This article will cover the basics of creating 3D models within TinkerCAD. For help with other features and design tips, we may have another article covering the issue, otherwise refer to TinkerCAD lessons or support.
First, you must create an account for TinkerCAD. It is quick and easy to do, and will ensure that anything you create can be accessed from anywhere. If this is your first time logging in, you will be prompted to complete some beginner tutorials. You might like to complete these tutorials straight away, otherwise you can access them later if you decide to get straight into designing your own models.
Clicking on the TinkerCAD logo will take you to the home screen, where all of your designs will appear for future access.
From the home screen, click on 'create new design', which opens up a new workplane that will look like this:
This is where you will begin to construct your 3D models! Get started by simply dragging one of the pre-made shapes onto the workplane.
Remember to think of these shapes as real world objects in how they are sized, oriented and placed on or above the workplane.
Each shape will have its own menu that will appear when it is selected, where you can edit its size and properties. Experiment with these tools to create new shapes!
Resizing and scaling
To change the length, width or height of the shape you have created, select the shape to reveal five white boxes; one in each corner and one at the top of the object. Use the four corners to increase/decrease the width and length of an object, or use the white box in the middle to increase/decrease the height of an object.
You may notice that a box with a number in it may appear for each side when being modified. This is the length of each axis in millimetres. Clicking on these boxes will allow you to type in your own number for accurate measurements down to 0.01mm.
To scale all sides equally at the same time, hold down the shift key and then drag any of the white boxes like normal. Keep the shift key held down until you are finished scaling. If you would like an accurate measurement on one side, start by scaling the model and type in your measurement on a side that you choose.
You may have noticed a black triangle appearing when you select an object. This can be used to move an object above or below the workplane. Similar to the size modifiers, you can type in a custom height, accurate down to 0.01 millimetres.
When a model is selected, a rotation tool will appear for each axis. Click and drag on the arrow icons to rotate your model, using the compass as a guide. Similar to the other modifiers, you can type in a custom rotation, accurate down to 0.01 degree.
Once a model is selected, the flip tool will be highlighted in the top right portion of the screen. When you click this button (or press M), a set of arrows will appear for each axis, which will flip the selected model when clicked. The result will be a mirror image of its previous appearance.
Once a model is selected, the align tool will be highlighted in the top right portion of the screen. When you click this button (or press L), a set of black dots will appear for each axis. These dots act like the align tools in Microsoft Word or Google Docs. Click the relevant dot for the alignment you need.
To combine two or more shapes together, make sure you have positioned each object to where you want it to be and click/drag a box over the shapes you want to combine. You can also press CTRL+A to select all shapes. Once selected, click on the group button in the top right section of the screen, or press CTRL+G. Grouped objects will look like a singular object with one colour. You can ungroup the shapes later if need to by clicking on the ungroup button, or pressing CTRL+shift+G.
In an objects menu, you have the option of making it a solid or a 'hole'. A 'hole' object works exactly the same as a solid, but will carve out a hole of that shape when grouped with solid objects.