Beyond parametric models

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Beyond parametric models

FrancescoF
TLDR

I am working on a project to add a few ideas to existing OpenSCAD models. Basically, it tries to find the correct set of parameters for an object based on physical constraints, like “make my component weigh less than 100 g“.

It is far from being done, but there is a demo online ( free, no registration needed) at sol75.com. Any suggestion/comment will help! It is still in closed beta, but the password is “openscad”.

Motivation/project philosophy
The main motivation is that finding the optimal set of parameters for a scad model is hard. The design space is often very large and it may be riddled with internal constraints (like “parameter d_out must be bigger than d_in otherwise there will be no material around a hole”). So my proposed solution is to move from setting parameters to setting requirements. Instead of specifying the component shape, specify its function.

In my opinion, working with requirements is less demanding for the “end-user” (someone who wants to use the part, but is not the author). It is much easier to tell the software “Customize this box so that it holds a 5 kg object on top” rather than figuring out how thick the walls need to be to withstand 5kg (and then figure out how to enforce it using the geometrical parameters available).

I also think that this improves re-usability. When I want to change a parameter in a complex scad part, I better make sure that doing so won’t break the geometry; it is up to me to use values that make sense. On the other hand, if I set a requirement, it is SOL75 (the software) responsibility to validate it and to choose parameters that satisfy it (or reject it entirely if it doesn’t make sense, but explaining why).  

I wrote a similar post on reddit/openscad and got a lot of great ideas about features to add. I write here to ask if anyone has tried this before or if you see any issue with my argument. This approach feels easier to me, but it might be just me…

To be clear, this is not a new scad language. The models are standard openscad files. My software simply sets the values of the parameters.


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Re: Beyond parametric models

Terrypin
Hi Francesco,

Sounds good to me!

I'm neither programmer nor IT techie, so anything that might increase OpenSCAD's accessibility with an emphasis on practical requirements would be welcomed. Needless to say, I'm therefore a Customizer fan (in OpenSCAD, not the spasmodically unreliable Thingiverse).

Terry

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Re: Beyond parametric models

FrancescoF
Thanks for the input!
I am trying to keep ease of use in mind, but it is easy to forget about it... I guess making things hard to use comes natural to me!

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