Fusion 360 and OpenSCAD

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Fusion 360 and OpenSCAD

laird
I've been using OpenSCAD heavily within the e-NABLE project, to make prosthetics for people programmatically based on their measurements. http://webapp.e-nable.me/ if you want to see it in action. The project is in GitHub (https://github.com/e-nable/e-NABLE-Assembler). For context, e-NABLE is http://enablingthefuture.org/.

Several designers working on e-NABLE are working in Fusion 360, which has a powerful shared working model and supports parametric designs, and we've been exploring whether it might be possible for the two tools to integrate. For example, imagine that Fusion 360 could "publish to" OpenSCAD, preserving the parametric modeling logic so that it could be customized and rendered in OpenSCAD.

Andreas Bastian had a great conversation with the Fusion 360 project director the other day, and reported that it turns out he's a big openSCAD fan and is interested in developing an Fusion/openSCAD converter.  When asked if that was something that a contract developer or two could work on, he was receptive.

The next question is - are any big openSCADers who might be interested in working with the Fusion API to build a javascript->openSCAD converter?  The API is being released in another week or so and more thorough documentation will follow shortly.  This could be a pretty cool opportunity for makers and big players to collaborate to build some pretty powerful new infrastructure.   Please spread the word - once we have a couple interested developers, I can put together a more formal proposal on the Autodesk side.  

What do you think of the idea? Any suggestions? I'm pretty familiar with Solid Python, which is a Python to OpenSCAD mapping, and I'd imagine that a similar model might work from JavaScript.

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Re: Fusion 360 and OpenSCAD

kintel
Administrator
On Aug 25, 2014, at 14:22 PM, Laird Popkin <[hidden email]> wrote:

> The next question is - are any big openSCADers who might be interested in working with the Fusion API to build a javascript->openSCAD converter? What do you think of the idea? Any suggestions?

I’m not at all familiar with Fusion 360, but I like the idea.
I’m also doing a bunch of Javascript-based experiments with OpenSCAD these days, so I might be interested in such a project.
I would in any case be interested in being in the loop - having contact with a fan in the Autodesk system cannot hurt :)

 -Marius

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Re: Fusion 360 and OpenSCAD

Felipe Sanches
proprietary software.


On Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 3:43 PM, Marius Kintel <[hidden email]> wrote:
On Aug 25, 2014, at 14:22 PM, Laird Popkin <[hidden email]> wrote:

> The next question is - are any big openSCADers who might be interested in working with the Fusion API to build a javascript->openSCAD converter? What do you think of the idea? Any suggestions?

I’m not at all familiar with Fusion 360, but I like the idea.
I’m also doing a bunch of Javascript-based experiments with OpenSCAD these days, so I might be interested in such a project.
I would in any case be interested in being in the loop - having contact with a fan in the Autodesk system cannot hurt :)

 -Marius

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Re: Fusion 360 and OpenSCAD

Felipe Sanches
Andreas,

I do agree that there is potential for good partnerships between free software communities and technology companies. Actually I think it is very important to foster the free software economy by having more employed programmers producing truly-free software. That is, software that respects the freedoms of the users.

Unfortunatelly, the most common partnerships I've seen recently in the "maker movement" do not truly satisfy that expectation of freedom.

I'm not being negative here. I'm just stating that if companies want something from the software freedom movement, the companies must give something back as well. And the most valuable thing for free software activists is software freedom, which is exactly what offers of "gratis" licenses of proprietary software lack: they are free, but they lack freedom.

I'm pretty sure most people here in this mailing list believe that they deserve the right to tinker with the tools they use. So, while a gratis tool may sound generous, it blocks us from flipping it upside down and creating whatever crazy things we want to create with it. After all we're all makers/hackers/diy-minded people/etc..., right?

