Minimum hardware required: PI 133, (64 Mb for Win NT)
Operating system(s): Windows NT, 2000, XP
Most recent version date & number: January 2006 , 4.50
Number of installations:


PropCad is a Windows 2000/NT/XP software tool from HydroComp, Inc for the automatic preparation of 2D design drawings, 3D views and construction data of marine propellers. PropCad is built on a CAD host (Visual CADD™ from Corel Corporation) to add extensive general-purpose CAD capabilities to its specific propeller drawing features. A full Visual CADD package is delivered with PropCad.

PropCad is a propeller design document and blade surface generator. It creates standard propeller design drawings (using an included copy of Visual CADD as a CAD "host") and tables of offsets. It also develops a full 3D definition of the hydrodynamic blade surfaces and can package this data for export to conventional CAD, CAM and modeling software.

PropCad offers an interactive environment to rapidly build design documents and geometric properties from your parameters. A Builder wizard defines the complete design from a collection of standard industry propeller styles. You can also define any arbitrary section shape and use this as a "parent template" in conjunction with the Builder to create derivatives of your own proprietary design.

  Capabilities & New features

PropCad™ Version 4.20 - a "High-Performance" Upgrade

HydroComp PropCad - the industry's most widely used propeller CAD modeling tool - has recently been enhanced with new capabilities for those developing designs for high-performance applications. Two significant new features include:

ability to define suction and pressure surfaces of different chord length and,
a cupping "wizard" in PropCad's design Builder.
The ability to define different chord lengths for suction and pressure faces is critical for the contemporary section shapes being used for high-performance applications. Designs for most conventional applications are based on a style with common chord length (e.g., B-series, AU, and even Gawn). High-performance designs, however, often require a higher level of curvature to the blade sections, resulting in leading and trailing edge geometries that do not begin and end at the same chord-wise position. Designers of these types of propellers will find PropCad v4 fully able to handle these advanced sections shapes.

One design attribute that is frequently used for high-performance propellers is "cupping". HydroComp's extensive experience in the performance and geometric definition of cupping has gone into PropCad v4 [ref: MacPherson, D.M., "Small Propeller Cup: A Proposed Geometry Standard and a New Performance Model", SNAME Propeller Symposium, 1997]. The magnitude and radial distribution of cup can quickly be applied to a design within the interactive design Builder.

Other notable features in PropCad v4 include the integration of a CAD View into the main design environment, additional data exchange options to CAD/CAM modelers, and geometric refinements to the library propellers.

PropCad Builder wizard

The main PropCad design form allows us to review the design in 3D. The various menu commands call functions to define material, strength, tip, hub and drawing requirements.

Once we are satisfied with the design, we can create standard propeller design drawings and table of offsets.

This is where many propeller manufacturing companies end their design. Using well-established manual techniques, these companies will build their patterns using PropCad's various drawings and tables.

  Why Do You Need PropCad ?
Who should use PropCad?
Manufacturers, researchers and designers of marine propellers are the principal users of PropCad.

What propellers can I draw with PropCad?
Designs of virtually any type of marine propeller can be prepared with PropCad's comprehensive geometry definition. (PropCad will even help prepare drawings for other types of rotating machinery elements, such as turbine blades and aviation propellers.) The easiest way to create a propeller drawing is with PropCad's Builde.
  How Does PropCad Work?

What about blade thickness calculations?
Required blade thickness is an important part of any propeller design, and PropCad can generate a thickness report suitable for submission to the classification societies (i.e., American Bureau of Shipping). The same calculations used to build these reports can be called on to assist the PropCad Builder to find the required thickness during the initial design process.

What information is shown on a PropCad drawing?
PropCad output includes traditional 2D design drawings, 3D views and printed tables of 2D and 3D section offsets. The drawing may be viewed, edited and printed to any Windows-supported printer or plotter from the Visual CADD host. The design drawing includes expanded, transverse and profile views, pitch distribution, geometric information (e.g., weight and wr2 inertia), as well as the basic propeller parameters.

Both 2D and 3D propeller geometry may be exported from PropCad. This information is in a variety of formats, and is currently used for many purposes, such as being imported into NC milling applications or into CFD and FEM analysis programs.

What kind of support is available?
Both HydroComp and
Design Systems & Technologies offer telephone, fax and e-mail hotline support to help users to get the most out of PropCad. Propeller design and drawing preparation (to create initial drawings for special propeller "templates", for example) are also available as a contract service. A quarterly newsletter provides useful hints and suggestions. On-site or seminar training is available.

How does PropCad Builder work?
Libraries of popular propeller styles (e.g., Gawn, B-series, Kaplan, AU) are included in PropCad. Complete propeller geometry can be built by describing a few important objective values. Enter a target blade area ratio, the amount of skew or rake, and thickness rules, for example : PropCad will automatically build all of the propeller's geometry - including chord length, thickness, skew, rake, and all section offsets.

Will PropCad work with other propeller types?
The PropCad geometry data may be edited completely by the user to represent any desired propeller. The PropCad Builder can also create new geometry from an existing drawing. Thus, PropCad drawings can be created and saved as starting "templates" for later designs.

What do I need to run PropCad ?
PropCad requires a pentium CPU running Windows 2000
/NT or XP, with minimum 8 MB memory, 15MB disk space, CD-ROM drive and VGA video or better.

Link to Hydrocomp inc.

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