openSCAD experience

I’ve reviewed cad tools available and think I’m best suited for using openSCAD (non artistic engineer). I have not tried to use this tool yet, was wondering if anyone has had experience with it in the Snapmaker universe. Good or bad, bug rates, frustrations, etc.

As a programmer I’ve also been using OpenSCAD. It has some advantages, but also some quirks to get used to. It’s a really nice tool though, Although something like Fusion360 is as well (but steeper learning curve for me). Although I use Fusion360 always for CNC operations.

Anyway, there’s nothing snapmaker specific to be aware of when using OpenSCAD. Some of my personal toy projects are available on github:

But don’t expect too much of it. Definitely no OpenSCAD expert. But when you need something specific you can often find it very quick using google or often a library already exists that you can reuse.

Thanks for the feedback, it sounds like openscad is not bug laden, just nuanced in its usage and maybe not obvious? Why would you prefer Fusion360 for CNC specifically, I am also very interested in CNC esp with the rotary module.

I looked at Fusion360 per your post, it says one must qualify for free use for a 3 years subscription. At the end of the 3 years, do you have to license it at $382 a year to keep using the tool?

Use freecad. It has an OpenSCAD panel or workspace. You instantly add an openscad file or write one. If you then need to do other things you export or can switch to another work pane. I love fusion but use onshape where possible (public designs).

I love openscad but smoke too much to remember the math i need so just reuse other peoples examples and edit to purpose. Its mostly about being thoughtful with prebuilt volumes, e.g. make a cylinder, x y z, then cut a cube out one edge, etc and by using parameters and reusable functions then designs are very flexible and quick to adjust. The magpi magazine had some good tutorials and issues are free as pdf. I actually tried asking chatGPT to write some openscad for a Car jack stand, it did it and looked okay rendered when pasted in freecad along with having everything parameterised.

Also its great fun and actually useful putting your assemblies in VR, i just upload files to and then boot up Gravity Sketch on the Quest2 googles and start mashing my models together, editing surfaces and sketching or adding volumes etc. It’s better for prototyping and viewing final assemblies (get inside them at 500% zoom) than it is for designing in cad, but sinple edits merges and additions are totally possible, as well as importing multiple models (prefabs in their terminology) and exporting the results.

I’ve been using OpenSCAD for a while now, and I’ve never had any real problems with any file that was created in that program (trying to import non-OpenSCAD STL files to modify them can be a different story and has blown up in my face more than once). I have seen one known minor issue with the preview crop up from time to time, a visual artefact that leaves a near-transparent surface behind when you subtract one solid from another under certain circumstances, but it doesn’t make the preview unusable or anything.

My understanding is that you can get a free personal license for Fusion 360, but it has to be renewed periodically and the free version won’t support the rotary module without workarounds. FreeCad should have many of the same capabilities, but less polished, and fewer people here use it. On the gripping hand, you will never have to pay for FreeCad, and I believe it does have 4th axis support.

(Biting my tongue about ChatGPT, because it isn’t relevant.)

It has a learning curve like any other type of software. It just depends on the knowledge you may already have if the learning curve is higher or lower for you.

I prefer Fusion for generating the toolpaths, not for creating the designs. OpenSCAD doesn’t have that CAM functionality and the Fusion 360 CAM functionality (generating the toolpaths to cut everything) are far superior to what Luban can produce. Both in quality and speed.

The free for personal use is valid for one year and needs to be renewed every year. I’ve renewed mine three times already without any issue.

As already mentioned, you can’t use the fourth axis in the free for personal use Fusion360 license. If you want that, you do need the paid version (and some addons even if I’m correct). Doesn’t mean you can’t do anything, but it needs some workarounds and extra overhead:

Thanks to everyone for the replies, my original goal was the all clear on the openscad and it sounds like I wont be frustrated by pursuing it. I think the rest is great next steps, except for ChatGPT which is just to disturbing !