OpenSCAD synergy

All this talk of RapCAD hasn’t gone un-noticed by the OpenSCAD maintainer(s). Recently on the OpenSCAD mailing list Marius Kintel has stepped forward and stated that he is now the core maintainer of OpenSCAD. He has also outlined his goals which are similar in essence to my own. Opening up development and try to build a better developer community, as well as hosting better forums/mailing lists bugtrackers and source code management. Based on this and other feedback, I have decided to change my approach somewhat. It doesn’t make all that much sense to duplicate the work of a project that is being actively developed and Marius has agreed that an OpenSCAD evaluation library could benefit multiple projects currently under development. So I will be offering any contributions I can that help OpenSCAD take this direction, and focus on developing RapCAD as a front-end thin wrapper application around this library.

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CloudsCAD synergy

Another motivation for writing RapCAD is to provide a complimentary back end tool for CloudsCAD. As I understand, a number of features have been requested by Tony Buser and the CloudsCAD community and which the OpenSCAD community has been unable to address. I am hoping to build a stronger community by setting up rapcad.org and hosting state of the art bugtracking and source code management tools.

Announcing RapCAD

RapCAD is a new script based CAD IDE especially for RepRap printers. It will be a written from scratch based mostly on OpenSCAD and hopefully scad scripts will just work inside RapCAD. Ultimately however I would like to add new features to the script language, so that RapCAD files will be a superset of scad files. The IDE will contain project management tools, to allow more than one script to be grouped into a project. Another planned feature is a fully syntax hi-lighted script editor, as well as a 3D visualisation window reminiscent of OpenSCAD. The IDE will also contain gcode visualisation and generation tools as can be found in the esteemed Repsnapper. I am hoping to reap the benefits of combining these two applications into one and allow them to share code, for example slice and dice might be performed using CGAL. But more generally my motivation for doing this is because I would like a one stop app that can be both the design tool, and printing tool without having to go through the intermediary step of having to convert to and from STL. Support for importing from existing STL files will still be available facilitated by an import_stl() function in the script or by some other means.

What to do when you get bored…

When I get bored of waiting for someone else to do something I sometimes end up having a go at doing it myself. The hobbed insert in my previous post is no exception

Below is my setup using a drill stand. The 12mm round brass bar is held using a U-Shaped wooden clamp that mounts some 6901ZZ bearings, with an ID of 12mm and an OD of 24mm. I created some dimples on the 12mm brass bar with a punch to create an interference fit in the bearings. This stops things sliding around whilst doing the hobbing. One advantage of the drill stand (which is normally a disadvantage) is that it can swivel around the support pillar. So I was able to push the M3.5 tap closer and closer to the brass bar by pulling the handle to clockwise.

The next problem is how to drill a hole perfectly central down the middle for an m4 tap, again without a lathe. In the meantime the Conrad M4 Inserts have arrived in the worlds most ridiculously over sized box: