How to Use FREE!ship

- an unofficial tutorial -

Part 1: Getting Started

Many people say that FREE!ship with all its many features is a bit difficult to learn. My own experience is, that once you understand the basics, it is actually quite easy. This tutorial will show you how to use many of its features by working on an actual hull. You will need FREE!ship version 1.90 or later.

With permission of Jim Michalak, I will use his "Bobsboat", i.e. the same hull that he uses for his hull design tutorial. Jim says that this is an unfinished design, but I think it is a good example for a tutorial (it is not by chance that he choose it for his lesssons). I have taken the drawings from his website.

This is the sketch of Bobsboat:

Now, let's see how we get there.
Jim provides the following drawings:
A "bodyplan view"

and a "plan view"

We start a new design: File -> New (or just click the Button).
From the plan view we see, that we would need 12 points in longitudinal direction. The first one would be the transom, the last one the stem. However, we choose now only 10, so that we can try some more features later. From the bodyplan view we see, that we need 4 points in vertical direction: the first one for the keel line, the last one for the sheer line. The length will be 20 feet. In the bodyplan view we see the max. half beam as 36 inch, so the beam will be 6 feet. The draft we set for now to 0.5 and the units will be feet.

Before starting the editing process, I switch off all lines that I don't need for now, and that only disturb the image: The grid, the stations, the buttocks, the waterlines. Just click once on all those buttons:

The Perspective view should look now something like that:

The first what we need to change are the chines. We don't want a smooth hull, but hard chines. So we select the chines by clicking on them in any of the four "viewports". I find it the easiest to do most of the selecting in the Perspective view. The selected chines will be marked in yellow.

To make them "hard chines" we select from the menu Edge -> Crease, or - more easy - just click the button near the right end of the button bar.
But it is still a bit difficult to visualize the hull.
No problem. Just display also the other half of the hull by choosing from the menu Visibility -> Show both sides, or - more easy - just click the button

Now we have already a hull that looks fairly close to Bobsboat. We "just" have to get it into the right dimensions. That we'll do in part 2