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A few years ago, if you wanted to design a 3D object, there were few options. And not many of them were free or easy. Tinkercad appears to be one of many new modeling options that promises both free and easy. At World Maker Faire, I had a chance to see the browser-based Tinkercad in action. It does appear easy to operate, and free, if you can get it to run in the browser on your computer. Since it requires WebGl, Tinkercad requires Windows Vista or OS X 10.6, so it’ll work on just one of the computers in my classroom.

In Tinkercad’s work environment, you can use additive tools, subtractive tools, and even adjust the workplane you’re designing on. Sharing appears to be pretty easy, as it is based on the web address of the object. You can also download an .STL file if you want to make a 3D print or work the file further in a desktop CAD package. Tinkercad is also integrated with Shapeways, so you can easily send your design to their service to have it fabricated in a variety of materials.

Have you designed with Tinkercad? What did you make? How easy/hard was it for you to use? If you’ve printed parts made with this system, or sent them out to a service for fabrication, it’d be great to see the results. Let us know in the comments!

Chris Connors

Making things is the best way to learn about our world.


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