Success written on a chalkboard. Source:  Roobcio/
Success written on a chalkboard. Source: Roobcio/

Tinkercad is a free 3D design program built for beginners to 3D modeling. You can sign up for an account for free and begin designing. It is simple to use and you can create designs by dragging and dropping shapes.

When making your design, make sure that you view it from several angles to ensure that the shapes are actually attached. You’d be surprised at how often your shapes are not actually attached. Tinkercad saves your design automatically. You can also click on Design > Save. To change the name of your file, click on Design > Properties. Here, you can change the name, the visibility (private or public), and the license type (to allow others to edit). 

Once you’re done designing, the next steps for 3D printing your designs are simple. Here are the steps to 3D print your design for the Afinia 3D printer:

  • On the homepage, click on your design
  • Click Download for 3D Printing
  • Save as an STL file
  • Note: The Afinia only reads STL files
  • Turn on the Afinia
  • Open the Afinia software
  • Click File > Open
  • Select your design
  • Click 3D Printing > Initialize
  • Allow the print bed to heat up to at least 90º
  • Note: This may take up to an hour
  • Click Print

Note: With the Afinia, it is helpful to place a box over the printer so that the print bed remains heated. The Afinia at times has trouble maintaining the maximum heat on the print bed unless it is covered.

Then simply wait for your design to 3D print and enjoy your model!