Punching out parts

If you’re more of a code monkey than artist, it may be tough to transform your ideas into the 3D models necessary for fabbing. The folks working on openSCAD apparently feel our pain.

openSCAD uses a language somewhat reminiscent of C for creating models. A preview of the model is rendered alongside your code. Fully cross-platform, it runs on Linux, OS X, and Windows. Much like SketchUp, openSCAD can also extrude 2D outlines into models. This feature comes in very useful if one already has a set of technical drawings for a part. With no price tag, it’s pretty affordable during this costly season.

13 thoughts on “Punching out parts

  1. Oh for the love of poop. I’m tired of hunting for the right link to click to get to the actual website in question. Could we PLEASE make the actual link of interest stand out from the others? Please?

  2. seems like a lot of work to accomplish something that is very easy in blender, nothing wrong with having options though, def going to try it out

  3. @svofski
    The OpenSCAD language looks pretty similar to POV-Ray’s Scene Description Language (SDL).

    I’ve used POV-Ray for some simple graphics projects before (like this http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Android_Robot_POV-Ray.png). POV-Ray itself is non-interactive, but there are some interactive tools like KPovModeler to help prototype scenes. However, KPovModeler at least is currently unmaintained and (currently) doesn’t support the flow control constructs (loops/if/else) of SDL or even variable declarations to reuse shapes.

    OpenSCAD uses OpenCSG, which on the website states *interactive* CSG (Constructive Solid Geometry) as one of the main benefits (http://www.opencsg.org/#benefits).

    BTW, for those of you with cursed 64-bit systems there are some changes you need to make to get OpenSCAD to compile:

    http://rocklinux.net/pipermail/openscad/2009-December/000033.html

  4. Well that’s the thing with CSG modeling: it’s an interesting concept but hell might freeze over before you finish making that pretty simple shape you’re trying to do. One day we’ll get free tools that implement real interactive solids modeling, that would be cool.

  5. @biqut2: Unfortunately blender is very oriented toward surface modeling, rather than solid modeling, and in particular makes CSG pretty difficult. Having come to blender after first using povray, I found that particular weakness pretty disappointing. Once I started trying to use blender for any serious cad use that weakness comes into sharp relief. Blender is not for cad. It would be totally great if blender were to pick up some CSG primitives, but until then, blender is just not very good for cad.

  6. @coward your right blender is not the best for cad. Spent an hour or so playing with this and i definately see your point, it very easy to specify exact dimensions and using loops makes modeling repetative things very fast and easy.

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