Some more insight on this issue is nicely addressed in this text, you may like checking out: http://www.gnu.org/education/edu-why.html

As a side note: I love INSTRUCTABLES, by the way! :-D

happy hacking,
Felipe Sanches



On Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 5:23 PM, Andreas Bastian <[hidden email]> wrote:
Marius,Laird, I'll work on getting a meeting with some folks from the Fusion dev team scheduled.  And to introduce myself as I'm not a regular on this list, I'm a 3D printing research scientist at Autodesk and long time e-NABLE member.

Felipe, while proprietary, Fusion is free for makers and educators (see here for our e-NABLE getting started page), which I think is a big step in terms of accessibility.  And not everything Autodesk makes is proprietary-- they're is going to be open sourcing parts of their Spark 3D printing platform as well as an OSHW 3D printer this fall.  These are small steps and I think that we should meet them with steps of our own.  I'm a big believer in the possibilities of makers collaborating with companies (bigger, organized groups of well-funded makers who operate within a different constraint space).  It's somewhat uncharted territory, but I think it's an opportunity to set the standards.  There's a lot we can learn from each other.  

Cheers, 
Andreas


On Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 12:39 PM, Felipe Sanches <[hidden email]> wrote:
proprietary software.


On Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 3:43 PM, Marius Kintel <[hidden email]> wrote:
On Aug 25, 2014, at 14:22 PM, Laird Popkin <[hidden email]> wrote:

> The next question is - are any big openSCADers who might be interested in working with the Fusion API to build a javascript->openSCAD converter? What do you think of the idea? Any suggestions?

I’m not at all familiar with Fusion 360, but I like the idea.
I’m also doing a bunch of Javascript-based experiments with OpenSCAD these days, so I might be interested in such a project.
I would in any case be interested in being in the loop - having contact with a fan in the Autodesk system cannot hurt :)

 -Marius

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tp3
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Re: Fusion 360 and OpenSCAD

tp3
Looking at the web site, I found "It is a relatively lightweight install (800 mb), runs on both Mac and Windows". Ahem, isn't that missing something important?

How is that collaboration supposed to work? In general I'd be interested in things that would help OpenSCAD.

Having a way to get the model source out of the cloud and into the open where people can look at it (sorry ;-) sounds like a good thing.
Right now, I can't see how real collaboration could work as I somehow feel that is supposed to become a one way transfer. But I guess it's easiest to wait for the actual release and see what the API and it's conditions look like.
-- Torsten
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Re: Fusion 360 and OpenSCAD

laird
Very cool to hear some interest.

To be clear, Fusion 360 is a proprietary commercial application, and I suspect that won't change. :-)

The question is - is there interest on the part of some OpenSCAD developers in helping make it easy for Fusion 360 to integrate with OpenSCAD.

The scenario that's most obvious to me is that people could model in Fusion 360 (it's a nice shared authoring GUI for CAD modeling) and then export OpenSCAD script representations for rendering using OpenSCAD. For example, Thingiverse Customizer, Youmagine, Solidoodles, etc. The advantage over exporting an STL/OBJ file would be that it could be parametric. And right now there's no standard/open way to express parametric designs, that I know of, so they're all tied to a desktop GUI app. So there's an opportunity for OpenSCAD to fill a big gap in the industry, separating parametric modeling from delivery.

Specific to the e-NABLE project (my primary goal), the advantage would be that there are many CAD modelers that like GUI tools and are comfortable in them, for doing the sorts of modeling that's required for prosthetics (which have lots of organic shapes), and I'd like to integrate their work into an OpenSCAD/web based app for delivery. And I can't run commercial GUI CAD modeling apps on the server.

How does it help OpenSCAD? It creates ways for people who prefer modeling GUI tools over code to create OpenSCAD content. And since many more people use modeling GUIs than code, that could expand OpenSCAD usage quite a bit. I'd hope that a Fusion-to-OpenSCAD tool could be open source, and could serve as a basis for other modeling tools' doing the same thing. Potentially OpenSCAD could become the open "publishing" format for getting parametric designs from modeling tools into delivery platforms.  Think of it similarly to how Postscript serves as a way for applications to express printed output - it's a real programming language, but most people use it indirectly, through apps and drivers.

