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Age Range: 11-14
Duration: 60 or more mins
  • D&T

CAD boat design

Using CAD software to design a boat

This hands-on design activity gives students the opportunity to use the CAD tool to create their own boat. It’s a great project for a design class, allowing leaners to explore how engineers use CAD for designing and manufacturing.

This is one of a set of resources developed to aid the teaching of the secondary national curriculum, particularly KS3, supporting the teaching in engineering or design and technology (DT). This activity is ideally proceeded by the Boat design challenge, which tests the speed of different boat designs (this will be useful for students to know before they attempt to design their own boats).

Activity: Using CAD software to design a boat

Students must use CAD software to create their boats (example CAD software packages include Autodesk, SketchUp, ProDesktop/ProEngineer, Solidworks, AutoCAD, Paint, or similar).

Learners will use the 'lofting' tool within CAD to create the smooth 3D surface needed for the boat’s hull. Students are encouraged to experiment with simple or complex profiles with several different angular changes and features for their boat designs.

Download our activity overview for a detailed lesson plan on teaching students about using CAD design to design a boat.

The engineering context

Computer Aided Design (CAD) drawing is an important industrial tool used extensively in engineering and manufacturing sectors such as automotive, shipbuilding and aerospace. CAD is also commonly used for architectural design, making prosthetics, designing garments, robotics, and many other areas of product design.

Suggested learning outcomes

After students have designed their own boat using CAD drawing software, they’ll be able to explain why engineers would use CAD drawing as part of their roles. This understanding will allow them to apply their design understanding to an engineering context.

Download our activity sheet and other teaching resources

The activity sheet includes teachers’ notes, useful web links, and links (where appropriate) to the national curriculum in each of the four devolved nations; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

All activity sheets and supporting resources are free to download, and all the documents are fully editable, so you can tailor them to your students’ and your schools’ needs.

Download our classroom lesson plan and presentation below.

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