I wanted to make something a few years ago, but not being trained in Computer Aided Design and wasn’t very good at perspective drawing at school, I tried and failed to create what I wanted in a CAD program, then I found OpenSCAD.
What is OpenSCAD?
OpenSCAD is the programmer’s 3D solid CAD modeller.
Unlike traditional CAD programs where you have to draw shapes on the screen, you use a simple language to program where you want the shapes to appear in your project.
Once you have an idea of what your project will look like, you can use union to combine a shape with another; difference to remove a shape from another; and intersection to give you what is left from removing two shapes or a combination of all three.
Additionally, 2D shapes can be extruded to form 3D shapes.
Thingiverse is a website repository of 3D objects called things. Each thing is a pre defined shape that you can import into OpenSCAD.
However, the things may not render correctly in OpenSCAD as Thingiverse doesn’t check to see if the things will print, so it might look good but when it comes to printing, it fails.
MyMiniFactory is different, they test print the designs uploaded which ensures that the design will work when you print it.
Pinshape is a slightly different concept, where you can choose whether you want to sell your designs on their marketplace.
GrabCAD is a repository of CAD designs for engineering professionals, designers and students to share their projects.