3D Printable Component Generators

OverTheTop

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In the meantime one of the guys in my group was just saying the other day he wished he had a guide to drill holes in tubes.

3D printing really opens up lots of possibilities for guides and jigging. I have used it on a few occasions really effectively. It is especially nice when you are trying to line up with a 3D printed part inside the airframe.

See here for an example: https://forum.ausrocketry.com/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=5324

and here also: https://forum.ausrocketry.com/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=5324&start=30

DrillGuideresize.JPG
 

Winston

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I'm going to use this thread to post the component generator software that I've developed in the past few years, starting with what I've just posted to Thingiverse:

CONFIGURABLE FIN CAN
My other model rocket component generators:
Model Rocket Transition Section Generator
Model Rocket Fin Can - Trapezoidal Fins - Configurable
Beautiful work! I missed these earlier because I don't come to this section often and came here today to ask a technique suggestion for the lowest mass smoothing method for 3D PLA prints which optimally might strengthen them also.
 

Winston

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The OpenSCAD Customizer is poorly documented and not easy to find. I started this because I came across it by accident after following a hint in a post on the OpenSCAD mail list.
Here are some other on-line OpenSCAD asset links:

OpenSCAD User Manual

https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/OpenSCAD_User_Manual

OpenSCAD CheatSheet

https://www.openscad.org/cheatsheet/

OpenSCAD keyboard shortcuts

https://github.com/openscad/openscad/wiki/Keyboard-Shortcuts

OpenSCAD home page

https://www.openscad.org/

https://github.com/openscad/openscad

OpenSCAD beginners tutorial

https://edutechwiki.unige.ch/en/OpenScad_beginners_tutorial
 

cwbullet

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I have been messing with the tool to make a fatboy style fin can. Just have difficulty getting the settings right.
 

vcp

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It's been a few months since I've done any OpenSCAD programming, so I thought I might get back into it with something simple:

CONFIGURABLE RAIL BUTTON STANDOFFS
Rail Button Standoff.JPG

As before, read the instructions in earlier posts on how to use the OpenSCAD Customizer, and, the attached file must be changed from the extension .TXT to .SCAD (scad file uploads aren't allowed here). Once you get past that, easy to use;

The Rail Button Standoff is defined by:

  • The diameter of the tube it conformally fits.
    • Common body tube sizes between BT20 and 98mm are available.
  • The overall height, above the surface of the body tube.
  • The diameter of the standoff base, at the surface of the body tube.
  • The diameter of the top of the standoff, i.e., at the base of the rail button.
  • The diameter of the drill/screw hole vertically through the center of the standoff.
 

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  • Button Standoff.TXT
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JohnCoker

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Wow, very nice work! That really shows off the benefit of OpenSCAD over more "drawing" based tools like Fusion 360.
 

vcp

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Well, it looks like I was premature with my rail button standoff post above. It turns out it was really easy to add an option to that to add a selectable aerodynamic tail to the standoff. This replaces the one above because with a button selection it turns into a conical frustrum standoff like above. WaLa...

CONFIGURABLE AERODYNAMIC RAIL BUTTON STANDOFFS

AeroButtonStandoff.JPG

As before, read the instructions in earlier posts on how to use the OpenSCAD Customizer, and, the attached file must be changed from the extension .TXT to .SCAD (scad file uploads aren't allowed here). Once you get past that, easy to use;

The Rail Button Standoff is defined by:
  • The diameter of the tube it conformally fits.
    • Common body tube sizes between BT20 and 98mm are available.
  • The overall height, above the surface of the body tube.
  • The diameter of the standoff base, at the surface of the body tube.
  • The diameter of the top of the standoff, i.e., at the base of the rail button.
  • The diameter of the drill/screw hole vertically through the center of the standoff.
  • A conical or aerodynamic standoff is selected by the AeroButton checkbox.
  • Depending upon the speed of your computer, you might want to start with a low smoothness level, like 60. Once you have the shape you want, increase the smoothness to 200 or more, but it might take ~30 seconds to render the final shape.
  • The AeroFactor setting determines the length of the 'tail'.
 

