Some concerns over the use of OpenSCAD as a basis for Models@MWT

A few days ago, I watched an interesting new video from “Teaching Tech” on YouTube about CAD packages for use with hobbyist 3D printing ( Selecting a free 3D CAD option - 3D design for 3D printing pt1 - YouTube ). Based on reading the comments, my estimate is that probably less than 5% of the 3D printing community is using OpenSCAD, and that there is some motivation for users of FreeCAD and F360 to move to OnShape, which seems to have a growing following for a number of good reasons. Furthermore, since OnShape is a parametric solid modelling system, it has many of the same customization features as OpenSCAD, as well as some scripting support. That said, I haven’t tried OnShape yet, but the comments on the video were eye-opening in some sense. I think that’s a danger to be aware of for the future of Models@MWT

OpenSCAD’s model suits me very well, because I tend not to like fiddling with fussy 3D UI’s. However, I get that a lot of people are intimidated by the programming required by OpenSCAD and view it as a steep learning curve, which severely limits its acceptance for the average hobbyist. And even if you are somewhat familiar with languages like Python, you still need to change your mindset a bit because OpenSCAD is a strictly functional language without true variables.

So if Models@MWT continues with OpenSCAD, I think it will end up with a skewed set of users: a relatively small percentage of developers, and a larger percentage of users who only customize and download the resulting STL. Unlike OnShape (or even TinkerCAD) where more users will feel confident enough to modify an existing design or create their own from scratch, changing the mix of developers versus pure users. For me, designing new things is where the true fun of 3D printing is.

1 Like