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Codeblocks first impression: no substitute for shape generators

Codeblocks is interesting and a great teaching tool.

However, it isn't a substitute for shape generators, for these reasons:

  • - No parametric inputs
  • - You're restricted to building from canned primitives rather than defining your own surface facets.

Codeblocks appear useful for doing repetitive operations with basic shapes. However, there are tons of other basic shapes not included in Tinkercad that aren't feasible to create with Tinkercad's available shapes, and therefore also aren't feasible in codeblocks. Here are basic shapes that I have needed in the past few months, for which I wrote shape generators for most of them:

  • - coils and spirals with custom cross-sections, including screw threads for 3D printing, 3D printable torsion springs, propeller blades
  • - airfoils and other extrusions with complex mathematical curve profiles
  • - rotations of custom curves (e.g. ogive rocket nose cones)
  • - objects that have smooth cross-section transitions along their length
  • - involute gears
  • - special hole shapes for chamfers and fillets (you can fake it with basic shapes but a parametric chamfer is easier)
  • - shapes that can be smoothly twisted, bent, or otherwise transformed based on parametric inputs

If shape generators are to be retired (and as of today I am unable to create any new ones or edit my old ones), then I suggest that either the library of primitive shapes needs to be expanded to do common things for 3D printing (threads, springs, gears), or enhance codeblocks to let me control how a surface is actually shaped without having to build it from the existing basic shapes.

At the very least, keep the shape generators working and functional for those of us who work with them, until codeblocks gets to the point where they can replace shape generators. Right now there's a huge gap between what shape generators can do and what codeblocks can do.

 

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