Appendix C. OpenSCAD

OpenSCAD is free and open source solid modeling software and is available for all major operating systems. OpenSCAD is excellent for creating configurable parts and parametric models, giving you complete control over the modeling process.

Unlike the other 3D drawing programs we have discussed, OpenSCAD doesn’t have a way to directly manipulate objects with the mouse. Instead you use the OpenSCAD language to describe an objects and then you render a 3D model from the description.

OpenSCAD is also very popular on Thingiverse, so it is likely that at some point you will want to modify an OpenSCAD file directly. Don’t worry if you’re not a programmer—you’ll be able to pick this stuff up in no time!

Go to Download and install OpenSCAD from the Download Releases section to follow along with the tutorials.

Before we get dive into OpenSCAD, here are a few principles and tips to make your experience easier:

General OpenSCAD Tips:

  • Units in OpenSCAD are in millimeters.
  • Each command in OpenSCAD should end with a semicolon.
  • Changing the view mode to show axes will help to orient you in the x, y, and z planes as you are working on your model. You can get to this setting from the View→Show Axes
  • To see a visual representation of the model you are creating with your code, go to the Design menu and select Compile or press F5.


If you are on a Mac laptop, you will need to use fn + F5 to compile the code and fn + F6 to compile and render.

  • When you are ...

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