3 min read
When I'm not coding, I like to spend time building stuff with my hands - I mean real, physical stuffs. I'm certainly not a fine woodworker but I enjoy spending time in my garage and put a few pieces of wood together and make something out of it.
So far I've build two play tables for my kids, a mallet, a stool, and a roman workbench, and all of that with little to no plan. I've been lucky and never really got into trouble by lack of planning, but with the next projects I have in mind, I feel like I need to design a little bit beforehand just to be sure I'm not doing anything stupid.
The problem? I'm really bad at designing, and it's even worst when 3D is involved. One of the woodworker I follow on YouTube, Steve Ramsey, often says he uses Sketchup to plan his projects before going into his shop, so of course I tried it and failed it. I'm just not the graphical type, and I hate using a mouse on top of that - I don't even own one anymore.
Until a few days ago, where I stumble upon OpenSCAD, which seem to have been created for people just like me : OpenSCAD, as the name implies, is a CAD (Computer-aided design) program, but instead of using your mouse to move 3D objects on an plan, you use your keyboard and code your way out of it.
Of course I knew this was for me, so after installing it on my computer i ran
openscad and read the doc but only a few minutes in, i felt the frustration growing inside me : vim has spoiled me, and writing in anything other than vim feels like a physical pain.
Fortunatelly, vim truely is awesome, and i managed to do exactly what i wanted to mimic from the OpenSCAD IDE : exporting a graphical version of my model as soon as i save the
scad file and opening it in
feh as soon as I open a
Here's how I did it :
" Compile openscad image on save
autocmd BufWritePost *.scad :silent !openscad -o %:r.png %
" Automatically open png version of a scad file with feh on opening
autocmd BufRead *.scad :silent !feh %:r.png&
If you're looking for a syntax highlightling plugin, you might find this one usefull : sirtaj/vim-openscad
Now I'm planning on building a shelf - once again for the little ones - and this is what i came up with so far. It's not much, but it made me realize that what I had in mind wasn't exactly realistic or aesthetic.
For those interrested, the code is available on my GitHub.
I'd suggest you have a look at Rex Krueger's Woodworking for Human serie as well. The approach is different but the goal is the same : getting people into woodworking without having them spending a ton of money to make something.