What is Tinkercad?
Tinkercad is a free online tool for creating images which can be rotated and viewed on screen as if in 3D from different angles, and which can also be used to send to a 3D printer to create real physical objects. Tinkercad is designed to be used by any age, whether for a simple or complex object, to make a toy or a design prototype, jewellery or ornament for the home. And even if you don’t make the physical object there is a lot of design skills and satisfaction which can be gained just by using the tool to design a virtual object.
If you can imagine the object in your own mind Tinkercad provides the tool to let you create it in reality. And as it is browser-based it only needs a user to be on the Internet to be able to sign up for a free account and to start a design, and continue anywhere they can get connected online – there is no software to download.
How do you get started using Tinkercad?
Here’s a video which gives an overview of Tinkercad:
A search on YouTube for “Tinkercad tutorial” lists a vast array of videos by Tinkercad users showing how they have created a wide range of objects, so that others can be inspired to get their own creative juices starting to flow. Tinkercad also has its own YouTube channel with a range of videos showing how to use the tool for a multitude of model-making requirements so that there is no need to start from scratch – someone will have created an object from which another user can adapt to get what they are imagining.
Tutorials in using Tinkercad – there are video tutorials showing how to get started using Tinkercad and how to use the tool to refine and customise the models being created. These tutorials are interactive in that you are guided through the steps while you are using the tool so everything is shown on screen at the point where you need the guidance.
There are many videos showing how to make basic models, as well as objects which could form the basis for objects by others and which therefore just need customising to suit the user’s needs.
How are other people using Tinkercad?
Tinkercad has its own blog which provides illustrations of how other people are using Tinkercad, and shares advice about the process users went through, and what they did with their creations.
How might Tinkercad be used in the classroom?
Tinkercad Project Ignite provides ideas specifically aimed at using Tinkercad in the classroom. This provides a means for teachers to create a class without the need for pupils to sign up with an account, but instead use a teacher-created sign-in code. And of course there are hosts of projects, with supporting resources, for engaging classroom activities using Tinkercad.
Dens Road Nursery in Dundee have a blogpost on the Create blog detailing how Tinkercad has been used in their early years setting.
What if I don’t have access to a 3D printer?
Tinkercad produces files in a format which a 3D printer can translate into a 3D physical object. But if you don’t have access to a 3D printer then you may wish to consider sites such as Shapeways which lets you upload your file and they will calculate and quote a cost so that you could decide to have it created and sent in the mail to you. http://www.shapeways.com/create
How are you using Tinkercad?
How are you using Tinkercad? Do please share in the comments below this post