3D Printing

Laurent software Tutorials and 3D models

Modelize your first 3D shape with openSCAD #1

You decide to learn 3D modeling and start to print your first 3D shape this introduction course is made for you.
This tutorial will allow you to create simple 3D shapes for 3D printing with using openSCAD a free open source software. I tried to do a tutorial the simple as possible with a lot of pictures to be understandable by everyone even beginners in computer science or 3D printing.
I personally like to use OpenSCAD because this language is very simple, cross platform and easy to share: it’s not heavy it’s only text. But most of all because it allows me to create simple shapes in a very low amount of time.

First of all go check the link bellow to download openSCAD : http://www.openscad.org/downloads.html



  1. Create your first shapes
    • Cube
    • Cylinder
    • Sphere
    • Exercise 1
  2. Moving and changing our objects
    • Translations
    • Rotations
    • Scale
    • Exercise 2
  3. Combining objects (Union, hull and difference)
    • Union
    • Difference
    • Hull
    • Exercise 3
  4. Good practice
    • Commentary
    • Indentation
    • Global variables
    • colors
  5. Modules
  6. Other functionalities
    • Text
    • minkowski
  7. Final Exercises
  8. Conclusion
  9. Correction



For more help and details on syntax and functionalities don’t hesitate to check the CheatSheet that you can access directly in the Help menu in the control panel or at this link : http://www.openscad.org/cheatsheet/index.html?version=2015.03 .



1. Create your first shapes

This is the view where your code will be transformed into a 3D shape. The most important thing for you to know is that we have 3 perpendicular axis (x,y,z) which will allow us to give the proper dimension to our shapes in every direction.



a. Cube

Start to create a cube syntax is: cube([width,depth,height]) or cube([x,y,z])



Automatically certain shape like the cube will appear in [0;0]. If you want it to be centered, you just need to add center = true.

cube([10,10,10], center = true);


b. Cylinder

For a cylinder the syntax is cylinder(h,r|d,center)



As you can see our cylinder is not perfect his shape is a bit cubic it’s why I encourage you to add $fn = number; at the beginning of your code. $fn or face number will make your shapes smoother but be carful don’t put a to high number overwise the render before exporting your shape is gone be very slow.


$fn = 100;



You can also do a cone with a cylinder

$fn = 100;



with $fn                                                                    without $fn


c. Sphere

For a sphere the syntax is sphere(radius)

$fn = 100;



with $fn                                                                    without $fn


d. Exercise 1

Go on the CheatSheet and try all the different shapes. Try to do a rectangle and change the different query of the cylinder to understand how it works.


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