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OpenSCAD is a software for creating solid 3D CAD objects. It is free software
and available for Linux/UNIX, MS Windows and Mac OS X.
Unlike most free software for creating 3D models (such as the famous
application Blender) it does not focus on the artistic aspects of 3D modelling
but instead on the CAD aspects. Thus it might be the application you are
looking for when you are planning to create 3D models of machine parts but
pretty sure is not what you are looking for when you are more interested in
creating computer-animated movies.
OpenSCAD is not an interactive modeller. Instead it is something like a
3D-compiler that reads in a script file that describes the object and renders
the 3D model from this script file (see examples below). This gives you (the
designer) full control over the modelling process and enables you to easily
change any step in the modelling process or make designs that are defined by
configurable parameters.
OpenSCAD provides two main modelling techniques: First there is constructive
solid geometry (aka CSG) and second there is extrusion of 2D outlines. As data
exchange format format for this 2D outlines Autocad DXF files are used. In
addition to 2D paths for extrusion it is also possible to read design parametes
from DXF files. Besides DXF files OpenSCAD can read and create 3D models in the
STL and OFF file formats.
To build OpenSCAD, you need some libraries and tools. The version
numbers in brackets specify the versions which have been used for
development. Other versions may or may not work as well..
* Qt4 (4.4 - 4.6):
* CGAL (3.5.x):
* boost (1.35 - 1.41, required by CGAL)
* cmake (2.6.x, required by CGAL)
* OpenCSG (1.3.0):
* GLEW (bundled with OpenCSG)
* Eigen2 (2.0.11)
* GCC C++ Compiler (4.0, 4.2, 4.3.1):
* Bison (2.4):
* Flex (2.5.35):
First, run 'qmake' from Qt4 to generate a Makefile. On some systems you need to
run 'qmake4', 'qmake-qt4' or something alike to run the qt4 version of the tool.
Then run make. Finally you might run 'make install' as root or simply copy the
'openscad' binary ( on Mac OS X) to the bin directory of your choice.
Have a look at the OpenSCAD Homepage ( for documentation.
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