Design of the Week: OpenSCAD Elephant

By on May 27th, 2024 in Design, news

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3D printed elephant [Source: edisadilovic / Reddit]

This week’s selection is the OpenSCAD Elephant by MakerWorld contributor edisadilovic, who is fully blind.

Sighted people may not realize that it is entirely possible for the blind to use 3D printers. Here edisadilovic shows how it’s done by using OpenSCAD to develop 3D models.

Note that OpenSCAD is a bit different from “normal” 3D CAD tools that are entirely visual. OpenSCAD instead is more like a programming language that, when executed, generates a 3D shape.

edisadilovic explains the elephant design:

“I am fully blind. This is an elephant model as seen and designed by myself. When I visited Thailand back in 2018, I had the pleasure of feeding, washing and caretaking elephants. These majestic creatures really inspired aw in me, and this is my attempt at recreating an elephant using OpenSCAD.”

But how could this be done? How can you use OpenSCAD without seeing the results as you iterate through designs? edisadilovic explained how he does this in a Reddit post:

“I know what an elephant looks like from feeling different toy elephants, and from touching a real elephant. Then, I decide the dimensions and start writing in OpenSCAD. OpenSCAD is a programming language, so I basically give the program commands how to shape the elephant. To view the output before printing, I take screen shots of the model from different perspectives. Then, I upload the screen shots to ChatGPT and have it describe the model to me. Once satisfied, I print it out, check it and adjust if necessary. This is roughly the process. It takes hours, and is extremely challenging, but still, I love it.”


Astonishingly, the elephant is only one of edisadilovic’s NINE 3D models posted to MakerWorld. The others are extremely interesting to examine, as they present a blind person’s conception of various 3D objects, such as the Eiffel Tower. They are subtly different from reality.

But then again reality is just what you perceive.

This project and edisadilovic’s entire library is an example for everyone: there is always a way forward, no matter what the challenge.

Via MakerWorld and Reddit

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!