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Learning Tinkercad?

Posted by aamcle 
Learning Tinkercad?
September 12, 2018 11:03AM
It's been a while since I did anything with CAD and that was CAD 6 originally under MS Dos or maybe Win3 although looking back that far I'm not sure which.

Now with all it's luxury touches I'm finding TinkerCad more than a bit different in practice a completely different beast. I've done the few tutorials on the Tinkercad site which amount to little more than demonstrating a few controls.

Please can you recommend a proper series or course from beginner to hero? Or any other quality learning resource?

I don't know about you but I much prefer not to work from fragmented sources it make things so much slower.

Thanks All. aamcle
Re: Learning Tinkercad?
September 27, 2018 12:44PM
TinkerCAD really isn't CAD. It's a shape builder. There's a difference in the underlying assumptions and certainly in the way that the software is used.

I use it a lot though, as it's very useful for making things for 3D printing.

A few things that make it easier (for me, at least)

Always start with the ruler. I always place it at the lower right hand corner. Having the ruler will automatically show you the dimensions for your shapes.

All shapes can be additive, or subtractive (holes) Some fairly complex shapes can be made, but it's not very good at certain things, like just rounding corners. (I do this by taking a solid cube, aligning it right and bottom with a hole cylinder 2X the size of the cube, combine, then take the resulting shape, turn it into a hole, copy it however many times I need, re-size to whatever radius I want, flip it to the orientation that I want, align it to the edges of the object that I want to round and combine. When all the corners are done, un-combine the base object, then do it all as one step (Makes it easier to take apart later to make changes.)

Circles (cylinders) are not circles, they are polygons, and the dimensions are peak to peak. This makes them okay as rods, but as holes, they are always smaller than you think that they are. If you want to use them as holes, set the number of sides to something high (64 is the highest setting, 20 is the default) and they'll be closer, but if you really want them to be the dimensions you set, leave it alone at 20, but rotate it 9 degrees, and it will change the measure to edge to edge. (You'll see the default 20mm cylinder becomes 19.75mm if you do this) This will also help. Your 3D printer will also make the holes a little smaller, so you will probably need to add some small amount to the size of holes in order to get the desired results.

TinkerCAD takes some computing shortcuts, so try to reduce the number of rotations to the minimum possible. Some floating point errors can occur if you rotate an object, then try to rotate it back. re-sizing should be okay as many times as you need though.

Have a pencil and note paper on hand. I end up writing down a lot of numbers for coordinates or distances, since TinkerCAD doesn't have a "snap to object" feature, and the align tool doesn't let you specify that you don't want to move one of the objects, particularly when aligning centres. (Aligning edges seems to snap to the edge furthest to the side that you're asking for, so if you position the object that you want to move further from the final position, that can be helpful, but I'm usually aligning centre to centre, and in that case it always moves both.)

I learned by playing with it, and I think that's probably the best way. It's also how I learned what I can and what I can't 3D print, and how to orient objects to get what I want from the 3D printed result. I agree with the fragmented sources, since there are always underlying assumptions which change with different tutorials.

MBot3D Printer
MakerBot clone Kit from Amazon
Added heated bed.

Leadscrew self-built printer (in progress)
Duet Wifi, Precision Piezo parts
Re: Learning Tinkercad?
October 02, 2018 09:11PM
Not the answer you're looking for, but try a different software. TinkerCAD may be easy to start with, but you'll quickly reach a point where it becomes really difficult to make what you want because tinkerCAD isn't made for complex or precise items.
Re: Learning Tinkercad?
March 05, 2019 05:25PM
Not the answer you're looking for, but try a different software. TinkerCAD may be easy to start with, but you'll quickly reach a point where it becomes really difficult to make what you want because tinkerCAD isn't made for complex or precise items.

Very true, TinkerCAD is not precision. However, neither are our hobby printers! smiling smiley You can make some really good parts with it though - I have made a couple of fairly complex Delta end effectors in TinkerCAD.

For making brand new parts, I recommend Fusion 360, a nice (permanent BETA I think) CAD program that allows collaboration in the "cloud" and is very sophisticated, but still approachable to the total newb (like me). It is free to students, hobbyists and small startups. It runs on pretty much any platform too.

Back to TinkerCAD.
Where this program really shines in modifying stl files that you already have, but do not have a CAD drawing of. No other CAD or graphics program can do this nearly as well (and I am talking about Meshmixer and Blender too.) Hell, with Blender you have to be an expert before you can be a beginner! It is like they are really trying to make it hard to use...
Anyway, click on the "Learn" button to get the basics and then experiment. Within a week you'll be doing some pretty good stuff.


Kits: Folgertech Kossel 2020 upgraded E3Dv6, Anet A8 upgraded E3Dv6, Tevo Tarantula enhanced parts and dual-head, TronXY X5SA Pro(E3DHemera).
Scratch: Large bed Cartesian, exchangeable heads, Linear slide Delta, Maker-Beam XL Micro Delta, 220x220CoreXY.
Re: Learning Tinkercad?
March 06, 2019 09:33AM
I often see Fusion 360 recommended, but rarely OnShape.

OnShape is my 'free' CAD of choice.

1. It is feature rich
2. It is built by a team including several developers who formerly worked on SolidWorks
3. It is entirely cloud-based.
4. Document collaboration.
5. Exports directly to STL
6. Runs inside your browser

1. More advanced features are paid only
2. Any documents you create are public and searchable (unless you pay)
3. No way to design while offline
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