OpenSCAD User Manual/Input Devices

Introduction edit

[Note: Requires version 2019.05]

The inputdriver allows a user the use of things like a gamepad or a 3D-Mouse in OpenSCAD.

Currently, the following drivers are in development:

  • HIDAPI - Used on MacOS and Windows - needs the USB IDs / it works on Linux too, but needs additional privileges, so it's not ideal for the user
  • Joystick driver - uses the Linux joystick device (currently fixed /dev/input/js0)
  • SpaceNav driver - using the spacenavd daemon
  • DBus driver - Linux only / not for actual devices but for remote control
  • QGamepad - used for Cross-platform joystick support - This seems to require some additional configuration on Qt level currently, so it needs some more work to make it easy to use

The default axes mapping is for 3D-mices.

How to try it out edit

The inputdriver is currently part of the current development snapshots and nightly builds.

Therefor, they can be found here:

Joystick and gamepads edit

Under Linux, you have the option to use a native joystick driver or the cross platform QGamepad driver. The native Joystick driver is recommended.

On other platforms, OpenSCAD is limited currently to QGamepad.

Joystick-Driver edit

linux edit
Example Input Mapping for an XBox 360 Controller under Linux using the native Jostick Driver.
Notice the increased Dead Zone due to worn out joysticks.
Axis 5 and 2 are triggers, they have a trim of 1 applied as their ideal value is typical -1.0 and are mapped to zoom.
Almost any controller that your Linux computer recognizes should work

The JoystickInputDriver is using the device /dev/input/js0.

Under Ubuntu Linux, you need the packet joystick for joystick support.

QGamepad-Driver edit

QGamepad works well with XBox 360 controllers

QGamepad can used under Windows and Linux.

QGamepad Driver makes assumptions about the Gamepad that might not be true. Using a XBox 360 or compatible controller works best.

Other controllers might be limited by QGamepad. (e.g. unable to map Buttons and/or Axis)

QGamepad treats the D-Pad of the XBox 360 Controller as buttons.

3D-Mouse edit

Linux edit

On Linux, the easiest way with the Space Mouse Wireless is interestingly to go though the Joystick driver that is normally enabled on most systems.

Spacenav edit

Spacenav is also supported.

sudo apt-get spacenavd

On debian:

sudo apt install libspnav-dev 

(requires restart)


For using the hidapi, you can run openscad with root privileges. However, this is not recommend, but maybe helpful for temporary trouble shooting.

Much better is to figure out which vendor id and product id your device has and add a udev rule. To figure out which vendor and product id your product has, you can use lusb.

How the relevant line of lsusb may look like:

Bus 002 Device 006: ID 046d:c627 Logitech, Inc. 3Dconnexion Space Explorer 3D Mouse

Some hints:


Windows edit

OpenSCAD interacts directly with the 3D Mouse using the HIDAPI.

Therefore, the driver from the device manufacturer is not required. If the driver of the device manufacturer is installed, the driver has to be stopped, so that OpenSCAD can claim the device.

There are different ways to stop the driver. In your start menu you should have a folder 3Dconnexion and in there "Stop Driver".

You can also try

"C:\Program Files\3Dconnexion\3DxWare\3DxWinCore64\3DxService.exe" -shutdown

Mac OS edit

As with other platforms, you have to disable the native 3DConnexion drivers completely, as OpenSCAD does not use them.

To enable the built-in driver for the SpaceMouse, go to Preferences → Axes, turn on the HIDAPI setting, and restart OpenSCAD.

The following devices have been tested and are known to work with OpenSCAD on MacOS Mohave:

  • SpaceMouse Compact (USB)
  • SpaceMouse Wireless

DBus edit

The D-Bus driver can be used for remote controlling OpenSCAD. This is mainly intended for programmers. It can for example be used to write a custom input driver.

Debug and testing edit

For debugging and testing, D-Feet can be used. OpenSCAD can be found on the Session Bus under org.openscad.OpenSCAD.

qdbus is NOT recommended, as it has issues with some of the more complex data structures.

Example edit

An example for QT/C++ can be found under this page.

Camera System edit

Note that OpenSCAD's camera behavior and system does not operate in a standard way. Via DBus, you are directly interacting with OpenSCAD's camera. Note that the camera system and thus this is interface could be refactored at some point.

Actions edit

Please note that the actions exposed Via dbus are mostly the ones from the Menu Bar of OpenSCAD. Keep in mind, that the menu bar might change at some point and that compatibility with the dbus driver is not of concern.

FAQ edit

Which button is which? edit

Open the preferences, then go to the button tab then press the button you want to assign. The text next to the relevant ComboBox appears in red, bold text.

View is drifting edit

If your view is drifting, please re-calibrate the neutral position and deadzone of your input device. This can be done within OpenSCAD or with the tools of the operating system.

Where are my settings stored? edit

See this page.

Y+Viewport-rel-translation (VRT) Channel is not responding to input edit

You are in orthogonal view. Please change it to perspective to see what it does.


Or look in the bottom left corner, where translate = changes. This is not a bug, this is a very specific feature. When you map zoom to one axis and Y+Viewport-rel-translation to an other while in perspective view, you should get the vertigo effect.

Most users use zoom as it works in both orthogonal and perspective.


Before you wonder why you can map two axis to zoom: Game controllers have two analog shoulder triggers.

Yes, this has little to no real world use, but the inputdriver is about giving as much control to the user as possible.