus didn’t display properly on my antique desktop.

Delftship Free notes that: “The free version of DELFTship does not support printing or exporting the unfolded plates.” We need the ability to export the plates in dxf, so this won’t work for us.

I just realized FREEship 2.5 on up added the ability to add background images in each of the three main views. That’s important, so I would go with 2.6, and not worry about importing into Freeship+ with the older versions.

FREEship 2.6:

Freeship Plus 3.41:

FREEship+ in Lazarus:

Carene 2008 for completeness:


Here is a source of 66 free traditional Greenland kayak plans that are derived from Harvey Golden’s work in Freeship 2.6 format, since my first link has no free downloadable models.

Speed and Stability of Greenland Kayaks:


Free Stitch and Glue Kayak Plans