[OpenSCAD] STL without render?

bsuter ben.suter at gmail.com
Wed Jun 1 09:27:41 EDT 2016

Thank you both for your feedback and input!

nophead wrote
> No you can only save an image from the preview. The geometry hasn't been
> calculated at the point, just a picture of it using graphic rendering
> tricks.

Aha, so the GPU did all the hard work of tessellating, etc. but we can't
"recapture" that? Interesting how fast the GPU preview works (< 1 sec)
compared to how long the render takes (2.3 hours).

Three questions:

1. Are there any other tools like OpenSCAD that I could try, that also allow
declarative description of 3D surfaces using cylinder and sphere primitives
together with geometric transformations? Maybe tools that use the GPU or
multiple cores for the "render" step?

2. I'd very much appreciate any tips or suggestions for alternatives: I
don't need lighting, color, textures or such, I just want to describe the
geometry using tapered cylinders and spheres, and then have the software
convert this to a surface model (e.g. tessellate) suitable for 3D printing
(e.g. STL, OBJ, VRML).

3. Sticking with OpenSCAD, is it better to have a "flat" or "hierarchical"
scene graph?

bsuter wrote
>> PS: Currently my scene consists of a few thousand individual cylinders
>> and spheres, each with its own translation and rotation relative to
>> the origin. However, each of these segments naturally falls into a
>> geometrical hierarchy - so alternatively I could represent the scene
>> as a hierarchy of rotations and translations of each child segment
>> relative to its parent. Is there reason to believe that the
>> hierarchical representation (with few root nodes) would render faster?

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