Infrastructure for solid modeling
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Infrastructure for solid modeling.

(formerly known as mkeeter/ao)


libfive is a framework for solid modeling using functional representations.

It includes several layers, ranging from infrastructure to GUI:

  • The libfive shared library contains functions to build, manipulate, and render f-reps. A great deal of work has gone into the meshing algorithm, which produces watertight, manifold, hierarchical, feature-preserving triangle meshes. The library is written in C++ and exposes a C API in libfive.h.
  • libfive-guile is a Guile binding to libfive. It exposes a high-level API to construct shapes, and includes a standard library of shapes, transforms, and CSG operations.
  • Studio is a GUI application in the style of OpenSCAD. It wraps libfive-guile and allows for live-coding of solid models. The interface also includes direct modeling, where the user can push and pull on the model's surface to change variables in the script.

Compiling from source

The full system (libfive + libfive-guile + Studio) has been successfully compiled on Mac and Linux.

The libfive kernel builds on MSVC, and should also build with MinGW (though this is untested).


Qt and Guile are optional; if they aren't present, then the Guile bindings and Studio will not be included in the build (and cmake will print a message to that effect).


With homebrew installed, run

brew install cmake pkg-config eigen libpng qt guile boost

Then, from the libfive folder, run something like:

mkdir build
cd build
cmake -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=/usr/local/Cellar/qt5/5.7.0  ..

(adjust based on your Qt installation, and consider using ninja for faster builds.


Ubuntu 18.04 or later should have all dependencies available through the package manager

sudo apt-get install cmake pkg-config libeigen3-dev libpng-dev libboost-all-dev qtbase5-dev guile-2.2-dev 

Ubuntu releases before 18.04 do not provide guile-2.2-dev, so omit that from the above package install command. To build guile 2.2.3 from source, run

sudo apt-get install libgmp-dev libltdl-dev libunistring-dev libgc-dev libffi-dev pkg-config
tar -xf guile-2.2.3.tar.gz
cd guile-2.2.3
make -j4
sudo make install

Ubuntu releases before 17.04 do not have high enough Qt versions, so also omit qtbase5-dev from the above package install command. To install Qt 5.7 or later, use the Qt provided Online Installer: The installer will prompt for the install path, which defaults to $HOME/Qt.

Building is similar as on Mac: clone the repository, then run something like

mkdir build
cd build
cmake -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=<Qt Install Path>/5.7/gcc_64 ..
make -j4

(adjusting the Qt path to your install location)

Windows (MSVC)

With Visual Studio 2017 installed, run from libfive folder

git clone
vcpkg\vcpkg install eigen3:x86-windows-static boost:x86-windows-static libpng:x86-windows-static
md build
cd build
cmake -DCMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE="..\vcpkg\scripts\buildsystems\vcpkg.cmake" -DVCPKG_TARGET_TRIPLET="x86-windows-static" -G "Visual Studio 15 2017" ..

Now open build\libfiv.sln and build the solution. Check that libfive-test runs correctly.


(c) 2015-2018 Matthew Keeter

Different layers of this project are released under different licenses:

  • The libfive dynamic library is released under the MPL, version 2
  • libfive-guile and Studio are released under the GPL, version 2 or later.

Contact me to discuss custom development, integration, or commercial support.

Projects using libfive

  • Tovero: A 3D modeling system for Common Lisp
  • Inspekt3d: Lightweight pure-Guile viewer
  • Unpublished Stanza bindings (email for details)