Archives For November 30, 1999

How to Install OpenSCAD in Ubuntu 18.10 / 18.04

Last updated: January 14, 2019

This quick tutorial shows you how to install OpenSCAD, the programmers solid 3D CAD modeller, in Ubuntu 18.10, Ubuntu 18.04.

OpenSCAD is a software for creating solid 3D CAD models. Unlike most free software for creating 3D models (such as Blender) it does not focus on the artistic aspects of 3D modelling but instead on the CAD aspects. Thus it might be the application you are looking for when you are planning to create 3D models of machine parts but pretty sure is not what you are looking for when you are more interested in creating computer-animated movies.

OpenSCAD is not available in Ubuntu 18.04 and 18.10 universe repositories due to build failure. Fortunately, the OpenSCAD releases PPA contains the software package for Ubuntu 18.04, which also works in Ubuntu 18.10.

1. Open terminal either via Ctrl+Alt+T keyboard shortcut or from software launcher. When it opens, paste following command and run to add the PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:openscad/releases

Type user password (no asterisks feedback) when it prompts and hit Enter to continue.

2. For Ubuntu 18.10, open Software & Updates and navigate to Other Software tab. Then do:

  1. Highlight the openscad repository line.
  2. Click Edit button to bring up setup dialog.
  3. Change the value of “Distribution” from cosmic to bionic
  4. Save the changes, and close the window.

3. Finally either install OpenSCAD via Synaptic package manager, or run following 2 commands one by one in terminal:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install openscad


To remove the PPA repository, open Software & Updates -> Other Software (see pic. in step2) and simply remove the repository line.

To remove OpenSCAD, run command in terminal:

sudo apt-get remove --autoremove openscad

In addition for those feeling OK with Gnome Flatpak (containerized software package), the software is also available in Flathub.

solid 3d cad objects creator

OpenSCAD is a software for creating solid 3D CAD objects. It focuses on CAD aspects rather than artistic ones.

OpenSCAD is not an interactive modeller. Instead it is something like a 3D-compiler that reads in a script file that describes the object and renders the 3D model from this script. This gives the designer full control over the modelling process and enables him to easily change any step in the modelling process or make designes that are defined by configurable parameters.


While Ubuntu repositories provide a very old version, the most recent OpenSCAD 2015.03 was released with a number of new features, improvements and fixes:

Language Features

  • Added text() module for 2D text
  • Added offset() module for 2D offsets
  • Added list comprehensions and let()
  • Added concat() function
  • Added chr() function
  • surface() can now take PNG images as input
  • min() and max() can now take a vector argument
  • 2D minkowski can now handle polygons with holes
  • Variables can now be assigned in local blocks without using assign()

Program Features

  • Added Toolbar icons
  • New code editor based on QScintilla
  • Added Splash screen
  • Added SVG export
  • Added AMF export
  • Added --viewall and --autocenter cmd-line parameters
  • GUI is now translated into German, Czech, Spanish, French and Russian
  • MDI (Multiple Document Interface) is now available on all platforms
  • Color schemes for viewer and editor can be user-edited using JSON files
  • GUI components are now dockable
  • Added Tickmarks on axes


  • Performance improvement: 2D (clipper), preview, hull, minkowski, surface
  • Performance improvement: Reduce duplicate evaluation of identical expressions
  • Better recursion behavior
  • STL export and import is now more robust
  • Internal cavities are better supported
  • New examples
  • Windows cmd-line behaves better
  • Better mirror() and scale() behavior when using negative factors


  • polyhedron() now takes a faces= argument rather than triangles=
  • assign() is no longer needed. Local variables can be created in any scope

Install / Upgrade to OpenSCAD 2015 in Ubuntu:

OpenSCAD Team provides pre-compiled binaries for Ubuntu users through a PPA repository, so far Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, Ubuntu 14.10, Linux Mint 17 are supported.

Open terminal from the Dash/Menu or by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard. When it opens, run command to add OpenSCAD PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:openscad/releases

Then refresh system package cache via:

sudo apt-get update

Finally install the software packages:

sudo apt-get install openscad openscad-dbg

You may skip the second and third commands, instead running Software Updater (or Update Manager) and upgrading OpenSCAD package after checking for updates.