A parametric modeler
Why using OpenSCAD ?
OpenSCAD is a very specific tool in the CAD world.
Instead of what its name suggest, it is not a full fledged CAD, it is a 3D parametric modeller frontend, where you built 3D volumes by programming. So this is a tool beloved by professional and hobbyist programmers (while I do some programming, I am not at all a professional programmer).
While the language is very basic, you need some programming skills and also you shall be capable to handle in your head the 3D model, as there is no direct screen interaction. It is a compiler and your model is shown after the compilation, which could be quite slow for large models. The idea to program models is not new, but OpenSCAD revived this possibility.
I had some difficulties at the beginning as it is a Functional language, but I finally get used to, and after building my own library, I can do developpement relatively quickly compared to an interactive modeller.
I had some practice of Draftsight (2D AutoCAD clone) and Sketchup, unfortunately Sketchup is not a good tool for 3D printing, for multiples reasons (The STL files are not smoothed as on, screen and have a lot of defaults).
The biggest default of OpenSCAD is that you cannot export your models. It is only possible yet to export part by part in STL format. That means you are locked with the program.
What version to use
I recommend to use the development snapshots, which in my experience, have always been stable and can be found here. The very last snapshots can also be found at the end of this directory
One important development is a new GUI for parameters to interactively modify parameters with widgets.
This ‘Customizer’ panel also allow creation and retrieving of data sets. This functionality is similar to what is done by the Thingiverse customizer and more or less compatible.
Since OpenSCAD version 2019.05, Customizer is now fully integrated and you only have to unhide its panel to use it. See OpenSCAD manual. Last version of my Delta simulator use customizer datasets instead of including data files.
I yet developped in OpensCAD (most published on my Github repository):
- I developed a new box for the D-Box in the form of the Lily Big
- A smaller delta 3D printer, the Lily
- A pre-project of a tiny CoreXY 3D printer, the Halenia, with movement simulation
- Working on these projects, to ease programming, have more compact code and go faster, I developed a relatively detailed general purpose library, that I published on Github.
There are also smaller project, you can find all my Openscad Work on Github
I also done some other undisclosed projects…