If you are into personal 3D printing, one of the first things you'll observe is the disconnected nature of the required software. You might design models in one environment, then convert them for printing in another, and finally drive the 3D printer to produce the object. This is awkward to say the least, and is really a significant barrier to many less-technically inclined potential 3D print owners.
To take a step in the right direction, we just noticed a new open source project appear: RapCAD. It intends to link much of this function together into a single environment:
The IDE will contain project management tools, to allow more than one script to be grouped into a project. Another planned feature is a fully syntax hi-lighted script editor, as well as a 3D visualisation window reminiscent of OpenSCAD. The IDE will also contain gcode visualisation and generation tools
Project owner Giles Bathgate is attempting to leverage several other foundation 3D open source tools, the most prominent being OpenSCAD. At this time, RapCAD is just starting up, so there's not much there yet - but there is some code that attempts to implement the (literal) back-of-the-envelope sketch above (click for larger image).
We're hoping this project takes off, as it is could be a big step to simplifying the environment for 3D print operators.