Yet another programmatic CAD system: AngelCAD

Based on AngelScript (which is a C++ patterned scripting tool popular with game developers):

it was recently discussed on Hacker News:

Performance seems to be something of an advantage.

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I need to find something besides Fusion 360. Maybe this it is or maybe someday … :smiley:

EDIT: This ain’t it, but I see it is similar to OPENSCAD.

What sort of tool are you looking for?

List of options at:

I’m sure I won’t be able to wait forever, but I’ve been waiting / looking for something that is the equivalent to EasyDraw 9 (“EazyDraw has been the trail blazing App for vector drawing on macOS.”) for 3D. For me Fusion 360 (besides being AD) is built for too wide a user base. I got lost when I really only wanted to cut wood. :smiley:

Have you considered

I’m really proficient with SketchUp (the free version before free went online-only.) The limitations for exporting are severely limited, and I’m not willing to devote any resources to their company. I’m not a fan of the subscription model for one thing.

TinkerCAD has been my only hope for moving back to Fusion 360, by getting my mind wrapped back around the 3D model. However, its another AD market capturing software.

Sigh. I suppose I’ll give in eventually. I really don’t want to invest in Vectric’s Aspire for 3D although it truly is one-of-a-kind in its niche.

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In that case, my suggestions would be FreeCAD or BRL-CAD — I doubt you’d find AngelCAD workable if you’re not inclined to program.

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Amazing what you’ve done with that wiki, Will. Absolutely amazing. +1 :smiley:

PS. I’m truly involved in programming, but (for instance) programming a kids toy robot in Blockly is so much more pertinent than programming it in Python. :smiley: At this moment in time, I’m too busy with the wood grain to see the geometry! :smiley:

Also, while you’re focused, how do you compare FreeCad or BRL-CAD with Blender? I know that most folks will say that Blender takes a “lot of getting used to”, but to me that is the norm with CAD.

The reason I ask is that one hobby I’m trying to develop with my grandson is animation and Blender gets involved with the planning of that project. Perhaps there’s an additional advantage in investing the time with Blender. Anyway, that’s what I’m thinking about while pondering the bubbles in my beer. :smiley:

FreeCAD and BRL-CAD are CAD tools. They’re built for producing designs of mechanical components, so they have lots of tools for making sure that dimensions are accurate, the correct angles are used and things like that. They’re very focused on coming up with very well-specified designs (i.e. every edge has a particular length, every hole has a particular diameter and depth). They’re usually not very big on aesthetic things like textures.

Blender is a creative tool for 3D art and animation. It’s not concerned with dimensions at all. It’s concerned with allowing artists to get their creations out of their head and into the computer as quickly as possible. It has tools for things like sculpting, animation and UV maps and is very much focused on aesthetics. Rather than specify a particular distance between two things, the artist will just put them where they “feel right”. There are lots of tools for material properties like textures and shaders.

If you care about mechanical things like different parts fitting together, holes being particular diameters and features being particular distances from each other, use a CAD tool like FreeCAD or BRL-CAD.

If you don’t care about those things and care about more artistic things like making a 3D sculpture, use Blender.


I find Blockly in the form of BlockSCAD:

really nice for working up designs.

(I just wish it supported the projection() command and so forth)

@CrookedWoodTex As @Moded1952 noted, FreeCAD and BRL-CAD are CAD, Blender is free-form modeling/sculpting — there is a “BlenderCAD” add-in, but the only 3D tools I’ve really been successful with have been OpenSCAD (and its variants) and Carbide Create.

I wish I could find a tool which:

  • had the precision of a CAD system
  • nice support for free-form curves like Blender
  • had an option for scripting/programming which was interchangeable with, and interacted with the graphical front-end
  • has a graphical front-end which makes sense
  • isn’t license encumbered or impossibly expensive

Unfortunately, there isn’t such a system even for 2D (though apparently Tikz and Tikzeditor are close).

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Doesn’t FreeCAD satisfy most of those criteria?

Yes, but I haven’t been as successful learning/using it as I’d like — had high hopes for the CADquery Workbench, but it didn’t work out.

It was kind of disconcerting when the best way to interact w/ calculations was a spreadsheet:

It’s a shame that importing an OpenSCAD file doesn’t instantiate the customizer feature and so forth.