OpenSCAD: A Love Story

Ok, maybe that’s a bit strong, but I’d definitely say we’re dating. I heard about OpenSCAD from the Make Blog, and with a belly fully of thanksgiving turkey I tried it out. I agree with the Make post and the referenced Thingiverse post : In the right hands, designing the right parts, this is a game changer. I played around with it for maybe 3 hours, and was able to generate this:

burr plate

Insane. I’ve been toying with the idea of making a grist mill using burr plates. The main hurdle for me was visualizing all the different angles and how they would interact. I tried drawing one in SketchUp, but after many hours, I threw in the towel. Before OpenSCAD came along I was trying to build the mental momentum to draw the plate in Processing! Seriously. I was going to use their 3D libraries and a TON of math so I could play with a parametrized model.

burr plate code

Speaking of coding, I should also mention that the code to generate the model is TINY. I’ve spread it out and commented it here, but in rough-and-dirty form, the code is less than 10 lines. 10 LINES! I’m free to edit any of the parameters, re-render, and a new model pops right up. Great stuff.

So I’d say there’s a new tool in the tool-box. It’s by no means the only one I’ll use, but certain modeling tasks just got a heck of a lot easier.

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