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What software is best for the basest of n00bs when it comes to 3D parts creation?

I have a heavy math background and know how to create explicit functions of volume, surface area, center of mass, etc. Ideally, I'd like a program that uses those strengths but I realize that most n00bs have a crippling math phobia so I'm not holding my breath.

I tried freeCAD once and made some headway but the next time I turned my computer on, it refused to open. It was just a weakling netbook that I don't even have in my possession anymore but the computer I'm currently using is rather slow and doesn't seem to have much memory left either, so I still need something lightweight.

tl;dr: Seeking a free, lightweight program to create .stl files that is good for n00bs that are not afraid of math.

1 Answer 1

The software I began with was Tinkercad, it is a fully online solution that is very beginner friendly. The interface is trivial to use and there's a 15 minutes tutorial that guides you over everything the software has to offer to the common user.

Here is a screenshot of the interface and a part I made using the basic tools : <a href=enter image description here">

It works the following way : you are provided with a dozen basic shapes (cube, sphere, etc...) and you create your model using boolean combinations of those shapes and translation, rotation and scaling. That's for the base.

Then there is a very large collection of more complex shapes provided by the community (screw, stairs, tree) that tend to be very useful to create specific things and a very important aspect is that those shape usually have some parameter you can adjust at the creation of the object (say the thickness of the trunk and the number of branches of your tree).

The last increment of complexity is that those community objects are actually made using JavaScript (with their own API, it's not related to openjscad) and you can create your own objects by using their interactive JavaScript interface. That's when your programming and mathematical knowledge will be required.

As a small PS note: my personal taste is, depending on the part I want to make, to use either Tinkercad, Freecad or Openscad