What is VisualWRAP?
VisualWRAP is cross wrap design software for custom fishing rod builders. It lets you design, view, edit and share decorative wrap patterns.
Here is a screenshot of the software showing how a particular pattern will look in 3D on a rod:
You can use VisualWRAP as a pattern viewer, showing you how existing patterns are formed, thread-by-thread, on the screen. Once you see how patterns develop it makes it easier to understand the sequence in which to lay down threads on your rod. If you are keen can also try editing existing patterns, or coming up with your own using VisualWRAP’s in-built scripting language and script builder.
Here is a quick video featuring the VisualWRAP software:How will VisualWRAP help me with decorative wraps?
VisualWRAP is all about decorative wraps. A well executed decorative wrap can really set your rod apart. It can also be a source of personal satisfaction, knowing that you have done the best work possible, aided with the right tools. Here is a list of ways Vizwrap will help you with your cross wraps:
- Spacing calculator: Knowing where to position layout threads is critical to achieving wraps that close properly. Tell the software how many pattern repeats and the size of you blanks and it will calculate where to place your layout threads
- Print true-to-size: You can print your patterns true-to-size to quickly see how your pattern will look on your rod. This feature can also be used to pictorially show where layout threads should be placed.
- Change colours quickly: How will that pattern look in red? or blue? or any other colour chosen from your spool palette? It only takes a few mouse clicks to find out!
- See patterns develop thread-by-thread: There is no better way to demonstrate how cross wrap patterns form than seeing them wrap using VisualWRAP. You can wrap patterns on the screen quickly, slowed down, or by pausing after each thread is laid.
- Wrapping Instructions: If your pattern has multiple sections then the Wrapping Instructions feature will automatically prepare a set of instructions that you can print and follow.
- Create patterns: If you want to experiment with your own patterns then there is no better way than using Vizwrap. The in-built scripting language and pattern builder give you the ability to build and test pattern scripts and instantly see how each pattern will look.
- View in 3D: Wonder what that pattern will look like on a rod? Use the in-built 3D viewer, or print true-to-size and wrap the printout around your blank to find out!
- Pattern Library: Seeking inspiration? The standard Vizwrap pattern library contains over 100 patterns that you can use, edit, or gain inspiration from. Pattern Pack downloads will extend your pattern library by over 600 patterns!
Any decorative wrap pattern starts with a set of layout threads. Where you place those threads is critical to how the finished pattern will look. On rods where there is some taper in the vicinity of your wrap (i.e. most rods) then the spacing needs to be adjusted to compensate for the taper.
VisualWRAP includes a spacing calculator for determining where layout threads should be placed. It compensates for the taper of the rod to ensure your wraps will “close” nicely.
Another great feature of the software is the ability to print patterns true-to-size. This means you can print a particular pattern scaled to fit your rod, i.e. adjusted for the taper of the blank. When you cut out the printed pattern and curl it around your blank it will fit perfectly, so you will see very quickly how the finished wrap will look.
You also have the option of printing only the layout threads. Once printed true-to-size you can hold this printout alongside your blank and use it as a guide for marking initial crossing points of the layout threads. This is an alternative to using spacing charts, and is perfect for when your pattern is elongated or compressed instead of being a standard “square” pattern.
Patterns can take many hours to wrap on a rod, so it is important that you decide up front what colours you are going to use, otherwise you may not be happy with the result.
VisualWRAP lets you easily change colours so you can see how different schemes will look.
Showing your customers what different colour combinations are possible will set you apart as a rod builder and may result in greater customer satisfaction. You can “wrap” different colour combinations on the screen for your customer to see in person, and quickly make changes according to their preferences. You can also take screenshots if communicating by email.
VisualWRAP is a comprehensive tool with many features. Like anything new there is a learning curve to overcome. Once you pick up the main concepts everything should just “fall into place”. To assist with getting you up to speed there are a number of resources available:
- There is a Help Wizard which is a series of simple screen-shot tutorials built into the software.
- There is a Help file that installs along with the software.
- There is a tutorial available.
- There are help videos available.
Check out the VisualWRAP Help page for access to these downloads.
If you ever get the opportunity to see VisualWRAP demonstrated in person then take that opportunity with both hands. Seeing the software in action can help dramatically shorten the time taken to understand the concepts behind the normal workflow.
A brief history
In 1992 I made my first rod after reading a “how to” magazine by Ian Miller and Steve Starling. The rod was very plain, with the only decoration being trim wraps on the guides, but to me it was great as I realised I had found something I loved doing. The first two casts of that rod resulted in two small trout, and I was hooked.
While browsing through my local tackle shop I came across a copy of Dale Clemens’ “Custom Rod Thread Art”. It was basically a collection of recipes for how to make cross wraps, along with a description of a common language to describe elements of cross wraps. I was amazed with the variety of patterns shown in that book, and was excited to try one on my next rod. I chose the snowflake pattern.
As I progressed to wrapping various other patterns I was determined to do things better. I had learned computer programming at Uni and thought “why not write a program to help me with my cross wraps?”. In the belief that such a tool would save me time when wrapping patterns and give me more time to wrap rods, in 1997 I started experimenting in my evenings with drawing lines on the computer monitor. Five years later VisualWRAP was launched.
While I was writing VisualWRAP I did not know any other rod builders. In Australia there were no organised clubs or gatherings, and information was scarce. Around 1996 I started seeing some pictures of cross wraps appearing on the internet. There was no Facebook or Google, but there were bulletin boards and some picture-sharing services appearing. I launched visualwrap.com as a website to support the software, and soon afterwards introduced a bulletin board there titled ThreadCentral. I launched the Sydney Rod Builders Club as a way of getting like-minded individuals together to share techniques and make contacts. The ThreadCentral bulletin board became a fantastic repository of step-by-step progression posts, as well as a general gathering place for rod building info. In the end the site was hacked and I had to reluctantly take it down. Some snapshots of the site can still be seen here by virtue of TheWayBackMachine.
Since being launched in 2002, VisualWRAP has helped thousands of rod builders around the world communicate their pattern ideas and creations. It has helped forge friendships across the globe as builders strive to beautify their blanks and share their designs with like-minded souls. It has been the subject of seminars and demonstrations at various conclaves, expositions, rod building clubs and gatherings.
Ironically, rather than giving me more free time to wrap rods, VisualWRAP has become a labour of love and grown somewhat of a life of its own. Without a doubt the very best thing about the software has been the people it has brought together and friendships created along the way. I sincerely hope you enjoy using the software and it helps you build better rods.
Dave Boyle, January 2018
“Thread Art is not crime!”
Dave demonstrating VisualWRAP at a Sydney Rod Builders Club meeting in 2004
Setting up at an ICRBE
Meeting some NERBs