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  • Aero Button Standoff.txt
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vcp

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It looks like it's too late to delete the above standoff posts, but the following replaces them. Everything that they did is incorporated into this one. As before, read the instructions in earlier posts on how to use the OpenSCAD Customizer, and, the attached file must be changed from the extension .TXT to .SCAD (scad file uploads aren't allowed here). Once you get past that, easy to use;

This one adds a variable slanted aft deck, base extension to the tube, elliptical fore-aft base extension, and a rail button recess; all configurable of course.

CONFIGURABLE AERODYNAMIC RAIL BUTTON STANDOFFS

AeroRailButtonStandoffAdv.JPG

As before, read the instructions in earlier posts on how to use the OpenSCAD Customizer, and, the attached file must be changed from the extension .TXT to .SCAD (scad file uploads aren't allowed here). Once you get past that, easy to use;

The Rail Button Standoff is defined by:
  • The diameter of the tube it conformally fits.
    • Common body tube sizes between BT20 and 98mm are available.
  • The standoff height, above the surface of the body tube. (Note that this is the height at which the button sits, even if it is recessed.)
  • The diameter of the standoff base, at the surface of the body tube.
  • The diameter of the top of the standoff, i.e., at the base of the rail button.
  • The diameter of the drill/screw hole vertically through the center of the standoff.
  • Depending upon the speed of your computer, you might want to start with a low smoothness level, like 60. Once you have the shape you want, increase the smoothness to 200 or more, but it might take ~30 seconds to render the final shape.
  • A conical or aerodynamic standoff is selected by the AeroButton checkbox.
  • The AeroFactor setting determines the length of the 'tail'.
  • The AftSlant setting slants the 'deck' aft of the standoff downwards for a more aerodynamic shape. (I wish it could be rounded better, but, another time.)
  • The Standoff Base Extension extends the base of the standoff down to meet the tube, to avoid a vertical edge at the base. This does not affect the standoff height.
  • The Standoff Base Elliptical factor extends the base of the standoff fore and aft without increasing its width.
  • Rail Button Recess allows the base of the rail button to be recessed into the top of the standoff. Recess Diameter is the diameter of the cavity, which should be smaller than the top of the standoff.
  • Rail Button Recess Depth is how far the button is recessed into the top of the standoff. Note that the bottom of the recess is at the standoff height.
 

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  • Aero Button StandoffA.TXT
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vcp

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These Rail Button Backplate gadgets by Jack hydrazine turn out to be an excellent subject for the OpenSCAD Customizer. As usual, I only steal the best ideas, but I've added a few whistles and bells.

CONFIGURABLE INTERIOR RAIL BUTTON NUT BACKPLATES

backplate1.JPG


As before you must download and install a customizer enabled version of OpenSCAD and use it to open the attached file (after renaming the extension from .txt to .scad). Detailed instructions are in earlier posts in this thread and also on the body of the text file.

Features:
  • The plate can contain just a drill hole sized to be tapped or self-tapped with a screw, or, a nut-sized well that can be configured to fit either a press fitted or glued nut. The drill hole and nut sizes are totally configurable. Note that the Nut Diameter is measured from flat-to-flat. If only a drill hole is desired, set the Nut Diameter to zero.
  • The overall thickness of the plate is determined by the Nut Thickness and the Nut Standoff Distance. Use these to adjust thickness even if the Nut Diameter is zero and all you want are drill holes.
  • The slope of the backplate leading from the aft edge to the nut, can be adjusted as required to create a slope that won't interfere with the recovery system deployment. In addition, since a gradual slope might produce a thin, hard to print and flush glue edge, the trailing edge can be trimmed to eliminate this edge.
  • The forward slope leading up to the nut can be adjusted independently, since it is unlikely to require a gradual slope like the trailing edge. This also makes it possible to use this edge as the print base, so little or no support will be required.
  • The overall width can also be trimmed with a slope.
  • By specifying a 'drill spacing' greater than zero, two in-line nuts (or drills) can be placed on the same backplate.
  • Input parameters are echoed in the console window.

