A short series of posts to highlight some useful features that you might not be aware of.

Often additional options for a command are exposed when you hold down the shift key.

Printing graphs to a scale that can be easily measured was introduced well over 20 years ago. Holding down the shift key whilst doing the print preview of the Graph window will prompt you for an option to “Print to Scale”. For the next release, this option will be more readily accessed in the “Graph Options” dialog.

MAXSURF Stability – Using Boundary Surfaces on complex shaped tanks.

Most tanks in MAXSURF Stability are defined using parameters that define their extents. However if you have a complex shape like a LNG sphere, cylindrical mud tank or just a tapered space then you’ll want to use boundary surfaces. This video by James of Maxsurf Tech Support talks through the process – watch here

Digitizing in Maxsurf Modeler 

Sometimes when modeling existing vessel where a digital lines plan is not available, it is useful to add markers in the Maxsurf model which trace the hull sections. If you have a scanned image of the lines plan this can be loaded as a background image and used as a basis for digitizing. A useful feature when digitizing in the Body Plan view is that the longitudinal coordinate (depth in the view) is taken from the Current section. So if you setup your section spacing first, you can select the station you are going to digitize in the Inset Box. Another handy feature is that for some commands, such as Add Markers, you can repeat the last command by using the Enter key. This feature works for a few selected commands (since it could be quite catastrophic to have Delete work in this way!) For more details on digitizing from scanned images we have a video explaining this and more:

Pat Couser wrote: More decimal places?

Here is a feature that we haven’t really advertised but some people (like me?) might find useful. Normally the number of decimal places displayed in the tables and dialogs is fixed and depends on the units being used. Sometimes it is desirable to have more decimal places displayed, for instance when copying data to a spreadsheet for further analysis. To do this click on the Help | About menu item with the shift-key held down, you will then be prompted to turn on (or off) the display of more decimal places (before the normal About dialog is displayed).
Please let me know if you find this feature useful and should be more easily accessible in the UI. If you are scripting through the COM API you can access this option in the Application object TableOutputMinNumDecimalPlaces property. In Multiframe, the units dialog allows you to specify exactly how many decimal places and the format for each type of measurement in the View | Units dialog.

Rhino 3D Import.

The Rhino file format does not contain the full trimming information required by Maxsurf to recreate the trimming. Most file formats, 3dm, dgn, iges only contain parametric curves on the trimmed surface and then flags for which parts of that surface are trimmed – there is no description of the origin of those curves. Maxsurf  trimming works on dynamically calculating the intersection of trimming surfaces or projected trimming curves onto the surface to be trimmed. For this reason we cannot import trimming information from these file formats.

We always recommend working in Maxsurf modeler first and then exporting to Rhino (or other CAD) for downstream detailed design, and not the other way around.


Downflooding points are one type of “Key Point” which are used for many different things. Only points are supported (not lines or surfaces). Please refer to the manual for full details

Structure module

– A question was ‘How to export stringers and stringer cutouts (when exporting the stringer cutouts in Rhino / AutoCAD, we are losing the radius / the fillet of the cutout)’

Reply is: Which export are you using? DXF export from the part drawing window should be accurate. Note that simple polylines are used, not polylines with radii included because the feedback we were receiving indicated that embedding radii in the DXF polylines caused problems with cut paths.

For the next release there are improvements to the mesh export of parts, using the minimum number of triangles whilst retaining the accuracy of the perimeter polyline

Non constant  flange section

How to generate primary members with non constant  flange section ?

You should add a “Longitudinal Girder”

You can then specify the flange width at each point on the Girder