3D printing seems like it takes forever when you’re waiting for a part to come out. But if you’re like us, the real time spent in making something new is in modelling and refining the piece. There are tons of CAD programs out there, and finding one that meets your needs is part functionality and part personal preference. Reader [Leibowitz] pointed us to Solvespace, and it looks like it fills the gap between something like OpenSCAD and something more feature-full (and complicated) like FreeCAD.
We’re wondering why we hadn’t heard of Solvespace before. It looks great. It has a lot of what we like about OpenSCAD — the ability to quickly and easily specify two 5 mm holes exactly 21 mm from each other, center-to-center and then change that distance easily. But it also has other features like constraint solvers for mechanisms and linkages. It looks like a great way to design your next Strandbeest. The tutorials seem like a good way to get started quickly.
As we said above, choosing a 3D modeller is partly based on your requirements, but also partly on your feelings. If you’re feeling limited by OpenSCAD, there’s also ImplicitCAD. Or try out Autodesk’s free (but not open) Fusion 360. And now there’s Solvespace. It’s great to have options.