A winter Tux created in . Work in progress. I'm aiming to get a nice 3dprintable model.


I finally printed the winter Tux that I created earlier. It wasn't an easy print but I'm happy with the little guy. If someone else wants to have a go at it here is the .obj: my.hidrive.com/lnk/bBiICAJ2

or wants the Dust3D source file:

@ericbuijs very cute, great work! And thanks for pointing out Dust3D - I hadn't heard of that before.

@fedops It's one of those little FLOSS gems. I use it to create low poly models for 3dprinting but it's apparently also useful to create 3dmodels for games and such. The interface is not for everyone but I love it because of the simplicity.

@ericbuijs I like using OpenScad but it takes a long time to develop models. Too long for things that don't really need to be parametric. Been bouncing back and forth between Blender and FreeCad. I somewhat dislike the FC interface. So now there's another option... [sigh]

@fedops For 3dcad I started using Solvespace some years ago. It's easy to get into and more than enough for most of my cad needs. I use OpenSCAD mainly as a visualization tool for my math projects and FreeCAD if need more features than Solvespace can offer.

Now for organic shapes. I never dared to touch Blender it's too intimidating for me and I suppose that that's where Dust3D fits in.

@ericbuijs nice. :-) What blows my mind is I see people working months on end on extremely detailed models in Fusion360 without sparing a single thought what happens when they invariably shut down the free for private use model.

As nice a software as it may be (how would I know?) - I cannot fathom sinking so much effort into something only to have my work taken away from me practically from the get-go.

@fedops Very generally speaking. People tend not to care about these problems because they don't 'feel' the downside right now. When I'm not mistaken, Autodesk recently changed their EULA at the expense of the users but I bet only a small percentage started searching for options elsewhere. Most users keep looking at all the bells and whistles that Autodesk shows them with Fusion360. It's a pity really.

@fedops @ericbuijs
Just for the sake of discussion, anything in particular you don't like about FreeCAD's UI?

There used to be two other FOSS CAD programs based on Open Cascade: HeeksCAD/HeeksCNC and NaroCAD (not to be confused with NanoCAD which is an AutoCAD clone). HeeksCAD was really easy to use, with some push/pull capacity like Sketchup. At some point it had more features than FreeCAD. Along the way development seemed to stop, contributors to the CNC component migrated to FreeCAD. (I just checked, apparently Dan Heeks is working on a 2nd generation software he named "PyCAM", not focused as much on CAD apparently)

As for NaroCAD, its authors chose to build it on Microsoft .NET which IMHO was a terrible mistake. Anyway, FreeCAD had already such a head start, I don't know what happened, but they too stopped development a few years ago.

@normand my main gripe is the un-intuitiveness and general, err, "quaintness" of the interface. I've also experienced some instabilities which may have been specific to Wayland. If I understand correctly the software itself is built on the OpenCascade CAD kernel, so maybe it would be possible to build a more 2020s UI on top of the great work underneath. @ericbuijs

FreeCAD isn't simply a layer over OCC, it's much more than that. I believe there is well over 1 million lines of code. It meshes OCC with a huge number of third-party libraries (Qt, Coin...) as well as fully original code. OCC isn't parametric, this is all FreeCAD.

There have been projects to change the FreeCAD UI. But this would require a huge effort that cannot be easily done by a group of volunteers in their spare time. Not to mention that developing good UIs isn't easy. And nobody seems to agree on what a good UI would be...

That being said, realthunder's branch may bring much needed improvements in that regard, hopefully once 0.20 is released.
@ericbuijs @fedops
Here's a link to a forum topic discussing an add-on that changes the traditional menu and toolbars to a Microsoft style ribbon bar.