Going the other way, reading OpenSCAD into Fusion 360 seems difficult, since OpenSCAD code can express almost anything, some of which might not be expressible within Fusion 360. For example, a recursive procedural definition might not be possible. Of course, OpenSCAD could generate geometry that could then be loaded into Fusion, but you can do that now via OBJ/STL.
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Re: Fusion 360 and OpenSCAD

Alan Cox
O> The question is - is there interest on the part of some OpenSCAD developers
> in helping make it easy for Fusion 360 to integrate with OpenSCAD.

I'm not sure its at all relevant. If you want to make Fusion output
OpenSCAD then you need to either modify Fusion 360 or write a convertor
app. It's all independant of OpenSCAD, and like any other convertor
should probably stay that way ?

Alan
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Re: Fusion 360 and OpenSCAD

laird
Agreed, this isn't a change to OpenSCAD itself. It's a query to the OpenSCAD list to see if anyone working with OpenSCAD is interested in helping with the integration.

On Tuesday, August 26, 2014, Alan Cox <[hidden email]> wrote:
O> The question is - is there interest on the part of some OpenSCAD developers
> in helping make it easy for Fusion 360 to integrate with OpenSCAD.

I'm not sure its at all relevant. If you want to make Fusion output
OpenSCAD then you need to either modify Fusion 360 or write a convertor
app. It's all independant of OpenSCAD, and like any other convertor
should probably stay that way ?

Alan

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Re: Fusion 360 and OpenSCAD

Felipe Sanches
I wonder how readable and reusable by humans the resulting SCAD code would be. I remember how bad automated HTML generation by some WYSIWYG tools used to be :-)


On Tue, Aug 26, 2014 at 11:37 AM, Laird Popkin <[hidden email]> wrote:
Agreed, this isn't a change to OpenSCAD itself. It's a query to the OpenSCAD list to see if anyone working with OpenSCAD is interested in helping with the integration.


On Tuesday, August 26, 2014, Alan Cox <[hidden email]> wrote:
O> The question is - is there interest on the part of some OpenSCAD developers
> in helping make it easy for Fusion 360 to integrate with OpenSCAD.

I'm not sure its at all relevant. If you want to make Fusion output
OpenSCAD then you need to either modify Fusion 360 or write a convertor
app. It's all independant of OpenSCAD, and like any other convertor
should probably stay that way ?

Alan

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Re: Fusion 360 and OpenSCAD

clothbot
The body of the resulting code doesn't need to be human-readable, only the wrapper "API" used to access and interact with the body.

See https://github.com/graphicsforge/io_mesh_openscad for one approach/example to getting OpenSCAD-compatible output, in this case from Blender.

Andrew.

On Aug 26, 2014, at 10:44 AM, Felipe Sanches <[hidden email]> wrote:

I wonder how readable and reusable by humans the resulting SCAD code would be. I remember how bad automated HTML generation by some WYSIWYG tools used to be :-)


On Tue, Aug 26, 2014 at 11:37 AM, Laird Popkin <[hidden email]> wrote:
Agreed, this isn't a change to OpenSCAD itself. It's a query to the OpenSCAD list to see if anyone working with OpenSCAD is interested in helping with the integration.


On Tuesday, August 26, 2014, Alan Cox <[hidden email]> wrote:
O> The question is - is there interest on the part of some OpenSCAD developers
> in helping make it easy for Fusion 360 to integrate with OpenSCAD.

I'm not sure its at all relevant. If you want to make Fusion output
OpenSCAD then you need to either modify Fusion 360 or write a convertor
app. It's all independant of OpenSCAD, and like any other convertor
should probably stay that way ?

