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A parametric CAD scripting framework based on PythonOCC
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What is CadQuery

CadQuery is an intuitive, easy-to-use Python module for building parametric 3D CAD models. Using CadQuery, you can write short, simple scripts that produce high quality CAD models. It is easy to make many different objects using a single script that can be customized.

CadQuery is often compared to OpenSCAD. Like OpenSCAD, CadQuery is an open-source, script based, parametric model generator. However, CadQuery stands out in many ways and has several key advantages:

  1. The scripts use a standard programming language, Python, and thus can benefit from the associated infrastructure. This includes many standard libraries and IDEs.
  2. CadQuery's CAD kernel OpenCascade is much more powerful than CGAL. Features supported natively by OCC include NURBS, splines, surface sewing, STL repair, STEP import/export, and other complex operations, in addition to the standard CSG operations supported by CGAL
  3. Ability to import/export STEP and the ability to begin with a STEP model, created in a CAD package, and then add parametric features. This is possible in OpenSCAD using STL, but STL is a lossy format.
  4. CadQuery scripts require less code to create most objects, because it is possible to locate features based on the position of other features, workplanes, vertices, etc.
  5. CadQuery scripts can build STL, STEP, and AMF faster than OpenSCAD.

Key features

  • Build 3D models with scripts that are as close as possible to how you would describe the object to a human.
  • Create parametric models that can be very easily customized by end users.
  • Output high quality (loss-less) CAD formats like STEP in addition to STL and AMF.
  • Provide a non-proprietary, plain text model format that can be edited and executed with only a web browser.
  • Offer advanced modeling capabilities such as fillets, curvelinear extrudes, parametric curves and lofts.

Why this fork

The original version of CadQuery was built on the FreeCAD API. This was great because it allowed for fast development and easy cross-platform capability. However, we eventually started reaching the limits of the API for some advanced operations and selectors. This 2.0 version of CadQuery is based on Python-OCC, which is a Python wrapper around the OpenCASCADE kernel. This gives us a great deal more control and flexibility, at the expense of some simplicity and having to handle the cross-platform aspects of deployment ourselves. We believe this is a worthwhile trade-off to allow CadQuery to continue to grow and expand in the future.

Getting started

It is currently possible to use CadQuery for your own projects in 3 different ways:

The easiest way to install CadQuery and its dependencies is using conda:

conda install -c conda-forge -c cadquery cadquery=2

For those who are interested, the conda-packages repository contains build information, packages and modifications for CadQuery's conda channel.

CQ-editor GUI

CQ-editor is an IDE that allows users to edit CadQuery model scripts in a GUI environment. It includes features such as:

  • A graphical debugger that allows you to step through your scripts.
  • A CadQuery stack inspector.
  • Export to various formats, including STEP and STL, directly from the menu.

The installation instructions for CQ-editor can be found here.

CQ editor screenshot


CadQuery supports Jupyter notebook out of the box using the jupyter-cadquery extension created by @bernhard-42:

CadQuery Jupyter extension screenshot


CadQuery was built to be used as a Python library without any GUI. This makes it great for use cases such as integration into servers, or creating scientific and engineering scripts. Use Anaconda/Miniconda to install CadQuery, and then add import cadquery to the top of your Python scripts.

conda install -c conda-forge -c cadquery cadquery=2

Getting help

You can find the full CadQuery documentation at

We also have a Google Group to make it easy to get help from other CadQuery users. We want you to feel welcome and encourage you to join the group and introduce yourself. We would also love to hear what you are doing with CadQuery.

Projects using CadQuery

Here are just a few examples of how CadQuery is being used.

Resin Mold for Cable Repair

Thanks to @hyOzd ( Altu Technology ) for this example.

Resin mold example Resin mold being machined

Generation of KiCAD Component Files

Thanks to @easyw for this example from the kicad-3d-models-in-freecad project.

Circuit board generated in KiCAD

3D Printed Resin Mold

Thanks to @eddieliberato for this example.

3D printed resin mold 3D printed resin mold


CadQuery is licensed under the terms of the Apache Public License, version 2.0.


Contributions from the community are welcome and appreciated.

You do not need to be a software developer to have a big impact on this project. Contributions can take many forms including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Writing and improving documentation
  • Triaging bugs
  • Submitting bugs and feature requests
  • Creating tutorial videos and blog posts
  • Helping other users get started and solve problems
  • Telling others about this project
  • Helping with translations and internationalization
  • Helping with accessibility
  • Contributing bug fixes and new features

It is asked that all contributions to this project be made in a respectful and considerate way. Please use the Python Community Code of Conduct's guidelines as a reference.

How to Report a Bug

When filing a bug report issue, please be sure to answer these questions:

  1. What version of the software are you running?
  2. What operating system are you running the software on?
  3. What are the steps to reproduce the bug?

How to Suggest a Feature or Enhancement

If you find yourself wishing for a feature that does not exist, you are probably not alone. There are bound to be others out there with similar needs. Open an issue which describes the feature you would like to see, why you need it, and how it should work.

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