I'm working on upgrading my MNT laptop's trackball (!) which is a bit rough and scratchy, so I'm wondering where to start, and... there, in ~/src/reform, is all the CAD files and schematics for the whole thng. Everything I need. just... there. No fuss, no drama. All computering should be like this.

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OK, these are STL files... is this what I'm looking for? What's an easy STL viewer. "fstl", good, apt-get that and yup, these are the files. How about an editor... Blender, cool. That's a bit toy, but cool. Apt-get install that, and off we go.

It's this feeling. That near-frictionless, forward motion, ease of exploration. That's the thing you never want to go back to not having.

@mhoye I remember as a very small child seeing the family's bigass wooden console television with the back removed, and the repairman showing me the schematic printed inside it and explaining what was what while pointing the same things out in the television guts.

I loved Open Source since before it was called that.

@mhoye didn't know about fstl: I've been on team MeshLab all this time. I'll probably stick with MeshLab for its processing functions, but fstl is small and quick

Editing STLs in Blender is a bit like editing binaries with a hex editor: you CAN, but there may be better ways. I see that MNT provide STEP files, which rather than a simple 3D mesh, encode the higher-level part form. It's almost like source code

3D CAD is pretty horrid all round , tho

@scruss I found out that Blender won’t even start on this hardware, but FreeCAD is right there and seems to work right.

@mhoye If STLs are parts you can load them into openscad using 'import' function and then operate with regular openscad primitives.

But openscad is sometimes picky about the quality of stl meshes.

OK, after a quick google. There should be scad files, like this one --

Open them with openscad. You can generate stl files from openscad.

@avolkov That's probably a much better approach than dealing with meshes, thanks very much. My end goal here is to redesign that bottom trackball bracket with three ball bearings so it spins more freely

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