Why Use OpenSCAD?

There are many different 3d modelling and Computer Aided Design (CAD) packages out there. OpenSCAD has recently become very popular with the DIY and Open Source communities. Here's why:

First, OpenSCAD is 100% free. It can be installed on Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux. You never have to be without it! Also, it's always super cheap (Free).

Second, OpenSCAD is great for making simple to medium complexity mechanical parts. Do you want to make an adapter to fit some widget? Maybe you have an idea for an invention, or want to make something to help you organize your desk or hold your iPad. These are all situations where OpenSCAD is a great choice. However, it helps to be aware of OpenSCAD's limitations. OpenSCAD is great for making mechanical parts. It is a poor choice for producing 3d animated movies. It's also a poor choice for organic contoured shapes like people and animals. There are other Free and Open Source tools available, like Blender, that are a better choice in those situations.

Third, OpenSCAD is Green! We all have little knobs, latches, and parts that break from time to time. Often, when a small part breaks on a larger machine, we throw away the entire machine and buy a new one. This is wasteful! With OpenSCAD, you can design a replacement part in minutes, print it on your Desktop 3D Printer, and save your money for things that matter. (Like ice cream)

Congratulations! You successfully scratched your own itch by making a replacement part for your broken device. You saved money and stayed green. But wait, it gets better! Now you can upload your OpenSCAD design to CreateThis.com. If your part broke, it probably broke for thousands of other people too, right? Upload your OpenSCAD design to CreateThis.com. Now other people will search for your part on CreateThis.com. They'll buy your design file, and 3D Print a replacement part, in minutes! You just saved thousands of people time, because they won't have to design a replacement part themselves. Instead, they just bought your design file! You scratched your own itch, saved valuable time, and made a profit. That's the power of CreateThis.com.

It's funny, as I write this, I realize my partner bought a new food processor yesterday. A light goes off in my head. "What made you buy that new food processor?" I ask. "Oh, I had a food processor, but the latch on the lid broke," she says, showing me the broken part.

Broken_food_processor_lid_tab_web

In the photo above, I zoomed way in so you can see the tiny broken tab. It looks huge, but the tab itself is only half an inch, or 14mm wide. The whole lid fits in the palm of my hand, and I have small hands.

Wait... what happened here? Let's get this straight. She went out and bought a whole new food processor just because a tiny raised tab on a small plastic lid broke! Why do we do that? It doesn't make sense! If she knew how to use OpenSCAD (or had mentioned it to me), we could have designed a new lid in OpenSCAD, printed it on our Desktop 3d Printer and saved money by staying Green! What's more, we could have made a profit by saving other people time and money and sold our design file to thousands of people on CreateThis.com. Ugh. We really missed out. This sort of thing happens all the time. Don't let it happen to you. Learn OpenSCAD. Be Creative! Make a Profit.

There you have it. OpenSCAD is great for making small mechanical parts in a jiffy. Now, enough of the sales pitch, let's get started!