@normand oh and just to be clear - I'm not criticizing the FreeCAD developers at all. I am thankful for all the work that's getting done. Being an occassional (non-full time) user I guess I'm just stuck at a point on the learning curve. @ericbuijs

But of trivia concerning the issue of intuitiveness. In the early 2000s, I was still a Windows user at home, and I would download (😉) different CAD programs to test them. I briefly tested one named Solid Edge, couldn't accomplish anything in half an hour of fiddling with it and soon uninstalled it. 3 or 4 years later I got the task from my boss to recommend a parametric CAD program. After testing 3 different ones over a period of months, I recommended... The very same software I had found unintuitive years before.
@fedops @ericbuijs
I'm not sure if you have prior experience with other parametric CAD systems? The fact is, CAD is not simple, and the parametric/history-based, as well as constraint-based sketching make the learning curve a lot more steeper. Having used and tested 6 different parametric CAD programs (including FC), I would say none of them is very intuitive. The commercial proprietary CAD packages all require a 30-hour training course that only covers the basics.

What made the difference for me with Solid Edge is that the local reseller sent me a technician for a half-day teaching session. Then it kind of clicked. What helped is that I had learned a dreadful parametric CAD program years before (Mechanical Desktop in 1998). Once you've learned one, the knowledge is pretty much transferable to similar programs.

@normand @ericbuijs I'm fine with the parametric model and constraints. That's one of the reasons I like OpenScad - I find it easier to define relationships between objects that way rather than moving around in 3D space with a pointer. That's what I always hated about Sketchup.

I guess my main gripe with FC is that the user interface is getting in the way more than being helpful. That being said what I've done so far with Blender 2.8+ (so the new interface) I like that a lot better.

@fedops @ericbuijs
Bit of, not "but of", Effing Android autocorrect "butting in" once again. 🤬
> oh and just to be clear - I'm not criticizing the FreeCAD developers at all. I am thankful for all the work that's getting done.

Don't worry, that's how I interpreted it. And to be honest, even though I've been a staunch supporter of FreeCAD since 2010, I've never been shy in criticizing it. 😄 As long as it's an opinion backed with serious and thoughtful arguments, I'm ok with it. It's nowhere near perfect, nor complete. But it's amazing work all the same, considering it's mostly developed by volunteers in their spare time.
@fedops @ericbuijs
One thing that I regret is that the project founder vanished a few years ago, and with him the project lost a clear leader with a vision of where to bring the project. Whenever there wasn't consensus on a design approach, when he spoke his piece that was that. 😉

@Tay0 That's odd. Both Cura and Meshlab have no problem with the file. Meshlab doesn't find any non-manifold edges. Next time I'll convert it to stl before uploading.

@ericbuijs I tried Cura and Slice3r. Cura gave me nothing at all. Slice3r gave me what you saw. I tried the Dust3D file and exported an object. Same thing. I wonder what I'm doing wrong.🤦‍♂️🤷‍♂️

@Tay0 What version of Cura are you using? I currently have 4.17.

@ericbuijs @Tay0 In Cura 4.8.0 I see a sort of shadow of the object but that's all, and it says it's autoscaled the object to 10000% of original size

@gbrnt For the Tux I used the OSX version of Dust3D. To check I just used Dust3D on MXLinux, created an .obj and loaded in Cura. Again no problem. Strange.


@ericbuijs @gbrnt
I'll check my Cura version tonight. Farm/ranch life is getting in the way of where I really want to be right now.

@gbrnt @ericbuijs
Opening the obj crashed PrusaSlicer 2.3-rc2 twice, then it refused to launch again. Gave me the motivation to upgrade to 2.3 final, but I didn't dare try with the file again.

The obj opens fine in FreeCAD, but when I used the "Evaluate and Repair" mesh tool on it, FreeCAD immediately crashed! There's something really odd with that file.
@gbrnt @ericbuijs
Now I could get the Evaluate & Repair tool to work. It found a series of collisions. But after rotating the model in the 3D view for 2-3 seconds, FreeCAD crashed again. Didn't think of launching FC from the terminal to watch for error messages. Did that for the second try, but no crash so far. It finds self-intersections, whatever that means. FreeCAD is pretty good at analyzing meshes, but frankly sucks at repairing them. Its idea of repair is usually to delete the offending faces which completely hoses the mesh.

Image caption: a partial screenshot of the FreeCAD program showing a low poly 3D model of a penguin with a snow cap. The right sidebar titled Evaluate_Repair_Mesh shows statistics on the mesh (number of faces/edges/points), and a list of analysis tools with "Analyse" and "Repair" buttons where most of the latter are greyed out. The "self-intersections" entry is checked, and the "Repair" button is enabled.

