This week’s selection is “Simplifying 3D Printing with OpenSCAD” by Colin Dow.
I think OpenSCAD doesn’t get enough attention. It’s a very powerful tool for creating printable 3D models. However, it is quite different from most 3D CAD systems.
The typical CAD system uses a visual metaphor for interacting with the development: you drag shapes around on a screen to build a structure. That’s not what OpenSCAD does at all.
Instead, it’s actually much like a computer programming language. Instead of manipulating numbers or text, OpenSCAD’s special features allow the program to create and modify 3D shapes.
This enables a crafty 3D modeler to develop an OpenSCAD program that “generates” a 3D model on command. Even better, the programmability of OpenSCAD allows one to easily create complex shapes with repeating patterns.
But it is quite different from any other CAD tool.
That’s why you might consider this book if you’re interested in getting deeper into OpenSCAD.
The book begins with a basic introduction to 3D printers and the typical workflow to operate them. Experienced 3D printer operators can skip over those sections and proceed into the OpenSCAD material later in the book.
Those sections are well organized and take the reader through a gentle learning process for OpenSCAD. It starts with the basics, but then quickly moves on to more advanced operations, such as importing images, generating dynamic text elements, or simplification using modules.
There is an entire chapter devoted to an exploration of the common OpenSCAD libraries. These are separate files containing pre-made OpenSCAD code that can be integrated into your own OpenSCAD program. This leverage’s code that’s already written, enabling a number of powerful generative functions.
Finally, the book proceeds through a detailed look at several case study design projects, including a laptop stand, a model rocket, and a name badge.
If you are able to make it through this book you will have a 3D printing power few have, courtesy of OpenSCAD.
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