2- Tinkering with Tinkercad

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What is Tinkercad?

As the name implies, Tinkercad is a CAD software for designing 3D models. Its focus is taking simple primitive shapes, and combining them together to make more complex objects. Tinkercad is made by Autodesk, who is a world leader in the CAD and 3D design industry.

To get tinkering, visit Tinkercad.com and click the “Join Now” button in the top righthand side.

Tinkercad requires an age verification to begin.

Then you will sign up with an email address and password.

Finally, it will ask you if you want to receive marketing emails. Uncheck this if you don’t want to recieve these messages.

Once you are in Tinkercad, you will be presented with a basic lesson. Go ahead and click “Let’s Go!” to begin.

Tinkercad’s interactive lessons are one of its greatest points. They make it super easy to get started creating in 3D. The lesson steps are displayed on the left. Each lesson teaches a concept, skill, or the use of a tool!

When you revisit Tinkercad.com after being signed in, you will be taken to your dashboard.

The sidebar on the left allows you to navigate to your projects by clicking on “3D Designs”. You can also click on “Lessons” to revisit the result or pick back up a lesson you have started.

Clicking on “Learn” in the top right will take you to the lessons page. The lessons in Tinkercad are broken into 3 sections: Starters, Lessons, and Projects.

Starters are simple lessons meant to explain the user interface and CAD concepts. Think of these as the opening tutorials in a game. Tinkercad may be a simplified CAD experience meant for beginners, but there is still a LOT to take in. Aim to complete as many as you can. (Note that there are more than 4, the rest can be viewed by clicking the “See all Starters” button.)

The next tab brings you to Lessons. There is not a strict order to complete them. Each lesson will result in the creation of an object that could be brought into a game, or even 3D printed! (Like starters, click the “See all Lessons” button to show every one that is available.)

If Starters are the tutorial, Lessons are the first encounters in the wild where you will cut your teeth and gain experience.

The final tab is Projects, which are more in-depth and result in a more complex final product. Try to tackle as many Lessons as you can, but if you feel couragous, the final boss of Projects is there for you to overcome!

Tinkercad automatically saves your progress, and you can go back to your dashboard to show off and work on your existing creations.

The Starters and Lessons are super helpful jumping-off points, but sometimes, the best way to learn is by doing! Don’t be afraid to hit that “Create new design” button and start exploring! If you get stuck, check back into the Starters and Lessons to get help and inspiration!

Some Helpful Hints

Delete Project
As stated above, Tinkercad automatically saves your progress, and that includes lessons. If you have already started a lesson, you will resume your in-progress lesson. If you want to redo, or need to restart a lesson, click the “Lessons” item in the sidebar of your dashboard. Hover over the lesson you want to restart, click the gear, then click “Delete…”.

Now, when you visit the lesson again in the Learn section, it will start over from the beginning.

If you want to use a lesson as a starting point for a new creation, you can instead use the “Move to Project” option to copy the Lesson result into your 3D Designs.

The basic functions of Tinkercad can be done with just the mouse and the menu. However, for convenience, or to impress your friends by looking like a super cool hacker, there are keyboard shortcuts for most things you can do. This list Alt to give you more Ctrl and Shift your perspective on Tinkercad! Take a picture of your model and upload it below!