OpenSCAD or OpenJSCAD For Programmatic 3D Modeling?

By on July 12th, 2015 in Software

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An interesting new open source project could significantly simplify things for online 3D print services: OpenJSCAD.

OpenJSCAD? Don’t we mean OpenSCAD? Nope, these are two different things that perform the same function: programmatic 3D modeling. That’s the science of creating a complex 3D model from a sequenced set of instructions, like a program. This is as opposed to the other way of creating 3D models: with a graphical interface used manually by a human designer. In other words, you can write a software program to generate a 3D model. 

There are many advantages to preparing 3D models in this way. One is that it becomes very easy to tweak a 3D model: just change the appropriate instructions in the program. Another huge advantage is that 3D modeling can then be embedded into a web page, because it’s just more software code. Software can then control the creation of 3D models, enabling all sorts of interesting possibilities. 

OpenSCAD has been doing this for years. It’s an open source project that provides this type of interface. You just need to learn the OpenSCAD language and you can program your own 3D models. 

But then, what’s OpenJSCAD for? 

OpenJSCAD is essentially the same as OpenSCAD, but instead of using a new programming language, OpenJSCAD leverages the syntax of Javascript, one of the world’s most popular and well-known programming languages. Javascript is used on almost every web page in the universe and is both easy to use and learn. 

By using this syntax, OpenJSCAD provides a way for those familiar with Javascript (and there’s an awful lot of you out there) to very quickly get up to speed. Javascript programmers who know something about 3D modeling should be able to quickly build online 3D modeling tools, plugins, displays, generators and what-not, instead of learning OpenSCAD directly. Also, standard, existing Javascript code and methods can be leveraged to boost the capabilities of programs created with OpenJSCAD. It’s not completely compatible, but close enough to enable interesting things to happen.

If you are a Javascript programmer with an interest in 3D modeling, you may want to hit the site below to find out a lot more on OpenJSCAD. That page shows a demonstration of how the product works – and even can export STL, AMF or X3D formats. To create something with OpenJSCAD, you can clone your own copy of the code from GitHub.

Via OpenJSCAD and GitHub

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!