Alan

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--

"The future is already here.  It's just not very evenly distributed" -- William Gibson

Me: http://clothbot.com/wiki/




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Re: Fusion 360 and OpenSCAD

G. Wade Johnson
On Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:46:29 -0400
Andrew Plumb <[hidden email]> wrote:

> The body of the resulting code doesn't need to be human-readable,
> only the wrapper "API" used to access and interact with the body.

While having generated code be readable is not necessary for
functionality, it can be useful for learning new techniques or
modifying generated code that's not quite right.

G. Wade

> See https://github.com/graphicsforge/io_mesh_openscad for one
> approach/example to getting OpenSCAD-compatible output, in this case
> from Blender.
>
> Andrew.
>
> On Aug 26, 2014, at 10:44 AM, Felipe Sanches <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > I wonder how readable and reusable by humans the resulting SCAD
> > code would be. I remember how bad automated HTML generation by some
> > WYSIWYG tools used to be :-)
> >
> >
> > On Tue, Aug 26, 2014 at 11:37 AM, Laird Popkin <[hidden email]>
> > wrote: Agreed, this isn't a change to OpenSCAD itself. It's a query
> > to the OpenSCAD list to see if anyone working with OpenSCAD is
> > interested in helping with the integration.
> >
> >
> > On Tuesday, August 26, 2014, Alan Cox <[hidden email]>
> > wrote:
> > O> The question is - is there interest on the part of some OpenSCAD
> > O> developers
> > > in helping make it easy for Fusion 360 to integrate with OpenSCAD.
> >
> > I'm not sure its at all relevant. If you want to make Fusion output
> > OpenSCAD then you need to either modify Fusion 360 or write a
> > convertor app. It's all independant of OpenSCAD, and like any other
> > convertor should probably stay that way ?
> >
> > Alan
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > OpenSCAD mailing list
> > [hidden email]
> > http://rocklinux.net/mailman/listinfo/openscad
> > http://openscad.org - https://flattr.com/thing/121566
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > OpenSCAD mailing list
> > [hidden email]
> > http://rocklinux.net/mailman/listinfo/openscad
> > http://openscad.org - https://flattr.com/thing/121566
>
> --
>
> "The future is already here.  It's just not very evenly distributed"
> -- William Gibson
>
> Me: http://clothbot.com/wiki/
>
>
>


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Re: Fusion 360 and OpenSCAD

laird
In reply to this post by clothbot
That mesh code is slick! Thanks for sharing it, Andrew!

I was also looking at Solid Python as an example, as I've used it for some projects. Its output is readable, in that it's nicely formatted, the names and so on are meaningful, etc., but the code is very "flat". That is, the logic is in the Python code, so the generated OpenSCAD code doesn't have logic, just the sequence of objects generated as the output of the logic. It reminded me of the kind of Postscript output by applications.

I'm hoping that with access to Fusion 360's API, it'll be possible to map the parametric relationships into variables and logic, so the generated OpenSCAD will be dynamic rather than static.
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Re: Fusion 360 and OpenSCAD

kintel
Administrator
On Aug 26, 2014, at 16:10 PM, laird <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> I'm hoping that with access to Fusion 360's API, it'll be possible to map
> the parametric relationships into variables and logic, so the generated
> OpenSCAD will be dynamic rather than static.
>
That would be cool. Hopefully the API exposes this.
This could also give us some input on what kind of primitives and operators we should add to OpenSCAD.

 -Marius

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Re: Fusion 360 and OpenSCAD

minuti
In reply to this post by G. Wade Johnson
G. Wade Johnson wrote
While having generated code be readable is not necessary for
functionality, it can be useful for learning new techniques or
modifying generated code that's not quite right.
Seconded, human-readable is really important. A polyhedron is valid SCAD, but there's often better ways to describe the shape that reveal more of the _how_ it was made, which is often more important than _what_ was made, especially if collaboration is a goal.