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Short Description
CadQuery packaged as a docker image
Full Description

What is a CadQuery?

CadQuery is an intuitive, easy-to-use python based language for building parametric 3D CAD models. CadQuery is for 3D CAD what jQuery is for javascript. Imagine selecting Faces of a 3d object the same way you select DOM objects with JQuery!

CadQuery has several goals:

  • Build lD models with scripts that are as close as possible to how you'd describe the object to a human.
  • Create parametric models that can be very easily customized by end users
  • Output high quality (loss-less) CAD formats like STEP and AMF in addition to traditional STL
  • Provide a non-proprietary, plain text model format that can be edited and executed with only a web browser

Using CadQuery, you can write short, simple scripts that produce high quality CAD models. It is easy to make many different objects using a single script that can be customized.

Getting Started with the docker image

The caduery docker image ( includes cadquery and all of its dependencies. It can be used to run cadquery scripts without any installation required ( other than docker, of course)


Display the Documentation::

 docker run dcowden/cadquery:latest

Build a local model using stdin/stdout::

 cat | docker run -i dcowden/cadquery:latest build --in_spec stdin --format STEP --out_spec stdout

 ... STEP output on the console

Build local models and output to the same directory::

 docker run -v $PWD:/home/cq -i dcowden/cadquery:latest build --in_spec --format STEP
 INFO: Reading from file ''
 INFO: Parsed Script ''.
 INFO: This script provides parameters length,thickness,height, which can be customized at build time.
 INFO: The script will run with default variable values
 INFO: use --param_file to provide a json file that contains values to override the defaults
 INFO: Output Format is 'STEP'. Use --output-format to change it.
 INFO: Output Path is './cqobject-%(counter)d.%(format)s'. Use --out_spec to change it.
 INFO: Script Generated 1 result Objects
 INFO: Writing STEP Output to './cqobject-1.STEP'

Full Documentation

You can find the full cadquery documentation at

Getting Started With CadQuery

The easiest way to get started with CadQuery is to Install FreeCAD (version 14+) (, and then to use our great CadQuery-FreeCAD plugin here:

It includes the latest version of cadquery alreadby bundled, and has super-easy installation on Mac, Windows, and Unix.

It has tons of awesome features like integration with FreeCAD so you can see your objects, code-autocompletion, an examples bundle, and script saving/loading. Its definitely the best way to kick the tires!

We also have a Google Group to make it easy to get help from other CadQuery users. Please join the group and introduce yourself, and we would also love to hear what you are doing with CadQuery.!forum/cadquery


This resin mold was modeled using cadquery and then created on a CNC machine:

<p align="center">
<img src="doc/_static/hyOzd-cablefix.png" width="350"/>
<img src="doc/_static/hyOzd-finished.jpg" width="350"/>

The cadquery script is surprisingly short, and allows easily customizing any of the variables::

    import cadquery as cq
    from Helpers import show
    BS = cq.selectors.BoxSelector

    mount_holes = True

    # mold size
    mw = 40
    mh = 13
    ml = 120

    # wire and fix size
    wd = 6  # wire diameter
    rt = 7  # resin thickness
    rl = 50  # resin length
    rwpl = 10  # resin to wire pass length

    # pocket fillet
    pf = 18

    # mount holes
    mhd = 7  # hole diameter
    mht = 3  # hole distance from edge

    # filling hole
    fhd = 6


    # draw base
    base = cq.Workplane("XY").box(ml, mw, mh, (True, True, False))

    # draw wire
    pocket = cq.Workplane("XY", (0, 0, mh)).moveTo(-ml/2., 0).line(0, wd/2.)\
        .line((ml-rl)/2.-rwpl, 0).line(rwpl, rt).line(rl, 0)\
        .line(rwpl, -rt).line((ml-rl)/2.-rwpl, 0)\
        .line(0, -(wd/2.)).close().revolve(axisEnd=(1, 0))\
        .edges(BS((-rl/2.-rwpl-.1, -100, -100), (rl/2.+rwpl+.1, 100, 100)))\

    r = base.cut(pocket)

    # mount holes
    if mount_holes:
        px = ml/2.-mht-mhd/2.
        py = mw/2.-mht-mhd/2
        r = r.faces("<Z").workplane().pushPoints([
        (px, py),
        (-px, py),
        (-px, -py),
        (px, -py)

    # fill holes
    r = r.faces("<Y").workplane().center(0, mh/2.).pushPoints([
        (-rl/2., 0),
        (0, 0),
        (rl/2., 0)
        ]).hole(fhd, mw/2.)