Drill only example
backplate2.JPG

Tandem nut example
backplate3.JPG



 

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  • Config Backplate.txt
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vcp

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While working on the above widget, I noticed some small errors on the body tube diameters on the earlier CONFIGURABLE AERODYNAMIC RAIL BUTTON STANDOFFS. Probably not even enough to notice in a print, but I have corrected and attached the new file here:

 

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  • Aero Button StandoffB.txt
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Charles_McG

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@vcp , Gary, if you ever return to the FinCan Customizer, I'd love the ability to specify a boat tail in the tube dimension portion. Even a simple forward diameter, aft diameter and the height to begin a simple conical taper would be great.

(I'm working an a 1/5.25 Terrier Malemute, and the Malemute has a modest boattail. But given the size of my printer, I may slice off a single fin and print it halvsies, Estes Nike Smoke style.)
 

Bruce

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I have not been able to get the "Customizer" option to be show up in OpenSCAD.

Gary's notes in the FinCan5.scad file about the OpenSCAD Cusotmizer said to select Edit / Preferences / Features, but as you can see in the screenshot, the Preferences window does not have the Features tab. I have the Development Snapshots Version 2019. Perhaps the Customizer option has been taken of the most recent version of OpenSCAD? If so, is anyone is going to be able to use the Configurable files unless they have the old OpenSCAD with the Customizer? Or am I on the wrong track here?

Can you tell me how to get a version of OpenSCAD with the Customizer?

Thanks!
 

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Wallace

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I believe you're on the right track. The customizable code is written by the designer with certain parmeters you can change. Try deleteting exsisting dimensions and replacing them with your desired numbers. Alt f6 will compile..
 

Bruce

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Thank you for the workaround Wallace. I'll try doing it that way.

But still, doesn't everyone else have the version of OpenSCAD with the Customizer? Where can I download that version?

Thanks!

Bruce
 

Wallace

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OpenScad is a bit different in the fact that you don't use the graphic for design. It's only there to show a "preview".
 

Bruce

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Thanks for the clarification. But what I am really looking for is to get a version of OpenSCAD with the Customizer.

Does anyone have the Windows 64 bit installer files for an old version of OpenSCAD with the Customizer?

Cheers!

Bruce
 

Wallace

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I'm not the guy you wnat to ask anything computer related question awise, but if I can work in OpenScad probably anyone can
 

vcp

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I have not been able to get the "Customizer" option to be show up in OpenSCAD.

Gary's notes in the FinCan5.scad file about the OpenSCAD Cusotmizer said to select Edit / Preferences / Features, but as you can see in the screenshot, the Preferences window does not have the Features tab. I have the Development Snapshots Version 2019. Perhaps the Customizer option has been taken of the most recent version of OpenSCAD? If so, is anyone is going to be able to use the Configurable files unless they have the old OpenSCAD with the Customizer? Or am I on the wrong track here?

Can you tell me how to get a version of OpenSCAD with the Customizer?

Thanks!


Hi Bruce, I'm sorry you're still having trouble, but I think I see what's going on. The file FinCan5.scad is not one of mine - it comes from this Thingiverse thing: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:363188 - which is someone else's file that is not written to use the Customizer. It looks like you have the OpenSCAD Customizer set up well enough, you just need to open a Customizer-enabled file. Get the file that is attached to this post: https://www.rocketryforum.com/threads/3d-printable-component-generators.148308/#post-1825437 and I think you'll have better luck.
 

Bruce

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I downloaded the 2019.05 version of OpenSCAD and the Customizer was there. Thank you Bill!

There is still no "Features" tab in Edit / Preferences as mentioned in the documentation, but that's no problem.

Good deal!
 

jqavins

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Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!

Can objects created with these customizers be saved as "regular" OpenSCAD objects for further manipulation? Combining a nose cone with no shoulder and a transition with no forward shoulder to make a complex nose cone, for example. Or adding a canopy to a nose cone, a rail button to a fin can, etc. One can't expect you to do everything imaginable, but these objects could be building blocks for those who have some OpenSCAD experience (like me) without their having to gain a whole lot more.
 

vcp

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Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!

