Tinkercad: The Online Software to Start 3D Modeling
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. Best of all, it’s free and only requires an internet connection. The software allows users to create models that are compatible with 3D printing, a great option for beginners to the technology.
Tinkercad is a good alternative to other 3D modeling software such as SketchUp or Fusion360 if you do not need the more advanced features of these solutions. Autodesk, producers of Fusion 360, acquired Tinkercad in 2013, two years after the latter was launched by former Google engineer Kai Backman and cofounder Mikko Mononen. The software’s main advantage over the other two software is that it is free, while still offering more modeling freedom than what first meets the eye! It is currently available in 16 languages.
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 also enjoy this software. Given that it is based on CSG to create solid models, you can always make your model more complex by adding more shapes. In more concrete terms, all you have to do is select one of the available shapes and add or remove material as you wish. For example, you could start with a cylinder before adding triangles, circles, cones, etc. The shape can then be moved and rotated, allowing users to see it from all angles.
Additionally, the software allows you to add electronic circuits to 3D models 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 feature of Tinkercad is its ability to transform a 3D design into buildable brick models, similar to creating Lego designs. Finally, Tinkercad is suitable for young learners, as it adheres to the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) standards.
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 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. If you don’t have a 3D printer, you can also order your model via the online service offered by Tinkercad. You should also know that it can be exported in SVG format for laser cutting.
Tinkercad’s 50 million+ users often compliment the intuitiveness of this CAD software. 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 and course to get you started with 3D modeling! The software works on any computer with an internet connection, you just have to create your account. It also offers a backup of 3D models on the cloud. As mentioned before, the software is very suitable for education. Tinkercad offers the option to upgrade to Fusion 360: the website shows teachers how to help learners transition from the basic Tinkercad software to more advanced Fusion 360 CADCAM solution. If you would like to learn more, be sure to check out the website HERE.
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 LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly Newsletter here for the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.