OpenSCAD Tutorials for CSG

by TerriRexson

A collection of OpenSCAD tutorials for learnings to create constructive solid geometry models for 3D printing designs and other applications.

I'm learning to use OpenSCAD to create 3D models for our new 3D printer. On this page you'll find the useful OpenSCAD tutorials I've found including tutorial videos.

I've started with the simplest introduction material and worked up to more complex concepts so you should be able to work through these resources in order, building your knowledge as you go.

We've just got a 3D printer so I'm learning how to create 3D models with OpenSCAD to turn my ideas into 3D printed objects. I'm collecting useful resources on this page as I progress.

What is OpenSCAD?

OpenSCAD is a software program for creating 3D models programatically. You specify textual commands to create elements within your model and OpenSCAD renders the models graphically on the screen and can work with DXF, STL and OFF file formats. OpenSCAD is available for Linux, Windows and Mac. 

If you're looking for a graphical way to create 3D models then you might want to try TinkerCAD or Google Sketchup instead. 

A programmatic tool is more useful if you're happy working with a programming language and want to be able to use elements repeatedly and automate your work. 

Constructive Solid Geometry and 2D Extrusion

OpenSCAD supports two ways to create 3D models.

  1. You can create models programatically by creating and arranging 3D geometrical shapes, this is called constructive solid geometry.
  2. You can start with a 2D design and stretch elements of the design upwards to give your design a 3D quality. This is called 2D extrusion

Both constructive solid geometry and 2D extrusion are useful techniques. I expect to use both. n this page we'll concentrate on using OpenSCAD for CSG. 

Tip: Hit F5 to compile in OpenSCAD

CSG Basics in OpenSCAD

This is a useful video for understanding the basics of CSG in OpenSCAD. I found it easier to watch this tutorial video to understand the basics than to read a long document. 

It covers:

  • cube and sphere creation modules
  • union, difference and intersection operations
  • translate, rotate and scale transformations

Your First OpenSCAD Model

Ready to create your first OpenSCAD model? Try this simple traffic cone type object from Allan Ecker. It's just built from three simple objects. 

Getting Started with OpenSCAD

OpenSCAD Beginner's Tutorial

A good next step now you understand the basics is the OpenSCAD Beginner's Tutorial. It covers some 3D modeling terminology and includes OpenSCAD examples. There's a door stopper design which is shown 3D printed in PLA plastic. 

OpenSCAD User Manual

Now you're ready for the OpenSCAD user manual. It's a good reference guide to look things up in once you've learnt the basics. 

A More Advanced OpenSCAD Example

This OpenSCAD video takes you through the development of the parts for a cool DogBot robot dog. This video introduces lots of OpenSCAD examples, explaining the operations as it goes. Definitely worth watching once you've mastered the basics. 

I'll be adding more OpenSCAD tutorials as I find useful ones and perhaps I'll create some of mine own as I get the hang of creating 3D models. 

Have fun and make some cool stuff. 

More 3D Printing

Buy 3D printer filament for RepRap, MakerBot and other 3D printers. ABS plastic filament and PLA.
Do you need some inspiration for stuff you can print on your 3D printer? Here's a list of 10 things you can make with a 3D printer.
An overview of the 3D printers that are available for home use. There are quite a few 3D printers on the market in 2012.
Updated: 04/15/2012, TerriRexson
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