There are some cat toys at the house that are particularly popular with the local residents. They are simple hollow spheres with cut-out slots. They are great for kitties to kick around — small and light. After staring at one for a few minutes, piecing out the geometry, I realized that this would make a great instructional design for an introduction to 3D CAD modeling using simple geometric shapes and boolean transforms. If you look at the photo, the cat toy on the left is the original, the one in the middle is the 3D model, and the one on the right came from uploading the model into a 3D printer.
Before we begin, you will need two things:
1. A copy of OpenSCAD
. This is “free” in every sense of the word — it costs nothing AND is an Open Source project that people from around the globe contribute to and use. You can get it for Mac, Windows, or Linux.
2. A web browser tab open to the OpenSCAD User Manual
. OpenSCAD works like a programming language and although I’ll step you through the process, it is always good to have a language reference handy.