There's a ShopBot for every size boat project

ShopBot in Boatbuilding

ProDesign 3D's machining center is equipped with 3 custom-built ShopBot CNC Routers so that they can precisely perform volume cutting of various materials.

Meet ProDesign 3D, a custom design/build firm for exacting boatbuilding customers. read the story

The boat that launched ShopBot

Twenty years ago, Ted Hall released boat design software for creating developable surface hulls (BtDzn)* with the intent of designing small boats for backyard construction. When getting ready to construct his first design, a 8' pram, he determined that he was in need of a tool that would cut the panels precisely. As a result of this need, ShopBot was born.

* Developable surface work is now readily accomplished in Rhino, expanded (laid flat), and with RhinoCAM made ready-to-cut on a ShopBot.

Read the article Ted Hall wrote, circa 1995 published in Messing Around with Boats Designing Plywood Boats: Hard Chines and Developable Panels

CMD design, Seaside Small Craft cut

CMD design, Seaside Small Craft CNC-cut frames

Montana Boatbuilders

Inner Bay Boats rowboat kit

Inner Bay Boats rowboat kit

Inner Bay Boats rowboat kit

Classic Marine Co.

Classic Marine Co.

Classic Marine Co.

Boatbuilding is a natural for utilizing the benefits of CNC technology, and the first ShopBot was developed as a boatbuilder's tool. In boatbuilding ShopBot CNCs are used for cutting frames, plywood panels, and all manner of interior and exterior parts. They are used in wood, fiberglass, and aluminum production processes.

Not only does a ShopBot give you the ability to accurately cut pieces that would be unwieldy or difficult to cut by hand or with traditional power tools, but it also allows you to duplicate that part over and over again. And although cutting oddly-shaped parts may be the most obvious use, a typical boat shop might use a ShopBot in many other ways. For example:

CNC used in reshaping of bottom and topsides on Snapdragon (Professional BoatBuilder, June/July 2002) Seaside Small Craft

CNC in manufacturing kits. Here 'Sixhour canoe' panels are stacked for high school boatbuilding program. Seaside Small Craft

Redwing 18 cabin doors cut from 3 layers of 4mm plywood. Seaside Small Craft

A new ShopBot-cut "wavy" scarf being developed for plywood joinery. Seaside Small Craft; read more about it on Bill's Blog

A Few of the Boatbuilders using ShopBots

Kit-Cat Boats, Larry McInerney - Merritt Island, FL, Bulkheads and panels
Montana Boatbuilders, Jason Cajune -  Livingston, MT, Custom boats, kits, plans and repairs
SeaDog Boats, Ltd., Mike Schwartz -  Milwaukee, WI, Sea kayaks, rowing sculls and other small craft stitch-and-glue boat kits
Seaside Small Craft, Bill Young -  Willis Wharf, VA, Boats mostly
Inner Bay Boats, Jim Hammond - Langton, Ontario, Canada, Wooden boats, kits, restoration and repair
Wayland Marine, Ltd., Ron Mueller -  Bellingham, WA, Merry Wherry, sliding seat, stitch-&-glue rowing boat kits
Windsor Boat Works, Mike Windsor -  Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada, Restoration of Muskoka built boats, custom-made runabouts
  Classic Marine Co., Angus Hines -  Corrollton, VA
Custom and reproduction marine products
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ShopBot Boatbuilding Package

Hardware: Boatbuilders are a diverse group with varied needs in CNC. Starting with a standard ShopBot package sized for your work is the way to go. We illustrate a 4' X 8' size below. But if you plan on working with imported marine plywood be aware that it is sometimes manufactured in metric sizes and may be larger that the cutting area of the PRTalpha 96. Check with your plywood supplier before deciding on tool size and talk with a ShopBot sales person about options for a larger size for maximum adaptability. If production needs are heavy, we suggest a PRTalpha with a spindle. If you will be using the tool just for special projects, a PRTstandard and a router may serve your needs well.

Software: The type of software that will be the best fit for you depends on the types of project that you do. Many boatbuilders will already have a boat design package of one sort or another, and most Naval Architects and Designers these days can make CAD drawings available to boat shops. CAD drawings exported as dxf files can be easily converted to cutting files with PartWorks Suite (included with all tools). If you don't already have boat design software, consider Rhino 3D as a very affordable starting package for working with hull shapes. Rhino also has some capability for working with developable surfaces and panel expansion (plywood hulls). For general woodworking production and panel layout, ArtCAM Insignia has many useful capabilities for boat shops.

ShopBot Resources for Boatbuilders

Quicklap Canoe. One of Bill Young's first ShopBot tasks was to create a new construction method (and design and build a boat using it) that would be easy to machine using a ShopBot but difficult to do any other way. The QuickLap method of building lapstrake canoes was his solution and the files to build a 13'6" Quicklap canoe are available for free download from the website.

Stitch-&-Glue Dinghy Model. A 1/4 scale model of the Weekend Dinghy, a 9' skiff designed by Karl Stambaugh of Chesapeake Marine Design and built during several of the WoodenBoat magazine Community Boatbuilding events, is available for free download from our  website.

Stepped Scarf Design Tool. An interactive Stepped Scarf design program is available on the website, letting you create custom stepped scarfs that can be used in your boatbuilding projects

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ShopBot doesn't just provide CNC tools. We have created and are constantly building upon a comprehensive suite of resources and services to support your success.
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Each new ShopBot tool comes bundled with two powerful software programs to create CNC projects.

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