Tinkercad: All you need to know before getting started

Published on April 20, 2020 by Carlota V.

Tinkercad is an online collection of software tools from Autodesk that enable complete beginners to create 3D models. This CAD software is based on constructive solid geometry (CSG), which allows users to create complex models by combining simpler objects together. As a result, this 3D modeling software is user-friendly and currently enjoyed by many, particularly teachers, kids, hobbyists and designers. Additionally, it is free!

Tinkercad is a good alternative to other 3D modeling software such as SketchUp or Fusion360 – another solution from Autodesk – if you do not need the more advanced options of these solutions. Actually, the leading software company acquired Tinkercad in 2013, two years after it was launched by former Google engineer Kai Backman and his cofounder Mikko Mononen. It’s main advantage over those two software is that it is free, and yet offers more modeling freedom than first meets the eye!

What are the main features of Tinkercad?

Even though Tinkercad is perfect for beginners, it does not mean that those who are more experienced with 3D modeling will not appreciate this software. Given that it is based on CSG to create solid models, you can always complexify your model by adding more shapes. Additionally, the software enables to add electronic circuits to 3D designs in order to create objects with light and movement. The end result can even be simulated on the software to check how the components will respond in real life. Another capability of Tinkercad is to transform a 3D design into buildable brick models, similar to creating legos. Finally, for those that love Minecraft, you will be well served, as you will be able to make creations compatible with the application.

Constructive solid geometry (CSG) is a solid modeling technique that combines primitive objects to create more visually complex ones.

Therefore, Tinkercad can be used for a range of applications, including 3D printing. The 3D models can be saved in three different formats, STL, OBJ and SVG. Once you have an STL file of your model, you can go on to using a slicing software. Slicing software converts the 3D model into a series of thin layers and produces a G-code file containing instructions tailored to a specific type of printer. In other words, it is dividing the object into a stack of flat layers and describing these layers as linear movements of the 3D printer extruder.

Users often compliment how intuitive this CAD software is. Transformation, duplication, and shape modification are easy to grasp. Additionally, Autodesk has made many resources available to its community. For example, you will find inspiration, and tips & tricks to get started on their blog, as well as videos! You can find more information on Autodesk’s website.

You can create more or less complex models on Tinkercad

Find more 3D modeling software for beginners in our listing. Have you used Tinkercad to create 3D models? Let us know in a comment below or on our Facebook and Twitter pages! Sign up for our free weekly Newsletter to receive all the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox!

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