Can objects created with these customizers be saved as "regular" OpenSCAD objects for further manipulation? Combining a nose cone with no shoulder and a transition with no forward shoulder to make a complex nose cone, for example. Or adding a canopy to a nose cone, a rail button to a fin can, etc. One can't expect you to do everything imaginable, but these objects could be building blocks for those who have some OpenSCAD experience (like me) without their having to gain a whole lot more.

That's a very good question, and the simple answer is 'no'. However, there are several interesting prospects in that line. OpenSCAD objects can only be saved as their .scad file, which is just the code text, or as an .stl file (the printable object)(or a couple of other similar object formats). But those printable formats have no 'intelligence', they are just arrays of points. There are editors for .stl files (3D Coat is one, I believe), but they're not the most straightforward things to use.

You can take individual .stl files and combine them in your printer slicer software, but that's not exactly what you're looking for either.

But you're thinking about easy-to-use "building blocks". There might be something. Over in my Nike-Ajax CAD Build thread, I'm big on using separate OpenSCAD files for each component. Then they're all combined at the top level in one master file, that 'calls' all of the other component files. (Actually multiple levels of components and sub-components.) I can change one of the fin files, and that change propagates all the way up to the top level model. The deal here then would be to make up all those customizable component building blocks, and a customizable upper level that combines them. This will require some thought. It may be beyond OpenSCAD (or beyond -my- level of OpenSCAD), but might be possible in one of the other languages that 'use' OpenSCAD: OpenJSCAD (Java), OpenPSCAD (Python) or something. We shall think on this.
 

kalsow

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Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!

Can objects created with these customizers be saved as "regular" OpenSCAD objects for further manipulation? Combining a nose cone with no shoulder and a transition with no forward shoulder to make a complex nose cone, for example. Or adding a canopy to a nose cone, a rail button to a fin can, etc. One can't expect you to do everything imaginable, but these objects could be building blocks for those who have some OpenSCAD experience (like me) without their having to gain a whole lot more.

You can export one OpenSCAD project as an STL file and then import it into another project. I believe you can manipulate the imported object (translate, rotate, scale), but I don't know whether more complicated operations (e.g intersection, difference, hull, ...) can be used.

https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/OpenSCAD_User_Manual/Importing_Geometry#import
 

jqavins

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That's a very good question, and the simple answer is 'no'. However, there are several interesting prospects in that line. OpenSCAD objects can only be saved as their .scad file, which is just the code text...

But you're thinking about easy-to-use "building blocks". There might be something. Over in my Nike-Ajax CAD Build thread, I'm big on using separate OpenSCAD files for each component. Then they're all combined at the top level in one master file, that 'calls' all of the other component files. (Actually multiple levels of components and sub-components.)...
Yeah, I'm aware of how they're saved, but I should have been more clear. The short version of my question would have been "Can the results from the customizers be exported as .scad files?" Then I would use them either by copy-paste of the text or, the better way, #include.

So I guess that's what your simple answer of "no" applies to. Can such a feature be added, or would that be a whole new ballgame?
 

vcp

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Yes, I forgot to mention the ability to import .stl files into OpenSCAD. It works, but only if the .stl is 'well-behaved'. Often .stl's from other sources, and sometimes from OpenSCAD, have problems that make the import fail. Sometimes these can be fixed by running the .stl through a 'repair' program like Meshmixer. I've had mixed luck with this. If it comes in, you can usually subtract and add to it, scale it, etc.

As far as saving an OpenSCAD Customizer object, AFAIK it works like this: When you open a Customizer OpenSCAD file, the object is initially created with the default variable values that are written into the code. When you change those variable values with the Customizer tools, you are changing those values in memory only - they are not rewritten to the code of the file. You can save the current instance of your object as an .stl, but If you save the .scad file, and re-open it, it will revert to the original values written in the code.

However, there is some facility to save the Customized variables. At the top of the Customizer window there are some buttons to save, select, and reset 'presets'. I've fiddled with this only a little bit, and I think I described it a little in the instructions of one of my Configurable files. I think this can be used to save an object's customized variables into a file (I forget the file extension), and recover it. That could recover that customized object, but only back into the original OpenSCAD Customizer .scad file that created it originally. I don't think that could be a vehicle to pass objects between files.
 
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