Offshore Marine Winch

Introduction: Offshore Marine Winch

About: Hi, my name is Dean. I love building and being creative, as well as computer aided design and in particular 3D modelling. My son, Hiyadudez, referred me to…

Hi all, this is my first instructable. After years of encouraging my son Matthew (hiyadudez) to design and build stuff, I have decided to enter the Design Contest.

In the 3rd year of my Engineering Degree I undertook an unpaid project with a local company to design a winch. This is essentially a cable and cable drum controlled with a hydraulic motor and gearbox assembly and built within a structural steel frame. This particular winch was utilised upon a ship's deck to aid oil exploration.

The design starts with the selection of the appropriate gearbox and motor that will provide sufficient power to ensure the winch is fit for purpose. Then, with the aid of some old 2D drawings, I set about creating a complete 3D Model using Autodesk Inventor Student Version. 

I will detail some step by step instructions including 2D Drawings, 3D Modelling methods and as-built photographs in order to highlight somewhat my excitement at being given the opportunity to design and create my first real 3D Project. This is the culmination of 3/4 yrs hard studying and many, many hours of utter enjoyment using Autodesk Inventor. I hope my love for design shines through.

Step 1: Motor and Gearbox

It is essential that purchased items such as motors and gearboxes are modelled accurately to ensure manufactured steel framework fits tightly. Fabricated steelwork is machined to tight tolerances to suit selected gearboxes and motors. Lots of companies now provide 3D models of their products, here is a link; and these can be placed into your 3D assembly. Failing that, It is possible to obtain 3D Data sheets as shown to model your own. Data sheets provide dimensions such as hole diameters and distance between mounting faces. Shown here is a data sheet and my modelled gearbox.

Step 2: From 2D Drawings to 3D Model

I was able to recreate parts of the winch from existing 2D drawings. Whilst this is easy with a few lessons using Autodesk Inventor, the more complex assemblies such as 'frame generator' (see picture 4) allows the user to dimension a 3D Frame of dimensioned lines and select appropriate steelwork to be placed on the lines to form the structure.

Picture 1: 2D Drawing
Picture 2: 3D Model from 2D drawings
Picture 3: Completed fabrication.
Picture 4: Frame generator

Step 3: Fitting Parts Together - 'constraining'.

Individual parts were constrained together and the model built. When assembled you can placed fittings like nuts and bolts, bearings and pipework to bring your model to life. Interestingly, you can then produce 2D drawings from individual completed models that will be used to produce manufactured components. This is sometimes referred to as 'REVERSE ENGINEERING'.

Picture 1: Bearing housing constrained with bolts to the frame.
Picture 2: Before constraint
Picture 3: After constraint

Step 4: Creating a 2D Drawing From a 3D Model

Designing in 3D allows the user to produce 2D drawings from the 3D model. The items modeled can be constrained together to ensure alignment. This means the user can limit errors in the fabrication process.

Step 5: The Finished Product

The finished design was put into production and shown above is the completed winch.

Once my design project had been accepted, 2D drawings were produced and the fabrication work undertaking to complete the winch.  
I was invited to come in and see the completed product. As a student in the last year of my degree, I felt immensely proud of what I had created and was so grateful for the opportunity to display my designing capabilities. I consider this to be the ultimate achievement of my four year learning process.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this Instructable, and if you did, please be sure to vote for it in the 3D Design contest.

Thank You!

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    4 years ago

    amazing work


    7 years ago on Introduction

    for latest drilling information please visit

    very cool! were there any specific design goals for this? size limitations, load sizes...etc?


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Amanda,

    Too many to list all of them! I have picked out a few:

    material selection and strength mostly fell under DNV rules - The outer frame for example would be a minimum of 8mm thick steel.

    The lifting eyes were designed to withstand tear-out stresses and pull tested to ensure they can lift the weight of the finished winch. They also had to be designed to take the lifting shackles and slingset.

    Tests were completed to all welds, especially where forces would tend to be involved rather than 'cosmetic' welds and size of weld 6mm, 8mm fillet would be indicated on all drawings.

    The initial customer order would quote the duties required of the completed winch and it was for me then to decide on things like drum core thicknesses, diameters and wire rope construction. The drum flange also had to be sufficient diameter to hold the wire in place.

    The completed winch design is submitted to the client for approval also. Prior to shipping the winch underwent a duty test and this was witnessed by the client and signed off.

    Weight tends not to be a problem, finished weights can be anything from 12 - 40 tonnes.

    As a rule of thumb, there is very few height limitations because the majority of these types of winch are affixed to a ship's deck. However the base structure was submitted as a 2D drawing to obtain approval of the fixing details - weld plates and bolthole dimensions etc.

    Hope this has provided a little insight!