@ericbuijs @gbrnt Yeah, I did click on the Repair button after posting. As I surmised, the self-intersecting faces were all deleted, resulting on a tux that is more Swiss cheese than penguin.

I know Meshlab is more efficient in mesh repair, but I’ve never understood how to use that program.

@ericbuijs @gbrnt I exported the OBJ to STL from FreeCAD. Now PrusaSlicer could open it, but warned me that it detected it was in inch units, and suggested to convert it to metric. I clicked yes.

I checked back again the original mesh in FreeCAD: reported dimensions are 0.54 x 0.89 x 1.14 which seems to confirm the object is in inches.

@ericbuijs @gbrnt After scaling it 200% to 57 mm high in PrusaSlicer and slicing the STL, I’m warming up my 3D printer and giving it a go. Looks like there’s no choice but to enable support too. I did that only once on a part years ago, and damn, was it hard to remove. Hope slicers have become better at it since then. 😄

@ericbuijs @gbrnt
Well, 10 layers in, I know I'll have a hard time removing that support structure. I now remember modelling myself support structures in FreeCAD years ago to make sure it could be removed more easily...

@normand I tweaked the support in Cura a little. I had the same worry that I couldn't remove the support but luckily that wasn't a problem.


@ericbuijs @gbrnt
Here's the download link to the STL file for anyone who's interested. I scaled it up 25.4x to make it metric sized, which ends up with these dimensions: 13.82 x 22.56 x 28.91 mm. (I decided to print it twice bigger than that)

(200 KB)

@normand Thanks for the .stl. I just downloaded it and it looks fine in Meshlab. @gbrnt

@normand Yes, Meshlab doesn't have the most user friendly interface. All these filters. I use it as a viewer and for some additional task like removing non-manifold faces, subdivision, smoothing and low poly generation. @gbrnt

@gbrnt @ericbuijs
Can you scale it down to 100% after it's loaded?

@Tay0 Yep, if I set Zscale=20mm it shows up! Weirdly the scaling box then shows that it's 0mm tall. Not sure what's up but it seems happy to slice and print it after that.

I'm happy to have discovered you. Very interesting follow.

@ericbuijs I'm using 4.8.0. I figured out it is importing into Cura but microscopically small. I right clicked on the bed, selected all models(It's the only one) then scaled it to 5000% and I have a workable model! Slic3r can't deal with it. I don't know what's going on there.

@ericbuijs Currently printing on the Anycubic Predator standing up instead of on its back with a brim and tree support. I'll follow up with progress.

@ericbuijs Bowden tube connector let go in the middle of the print so I have to start over.😭



I like yours better, but I took it as a challenge to try making a similar Tux using #OpenSCAD

I hope that this personal challenge to make a similar version is acceptable to you.

I have not tried a print yet.


@Algot It's more than acceptable. I think it's very nice.

This reminds me to give you the link to the cults3d page of Justin Lin. Like you he's doing a lot of creative stuff with OpenSCAD.


Thank you.

That is some really amazing work!

@ericbuijs @normand

Your print looks better than mine!

I'm continuing to tweak things, as you might suspect. Your print of my 02 design looks better than mine did. I think it was also too small for showing details well.

I've moved up to version 04 which has been added to the post site. runeman.org/3d/wintertux/


Very cool design. It looks like only the beak and the hat pom-pom would require support.

I'm very tempted to take up the challenge and make my own version in #FreeCAD! But I already have so many #3dprinting projects on my list, and I'm not having progress on any of them! 😄
You have a Lulzbot Mini? Nice. Does it have a 0.5 mm nozzle? At what layer height do you usually print?


I am comfortable using the beginner settings for my designs. The nozzle is the one which came from the factory.

I did manage to break the build plate about a year ago. The directions for replacing it were so good, I had no trouble making the repair. Beyond that, I have bee happy to putter along with PLA printing.



Checking online, I see that the beginner settings are for the standard 0.5mm nozzle.


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