Curated Code CAD

You like 3d modelling, but don't like using a GUI. Good for you! But which modeller do you use?? You'll have to figure that out for yourself, but here are some options.

Special mention

OpenScad

The rest of the packages are in alphabetical order, but OpenScad gets a special mention because it's the OG. Many of the projects below were inspired by OpenScad and is the most well-known choice. If you're new to code-cad this is the safest choice, even if only from tutorials and content perspective.

OpenCascade

It's a c++ library that a number the projects below wrap. OpenCascade uses a Boundary representation (B-rep) kernel, which is a powerful way representing solid geometry, this is a point of difference for some many of the other projects that use a polygon mesh.

Contributing

Know of a package that we missed? tell us with an issue or open up a PR. The description for each package is pretty minimal at the moment. If you'd like to add more detail to any of them please go ahead.

Here they are:

CadQuery

CadQuery is a Python library that wraps and extends OpenCascade. It has a philosophy of capturing design intent. The API has been designed to be as close as possible to how you’d describe the object to a human. An example of this is its ability to "select" parts of the model's geometry to run operations on, such as the following code that selects only the edges running along the Z-axis and fillets them.

result = cq.Workplane("XY" ).box(3, 3, 0.5).edges("|Z").fillet(0.125)

CascadeStudio

A javascript wrapper for OpenCascade that runs in the browser. (OpenCascade can run in the browser when compiled to web-assembly).

Curv

Curv is a programming language for creating art using mathematics. It’s a 2D and 3D geometric modelling tool that supports full colour, animation and 3D printing. It was inspired by OpenScad and shadertoy.

FreeCAD

FreeCad is a more traditional CAD package that supports python scripting, Both for modelling as well as controlling the FreeCAD GUI itself. Not only that it has a built in OpenScad workbench as well as an external CadQurey workbench, making it the best in this list at interoperability.

ImplicitCAD

Inspired by OpenScad with a very similar language, implemented in Haskell and includes the ability to write definitions in Haskell, instead of just OpenSCAD, and is part of an 'almost stack' of tools including ExplicitCAD (for a GUI), and HSlice (for an STL slicer).

JSCAD

Formerly OpenJsCad, also inspired by OpenScad. The project is close to a v2.0 release. Implemented in javascript allowing it to be modelled directly within a browser.

libfive

  • Repo
  • Community (mailing list)
  • Docs
  • License: Mozilla Public License 2.0 and GPL-2 or later

libfive is a software library and set of tools for solid modelling, especially suited for parametric and procedural design. lisp based language, (so (you (((((can expect ) lots of brakets))))).

pythonOCC

Python-based, Also uses OpenCascade.

RapCAD

Another project inspired by OpenScad. The author considers key differences to be procedural vs functional programming language style, (i.e variables can be modified) and the use of arbitrary precision arithmetic throughout (meaning there are no unexpected double/float rounding errors). There is a handy feature matrix between RapCAD, OpenScad and ImplicitCad.

SolidPython

Python-based library that wraps OpenScad, i.e. it outputs OpenScad code.

Node editors / other

Not quiet Code-Cad, but they do embody much of the same thought process.

BlocksCAD

Dynamo is, quite literally, what you make it. Working with Dynamo may include using the application, either in connection with other Autodesk software or not, engaging a Visual Programming process, or participating in a broad community of users and contributors. Works with FreeCad

Sverchok

Add-on for blender. Sverchok is a powerful parametric tool for architects, allowing geometry to be programmed visually with nodes.

Proprietary

ShapeScript

Mac App

Something I missed? Open an issue on Github

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