Tinkercad screenshot. Source: Tinkercad
Tinkercad screenshot. Source: Tinkercad

March 23, 2013 was a sad day for the hundreds of loyal fans of Tinkercad. The company announced that this very popular internet-based CAD program was facing a slow death and would be completely abandoned by the end of the year. Tinkercad closed its doors leaving its loyal fans devastated and distraught. However, on May 18, Kai Backman announced that Tinkercad would once again see the light of day due to acquisition by Autodesk. 

Kai Backman, founder and CEO of Tinkercad, made the following statement, “I am happy to announce that we have just signed a deal where Autodesk will purchase the Tinkercad site and core technologies. This is a great day for all Tinkercad users. Autodesk is a very enthusiastic and capable steward. There are two main impacts of this deal: the site is fully operational and Autodesk has some very exciting plans for Tinkercad.” 1

Backman continued, “The shutdown plan has been rolled back and effective immediately new users are again able to sign up for the site. Even better, at the request of Autodesk, we have supercharged the free plan. You can now create unlimited designs, all import and export functionality is enabled and ShapeScripts are turned on for free accounts. We have automatically upgraded all existing free accounts to this new powerful plan. This account will be offered for a limited time only so make sure you sign up as soon as possible.”2

One might ask what all of the hullabaloo is about? What exactly is Tinkercad? Why would one want to take advantage of the opportunity to open a FREE “supercharged” account?

Kai Backman created Tinkercad, an internet-based computer automated design (CAD) program after several years of using the unwieldy CAD programs that were available at the time. He decided to provide a different experience for future 3D artists. His vision was “to make 3D design in general, and the design of physical items in particular, accessible to hundreds of millions of people.”3

Click HERE to read an interview by Timothy Dahl with Kai Backman, founder of Tinkercad.

Tinkercad is the place where 3 dimensional models can be created and prepared for print on a 3D printer with relative ease. Tinkercad can also be used to create designs for architectural models, 2D drawings, laser cutting and other forms of creative expression

It is very easy to become a member of this growing community. First, an individual must open up an account by going to Tinkercad.com.

1.      Click on the Sign Up for FREE Account in the top right hand corner of the main screen.

2.      Fill in the form by supplying Name, Email Address, password of choice and birth date.

3.      Click on the blue Sign Up button in the bottom right hand corner.

Note: Google Chrome 10 and Mozilla Firefox4 are the browsers that work well with Tinkercad.

Once an account is created the user has the opportunity to participate in several excellent tutorials. These tutorials are presented in a sequential manner, teaching different skills that build one upon the other. Some of the 3D models created in these lessons are glasses, cufflinks, a key ring, luggage tag and a chess pawn. At any time the option to venture into a personal project is available. 

Tinkercad is definitely a great choice for learning how to create in a 3D environment. The tutorials minimize the learning curve and assist the user in becoming proficient at creating a printable object in a short amount of time. Finally, the Tinkercad community is very supportive to the newcomer as well as the seasoned 3D artist.