Modular CAD for model buildings?

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alex_farlie
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Modular CAD for model buildings?

Post by alex_farlie » Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:51 pm

Off-topic as this is more about a 'wishlist' for simplistic CAD/3D software than anything specfic.
A few days I rediscovered 2 an ancient program for constructing with 'modular brick' construction systems.

The program was BlockCAD:- http://blockcad.net/ (There was a technical explanation of the file format used: http://blockcad.net/technical.htm. )

This was later extended for a different program called Ankercad - http://blockcad.net/ankercad.htm (the help file giving a fuller explanation of the format.)

Would anyone here have the competence to write a 'modeller' for a format like this? The original Blockcad was in Delphi (but doesn't seem to have been updated recently), and included a simplistic modeller for the format. There are also some noted limitations in the current version.

The thought was also that by processing the format (or extending it to include information on how to composite faces when 'unfolding' the described mesh for 2D printout.) it would be possible to have a 'model buildings' creator/modeller for the sort of "Designer Villages" replacement I was desirous of elsewhere, different from "Printware" but inspired by it.

In theory the interface could be adapted for various other forms of design using 'box' shaped elements... ( my thinking at one point was IKEA kitchen units. :lol: )

scruss
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Re: Modular CAD for model buildings?

Post by scruss » Thu Feb 28, 2019 1:31 am

You can export BlockCAD → LDraw, and from there any number of 3d formats

Unfortunately, the block data will include all the internal parts that you don't want. This makes rendering/unfolding hard.

Both FreeCAD and Blender have papercraft modules.

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flibble
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Re: Modular CAD for model buildings?

Post by flibble » Thu Feb 28, 2019 2:19 am

I'm curious about this sort of thing as well. Currently I just draw them in a vector drawing package (inkscape) and work out the folds and tabs myself.

alex_farlie
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Re: Modular CAD for model buildings?

Post by alex_farlie » Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:13 am

scruss wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 1:31 am
You can export BlockCAD → LDraw, and from there any number of 3d formats

Unfortunately, the block data will include all the internal parts that you don't want. This makes rendering/unfolding hard.
That was why I was asking if there was interest in this sort of thing, in case someone was interested in writing a new modeller.
Both FreeCAD and Blender have papercraft modules.
Do you have a link for the respective add-ons ? :D
Last edited by alex_farlie on Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

scruss
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Re: Modular CAD for model buildings?

Post by scruss » Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:26 pm

alex_farlie wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:13 am
Both FreeCAD and Blender have papercraft modules.
Do you have a link for the respective add-ons ? :D
I've only seen them in passing. Neither of them are my jam, so I haven't dug deeper.

I did just find out about DXF2papercraft which seems much more clever than the last link I posted. It's a bit of a fiddly workflow for me:

OpenSCADstlMeshLab3D dxfDXF2papercraft2D dxfQCAD2D dxf (clean)Inkscapesvg

and it made this from a simple dodecahedron:
dodecahedron.png
dodecahedron net made by DXF2papercraft
I'm sure there are commercial solutions, but those aren't for me.

alex_farlie
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Re: Modular CAD for model buildings?

Post by alex_farlie » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:12 pm

scruss wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:26 pm
alex_farlie wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:13 am
Both FreeCAD and Blender have papercraft modules.
Do you have a link for the respective add-ons ? :D
I've only seen them in passing. Neither of them are my jam, so I haven't dug deeper.

I did just find out about DXF2papercraft which seems much more clever than the last link I posted. It's a bit of a fiddly workflow for me:

OpenSCADstlMeshLab3D dxfDXF2papercraft2D dxfQCAD2D dxf (clean)Inkscapesvg

and it made this from a simple dodecahedron:
dodecahedron.png
I'm sure there are commercial solutions, but those aren't for me.
Open source is like this for somethings, long tool chains to get the right formats for each tool :roll:

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Re: Modular CAD for model buildings?

Post by scruss » Sat Mar 02, 2019 4:58 pm

True, but it's more to do with DXF being possibly the worst-defined format on the planet. There are competing open-source libraries for handling it - all of which are barely interoperable - there's an "open" consortium that's very much closed and used to be very good at suing its users. So when I see DXF output from a program, I has a sad.

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