CAD for Hobbyists: OpenSCAD

Completed Bottle Opener
Completed Bottle Opener

OpenSCAD is not what most would consider a conventional CAD package.  In most CAD programs to create a shape you have to in some form draw or sculpt the desired shape; this is not the case in OpenSCAD.  In OpenSCAD shapes are defined by functions and you don’t draw shapes but program them.  Each 3D model is defined by a script that is then compiled into a 3D shape.  It is after all called The Programmers Solid 3D CAD Modeler.

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CAD for Hobbyists: An Introduction

This post is the first of a series on CAD for Hobbyists.  Be sure to check back for more posts in the series.

I get to use CAD software almost everyday.  There are so many programs currently available it can be hard to choose one.  At work, I alternate between two of the larger players in the CAD game, Inventor and Solidworks, dependent on client needs.  I’ve been using both off and on since the mid-2000s, and over the years I’ve seen each one add a ton of features (and fix a ton of bugs).  More often than not, when one of them adds a great feature, in the next year or two the other will add a similar feature leveling the playing field in the CAD software feature arms race.  With the current versions of both packages it is hard to say who is currently ahead.  Certainly, each package has its quirks and you have to take a minute to adjust to how each functions, but to the average user the packages offer the same features.

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