TinkerCAD is Amazing!

We just got through a week of vacation at my school, but let me backtrack a bit.

Just before February vacation one of my coworkers approached me with a broken paper cutter. The assemblies that held the blade for cutting kept breaking and she had gone through several. “Is there any way you could, by chance, make a replacement on the 3D printer?”

Hesitantly I said I hope so, but not to expect much! I hadn’t made any significant 3D designs on my own since some undergraduate coursework, and the piece had several specific features and measurements to make. It had to safely hold the razor and allow another piece of plastic clip on then screw on for safety. What’s more, there are two feet that have to bend when pressure is applied. With only about an hour’s experience with TinkerCAD under my belt, I set to work!

3 hours later I had the design for a working prototype. 1 hour to print then 15 more minutes of corrections and I had the design for the final print. Meet the Spectacular Ambertis!  (TinkerCAD auto-names your files some funky gibberish)

tinkercad1tinkercad-2

Compared with other software, TinkerCAD is phenomenally easy to use! It is all about shape manipulation. You can enter new dimensions for your shapes to resize them. Drag two together and “Group”: voila they’ve been merged!

The craziest thing is I didn’t realize they had an “Align” feature to help center your objects until I was 90% through making the design. For a first effort, it didn’t come out half bad.

Now, my suggestion for anyone interested in TinkerCAD is to find an angular object, simple but not too simple, and spend an hour clicking around trying to replicate it. A stick of Chapstick, bad idea since it’s just a cylinder! A wrench or pencil, now you’re talking! It might seem overwhelming at first but start simple… yet big.

What is the most basic and predominant feature of the object? Can you replicate that? What would be the #2 feature, and can you add that? Keep at it and even if your design doesn’t come through you’ll have learned a lot on TinkerCAD’s functions to succeed next time. When in doubt, you can always look to YouTube for tutorials to get you started.

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