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Build123d is a python-based, parametric, boundary representation (BREP) modeling framework for 2D and 3D CAD. It’s built on the Open Cascade geometric kernel and allows for the creation of complex models using a simple and intuitive python syntax. Build123d can be used to create models for 3D printing, CNC machining, laser cutting, and other manufacturing processes. Models can be exported to a wide variety of popular CAD tools such as FreeCAD and SolidWorks.

Build123d could be considered as an evolution of CadQuery where the somewhat restrictive Fluent API (method chaining) is replaced with stateful context managers - e.g. with blocks - thus enabling the full python toolbox: for loops, references to objects, object sorting and filtering, etc.


build123d uses the standard python context manager - e.g. the with statement often used when working with files - as a builder of the object under construction. Once the object is complete it can be extracted from the builders and used in other ways: for example exported as a STEP file or used in an Assembly. There are three builders available:

  • BuildLine: a builder of one dimensional objects - those with the property of length but not of area or volume - typically used to create complex lines used in sketches or paths.

  • BuildSketch: a builder of planar two dimensional objects - those with the property of area but not of volume - typically used to create 2D drawings that are extruded into 3D parts.

  • BuildPart: a builder of three dimensional objects - those with the property of volume - used to create individual parts.

The three builders work together in a hierarchy as follows:

with BuildPart() as my_part:
    with BuildSketch() as my_sketch:
        with BuildLine() as my_line:

where my_line will be added to my_sketch once the line is complete and my_sketch will be added to my_part once the sketch is complete.

As an example, consider the design of a tea cup:

from build123d import *
from ocp_vscode import show

wall_thickness = 3 * MM
fillet_radius = wall_thickness * 0.49

with BuildPart() as tea_cup:
    # Create the bowl of the cup as a revolved cross section
    with BuildSketch(Plane.XZ) as bowl_section:
        with BuildLine():
            # Start & end points with control tangents
            s = Spline(
                (30 * MM, 10 * MM),
                (69 * MM, 105 * MM),
                tangents=((1, 0.5), (0.7, 1)),
                tangent_scalars=(1.75, 1),
            # Lines to finish creating ½ the bowl shape
            Polyline(s @ 0, s @ 0 + (10 * MM, -10 * MM), (0, 0), (0, (s @ 1).Y), s @ 1)
        make_face()  # Create a filled 2D shape
    # Hollow out the bowl with openings on the top and bottom
    offset(amount=-wall_thickness, openings=tea_cup.faces().filter_by(GeomType.PLANE))
    # Add a bottom to the bowl
    with Locations((0, 0, (s @ 0).Y)):
        Cylinder(radius=(s @ 0).X, height=wall_thickness)
    # Smooth out all the edges
    fillet(tea_cup.edges(), radius=fillet_radius)

    # Determine where the handle contacts the bowl
    handle_intersections = [
            Axis(origin=(0, 0, vertical_offset), direction=(1, 0, 0))
        for vertical_offset in [35 * MM, 80 * MM]
    # Create a path for handle creation
    with BuildLine(Plane.XZ) as handle_path:
        path_spline = Spline(
            handle_intersections[0] - (wall_thickness / 2, 0),
            handle_intersections[0] + (35 * MM, 30 * MM),
            handle_intersections[0] + (40 * MM, 60 * MM),
            handle_intersections[1] - (wall_thickness / 2, 0),
            tangents=((1, 1.25), (-0.2, -1)),
    # Align the cross section to the beginning of the path
    with BuildSketch(
        Plane(origin=path_spline @ 0, z_dir=path_spline % 0)
    ) as handle_cross_section:
        RectangleRounded(wall_thickness, 8 * MM, fillet_radius)
    sweep()  # Sweep handle cross section along path

assert abs(tea_cup.part.volume - 130326) < 1

show(tea_cup, names=["tea cup"])


There is a Discord server (shared with CadQuery) where you can ask for help in the build123d channel.

Table Of Contents

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