【Free 3DCAD Editor】How to use Tinkercad

In this article, I will introduce how to register for Autodesk Tinkercad, and the basic operations, how to use the software and export a 3D model. Then, let’s upload the model to STYLY, and check how it looks in it.

What is Tinkercad

Tinkercad is a free 3D CAD editor software made by Autodesk.

You can access the Tinkercad official website fromhere. I will explain what you can find at the Tinkercad website.

Gallery

At the gallery page, you can find uploaded 3D models created by Tinkercad users from all over the world. You can download the data to use for 3D printing, and leave comments for a model.

Tinkercad gallery_01

 

In order to download a model for a 3D printer, click a model in the above image, and then the image below will appear.

Tinkercad gallery_02

 

Blog

At the blog page, there are many posts on Tinkercad news, latest information, operation guides. There are also guides on what kind of materials you should use when 3D printing models (such as the type of plastic or resin).

Tinkercad Blog

 

Learn

In the Learn tab, there are articles on the basic operations of Tinkercad, and modelling tutorials. They are free to read, so you can immediately start learning about Tinkercad.

Tinkercad Learn

 

How to create a Tinkercad account

Next, lets create a Tinkercad account.
Click the Sign up button in the upper right, or the Start Tinkering button below the middle of the page to create an account.

Creating a Tinkercad account

 

Then, you will be asked if you have an Autodesk account. If you already have one, you can sign in with it and log in with your Autodesk account.

If you don’t have an account, you can create a new one from the Create Account button.

Create Account Screen

 

Once you create your account, or log in with your account, you will be transfered to your account page.
Your created models will be added here from now on.

Tinkercad Account page

Next, let’s learn about the Tinkercad UI, and the basic operations.

 

Tinkercad UI and basic operation guide

Tinkercad basic operations

The Tinkercad workplane is very simple.

The area that occupies most of the space is the workplane, where the created models will be shown. You can create shapes in the editor-like area in the right.

Tinkercad Workplane top_01

 

By clicking on basic shapes, a tab will open, and you can choose from many other shapes and texts, or default models.

Tinkercad Workplane top_02

 

Tinkercad UI

You can use your mouse with Tinkercad, but you can also use just your trackpad. Understanding how to use the mouse should be easy enough, so I will explain how to use the trackpad on a MacOS.

 

  • Zooming in and out of the scene > Use 2 fingers to slide up and down the trackpad
  • Tumble the scene > Press the trackpad with 2 fingers and rotate them

Other than that, you can still use the basic keyboard shortcuts such as copy(Ctrl+C), paset(Ctrl+V), and undo(Ctrl+Z).

 

If you remember these, that’s basically all you need to use Tinkercad, so let’s start the modelling.

Modelling with Tinkercad

For this tutorial, I am going to create a simple mug.

First, we need to create an object by drag and drop, or by clicking on it. I chose an cylinder.
The gray out box and cylinder above the red border are not objects, but objects to create holes, so we will not use them yet.

Tinkercad Drag and Drop

 

Then, we need to edit the cylinder’s advanced settings. Please set them as in the below image.

Cylinder advanced settings

 

Next, we will add a handle to the mug.

Create a tube object, and change the shape setting values. The values I used are just for reference, so you can use whatever values you want.

Create a handle for the mug_01

 

Then, rotate the handle for 90°.
You can rotate it by sliding the “↔︎” icon. If you press the Alt key while rotating, the rotation will become 15° at a time.

Now it’s looks a little more like a mug, right?

Create a handle for the mug_02

 

Next, let’s create the hollow part of the cup.
Select the gray out cylinder. Create it a little smaller than the mug.

The settings for the hollow part is in the image below. The values are just for reference, so you can change the value where you want.

Mug hole_01

 

Next, move the angle to that from above, and put the hole object over the mug.

Take care to set the hole object higher than the mug object. If they are on the same height, there will be no hole created.

If you successfully place the objects, select both objects, and group them(Ctrl+G). That will merge the two objects, and make them become one.

Mug hole_02

 

Next, we will group the objects again.
Select the mug and the hole object, and group them(Ctrl+G).

Group

We are done with the mug modelling.

If you group them the other way round, the handle (tube object) will penetrate the object. So, when creating a object like a mug, take care which order you group things.

 

After your modelling is done, let’s change the color of your model.

Click Shape tab>Solid>Preset

and you can select from a number of default colors. Or, you can use a color code instead.

Change Solid color

The coloring is done.

 

3D Export

Finally, let’s export the model.

Select the red borders on the upper right, and click export.

Model Export_01

 

A window will appear. For this tutorial, please select .OBJ format.
By clicking here, a zipped file of the 3D data of your choice will get downloaded.

Model Export_02

The below data will get exported. The export step is complete.

Exported data

 

By the way, the created model will be automatically saved and added to your account page. You can change the model name from the account page, or the workplane page.

Added Model

 

Importing your model to STYLY

Now that your 3D model is ready, let’s check how it looks in STYLY.
Log in to STYLY, and create a scene. To learn how to create a STYLY account, please refer tothis article.

STYLY top page

You can import the model by following the steps in order for ①>②.

STYLY 3D Model Import

 

After your upload is done, go to My Models and click the added model.

My models

 

I think that the model looks pretty awesome. The polygons are not shattered, and the shape is just the same.

But, one problem is that there is no material applied. The downloaded data had a mtl data with it, but in STYLY it doesn’t look blue.

Model looks

 

How was this article? There are a number of free 3D editors like Tinkercad in the world.
Tinkercad is not exactly a software for any specific use, but I felt that it is an all rounder, and can be used for many basic modelling.
It should be helpful to solidify an idea in your head, or to 3D print a simple model.

If you are interested, please try it out!