3D Printing and Tinkercad
One of the more popular activities to emerge for STEAM education initiatives is 3D Printing. 3D printing is simply the use of a 3D printer in combination with a modeling software. To aid in the creation of the design there is a number of different user-friendly, cloud-based software, also known as Computer Aided Design (or CAD) software.
Tinkercad is one of those CAD design tools, and is a great application for simple 3D design and printing. Free and user-friendly, Tinkercad makes even those who are unfamiliar with CAD successful when creating awesome 3D models.
How does Tinkercad work?
All 3D models begin with an idea. These model ideas could include models that demonstrate hard-to-visualize concepts, student-produced designs, or learning tools, such as instruments or integer lines. With 3D printing, the potential is infinite.
With your idea in mind, you can develop a design using Tinkercad. Once the design is complete, you can send your design to the 3D printer of your choice using a wide variety of filaments such as plastic, metal, and rubber. (Here at Teq, we think the best 3D printers for education are from Ultimaker. To see the great designs we’re printing using our Ultimaker3 Extended, follow our Instagram at @edteq.)
To design your 3D model, Tinkercad allows you to adjust the following things:
- Shapes are the basic building blocks of Tinkercad. Any shape can add or remove material, and you can also import or create your own shapes.
- By grouping together a set of shapes you can create new models to work with. Build intricate shapes and create extremely detailed models.
Importing 2D and 3D items
- Create vector shapes, then import and extrude them into 3D models. Additionally, you can import external 3D files which become editable Tinkercad shapes.
Getting Started with Tinkercad
Tinkercad offers step-by-step lessons on the design process to help users get acclimated. It also allows you to browse its library of more than 4 million pre-created designs to get ideas and learn tricks from other designers in the community.
Tinkercad runs on Windows, Mac and Linux and works the best with Chrome and Firefox browsers. Most importantly, for remote users and collaborators, Tinkercad enables students to interface on designs from anywhere at no cost to them. All files are stored in the cloud, so they’re easy to access from various computers and locations.
Take a look at the video tutorial below to see how easy it is to get started with Tinkercad.