Just a quick post about a fun, exciting, really cool new thing that Makerbot added to Thingiverse: Customizer.
Customizer is a user-friendly web interface into a world of 3D objects created via programming language and not visually like how “normal” 3D modelling works. You see, software exists that let you code objects with high precision, using functions with easily understood names like cube() and sphere(), but also combining these objects in useful ways, like adding, subtracting, etc. These functions allow a developer to write scripts that create objects that can be modified and shaped by simply changing variables – this is sometimes called parameterized design.
One such application is called OpenSCAD and, as the name implies, is open-source software and is free! What’s cool about Customizer is that you can write scripts in OpenSCAD, upload the script to Thingiverse, and automagically have sliders, input fields, and other user-friendly UI items alongside a real-time, interactive preview — giving users the easy ability to use your script to make objects.
While nothing game-changing, it is a good example of how many common things can be reduced to code, and a new way of thinking about allowing end-users to customize objects for their needs and tastes.
You can run my script in Customizer, as well as download the script to look at the code and run locally, here: Door Knob and Drawer Pull Maker.