Fitted box design generator underway

The wiki page has been updated with some photos and the Carbide Create source files for this posted to:


Reworked this in Blockscad3D:

(go to the editor, download the XML from: import it, and experiment)

Or, use the Customizer in OpenSCAD:

I’ll probably get it posted to Thingiverse presently, then will start in on the vectors (starting with lualatex and METAPOST) and then try to work up a TPL (Tool Path Language) file which will cut it out automatically.

If anyone has any thoughts or feedback I’d be grateful.


For the round box, adding a divider provides an interesting chance to create some visual interest, adding an “S” shape, rather than a simple line:

Unfortunately, that implementation does not properly preview the effect of cutting the design with a rounded endmill.

Adjusting the design for that requires that one work up the modeling for a tomoe/comma shape, which may then be sub-divided into a circle and an arbelos.


We start with a round box, 40mm in diameter:

It has a wall thickness of 6.35mm, and the lip/rabbet are 3.175mm in diameter, and we assume a 1/8" endmill will be used.

To get a reasonable curve, and placement of the resulting circles, we start and end one-half the diameter outside the inner area of the box:

Which results in a divider shape:

which describes two tomoe/comma shapes.

Removing a circle from one leaves an arbelos:

so we see that the two pockets of the box may be cut by removing two tomoe/comma shapes, which are each made up of a circle and an arbelos.

The arbelos is defined by 3 circles:

Okay, the basic rectangular generator is ready for testing:


and you’ll want the JSON to have a preset named “export”:

Then download:

(you’ll also need: )

If you run the .tex file it will make a PDF:

If you run the file it will make the SVGs:




Next is working up a way to indicate how deep each pocket is by mapping fill colour to a black tint.

Then we’ll work on automated toolpaths using TPL.

I’ll be presenting this at TUG2019:

and hope to have the preprint up presently.

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Once I have an end-to-end work-flow, I’ll see what can be done on the front-end — I’ve removed changing units from the OpenSCAD customizer since it was so clunky — I believe I can use OpenSCAD’s external editor support to use a custom front-end, either LiveCode or TCL/Tk (the latter is made more attractive by Drakon)

One the bright side, it seems as if documenting all this will look nice:

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Making progress:


Will they capture videos of the presentations at TUG2019 ? It would be great if I could watch your talk.

They have in the (recent) past (unfortunately, for a long while they didn’t, which is tragic — there’s a great photo of Prof. Hermann Zapf at a green chalkboard with a lovely calligraphic alphabet written on it for which there is unfortunately no matching video).

If there is one (which there should be), I’ll post it.

Here’s a video of a presentation which I reference in mine:


This is now up on cutrocket:

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Just in time for the school year!

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I’m presenting today, but got to hang out with one of my favourite authors:

For those who aren’t familiar with The Art of Computer Programming, that’s Dr. Donald Knuth:


As a former SW developer, I’m so jealous right now. Enjoy TUG !

Got him to sign books which I’m giving as gifts:

  • 3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated for my sister
  • Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About for my brother-in-law

Also had Selected Papers on Fun and Games (Lecture Notes) which was intended as a gift for my son, but gave it to one of the presenters so he could get it signed and have his girlfriend take a photo of Knuth’s signing it for him — he’ll have to make do with my signed copy of Digital Typography and the reward check I got for finding an error and a point of improvement in it:

Need to find another error so I can get an account at

Next year’s conference is at RIT — not sure if Dr. Knuth will attend or no though.

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Obviously TUG 2020 didn’t happen.

Revisiting this again.

BlockSCAD project is at:

Here’s a slightly tweaked OpenSCAD file:

Design into 3D_ Pencil (1.2 KB)

and a Carbide Create file:

Design into 3D_ Pencil Box.c2d (196.6 KB)

(depending on workholding that may need to be adjusted to have tabs)

Written up at:

I’ll have to rework the TeX code to support the new JSON file (the .c2d file was made by importing as exported DXF), but this will make the 8th project for the book, and I’ve a quick variation which I’ll be repurposing as the 9th, then I’ll just have to do one more and finish the book.

A variation of this which was worked out a while back was using characters from a font for the dividers in a round box (because it was kind of trying programming some of the variations, or because it’s tedious re-generating and re-assigning toolpaths, take your pick).

Here’s the font: (7.2 KB)

It works when placed in the Carbide 3D font directory (Help | About | Open Data Directory) — I doubt anyone would want to install it.

Here’s the file:

designinto3dboxfittedround3incustomizable.c2d (89.9 KB)

Just load the font, select the center divider, then choose the font tool and replace the number with the number of dividers you want.

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