Thanks go to cadquery contributor hyOzd ( Altu Technology ) for the example!

Projects Using CadQuery

KiCad uses cadquery to build high quality models of electrictronic components. ( )

<p align="center">
<img src="" width="350"/>

This Prusa i3 extruder support uses cadquery to build the model ( :

<p align="center">
<img src="" width="350"/>

The mach30 project used cadquery to develop a tool that will create a rocket thruster directly from the appropriate equations (

<p align="center">
<img src="" width="700"/>

This example uses Jupyter notebook to produce a really cool web-based scripting environment ( ) :

<p align="center">
<img src="" width="700"/>

We would love to link to your cadquery based project. Just let us know and we'll add it here.

Why CadQuery instead of OpenSCAD?

CadQuery is based on OpenCasCade. CadQuery shares many features with OpenSCAD, another open source, script based, parametric model generator.

The primary advantage of OpenSCAD is the large number of already existing model libaries that exist already. So why not simply use OpenSCAD?

CadQuery scripts have several key advantages over OpenSCAD:

  1. The scripts use a standard programming language, python, and thus can benefit from the associated infrastructure.
    This includes many standard libraries and IDEs

  2. More powerful CAD kernel OpenCascade is much more powerful than CGAL. Features supported natively
    by OCC include NURBS, splines, surface sewing, STL repair, STEP import/export, and other complex operations,
    in addition to the standard CSG operations supported by CGAL

  3. Ability to import/export STEP We think the ability to begin with a STEP model, created in a CAD package,
    and then add parametric features is key. This is possible in OpenSCAD using STL, but STL is a lossy format

  4. Less Code and easier scripting CadQuery scripts require less code to create most objects, because it is possible to locate
    features based on the position of other features, workplanes, vertices, etc.

  5. Better Performance CadQuery scripts can build STL, STEP, and AMF faster than OpenSCAD.


CadQuery is licensed under the terms of the Apache Public License, version 2.0.
A copy of the license can be found at

CadQuery GUI Interfaces

There are currently several known CadQuery GUIs:

CadQuery FreeCAD Module

You can use CadQuery inside of FreeCAD. There's an excellent plugin module here

CadQuery GUI (under active development)

Work is underway on a stand-alone gui here:

If you are impatient and want to see a working example with no installation, have a look at this lego brick example

The script that generates the model is on the 'modelscript' tab.

Installing -- FreeStanding Installation

Use these steps if you would like to write CadQuery scripts as a python API. In this case, FreeCAD is used only as a CAD kernel.

  1. install FreeCAD, version 0.15 or greater for your platform.

  2. adjust your path if necessary. FreeCAD bundles a python interpreter, but you'll probably want to use your own,
    preferably one that has virtualenv available. To use FreeCAD from any python interpreter, just append the FreeCAD
    lib directory to your path. On (*Nix)::

        import sys

or on Windows::

        import sys

NOTE FreeCAD on Windows will not work with python 2.7-- you must use pthon 2.6.X!!!!

  1. install cadquery::
         pip install cadquery
  2. installing cadquery should install pyparsing as well, but if not::
         pip install pyparsing
  3. test your installation::
         from cadquery import *
         box = Workplane("XY").box(1,2,3)
    You're up and running!

Installing -- Using CadQuery from Inside FreeCAD

Use the CadQuery module for FreeCAD here:

It includes a distribution of the latest version of cadquery.

Roadmap/Future Work

Work has begun on Cadquery 2.0, which will feature:

  1. Feature trees, for more powerful selection
  2. Direct use of OpenCascade Community Edition(OCE), so that it is no longer required to install FreeCAD
  3., which will allow visualization of workplanes

The project page can be found here:

A more detailed description of the plan for CQ 2.0 is here:

Where does the name CadQuery come from?

CadQuery is inspired by jQuery, a popular framework that
revolutionized web development involving javascript.

If you are familiar with how jQuery, you will probably recognize several jQuery features that CadQuery uses:

  • A fluent api to create clean, easy to read code
  • Language features that make selection and iteration incredibly easy
  • Ability to use the library along side other python libraries
  • Clear and complete documentation, with plenty of samples.
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