TinkerCAD is a popular software that many people use to create 3D models, but people wonder whether it’s good for 3D printing. I decided to write an article answering this question as well as other related questions.
Keep on reading for more information about 3D printing with TinkerCAD.
Is TinkerCAD Good for 3D Printing?
Yes, TinkerCAD is a good software for 3D printing, especially for beginners. It was made to be a simple software that can create 3D objects using a drag and drop interface. You don’t need any prior design knowledge or experience to use TinkerCAD for 3D printing, and you can create unique models with ease.
TinkerCAD is one of the very few CAD software that is very easy to use. It allows you to design and create solid 3D objects really quickly. You can choose a variety of ready templates such as basic geometrical shapes like boxes, cylinders, spheres etc.
There’s also another view where you can get more unique shapes to start your designs from by selecting the menu from “Basic Shapes”.
There are other features such as 3D texts, numbers, letters, character design and more. You can also modify the designs on this platform very easily using different parameters like radius, smoothness, length, width etc.
The software is definitely beginner-friendly as the design process is step-by-step and there are so many tutorials for help.
Here’s a simple model I created in a couple of minutes using the cube, then changing its dimensions, adding some text and a ring shape.
A 3D printer user specifically mentioned how easy it is to use TinkerCAD for 3D modeling and how helpful those starter and tutorial videos are. The user goes on to compare TinkerCAD with SketchUp and praised TinkerCAD for being the easier of the two to live with.
Another user also said that he isn’t someone who has sound technical knowledge. He was using SketchUp, and though SketchUp was good, he got frustrated with it as he couldn’t do simple things like making a 2 x 4 model.
Though it is possible he couldn’t figure it out at first. You can actually type in dimensions within TinkerCAD to create objects to scale. Watching a tutorial of TinkerCAD would have solved this problem for him.
TinkerCAD follows constructive solid geometry (CSG), which is a unique process. If you want to create complex designs with this software, you can begin with a simple geometric shape. Then, you can add more shapes and layers to it.
If you want precision and really complex designs, I wouldn’t recommend using TinkerCAD, but for other simple projects, it can work great.
One user mentioned that TinkerCAD isn’t good for organic modeling for objects that have flowy curves like plants, trees and similar objects because they can be tedious to develop.
You can design a lot of things in TinkerCAD but it has certain limitations. If you want to create some moving parts that are extremely precise, it won’t be the best software. Still, for your average design requirements, it will be more than adequate.
What Are the Advantages & Disadvantages of TinkerCAD?
Advantages of TinkerCAD
- Can be used without prior modeling experience. You can start your journey of 3D modeling and printing with this software.
- The software is available for free. All you need is a desktop or a laptop and a steady internet connection to download it and get started.
- Ready templates like geometrical shapes, letters, texts etc. for easy modeling right from the start.
- The step-by-step drag-and-drop constructive solid geometry technique of TinkerCAD makes it one of the easiest CAD software out there. You can get a hang of it very quickly.
- There’s a growing community of TinkerCAD designers who can help aspiring TinkerCAD designers. The number of TinkerCAD resources grow rapidly as time goes on.
Disadvantages of TinkerCAD
- TinkerCAD isn’t the ideal CAD software for professionals and doesn’t work too well for creating complex sculpts
- The app is cloud-based, so the overall performance of the app depends on the Internet speed. Many users face problems due to this.
- Resolution of objects aren’t very high due to the nature of this type of designing
TinkerCAD vs Fusion 360
TinkerCAD and Fusion 360 are great for designing objects, but both have their pros and cons. TinkerCAD is great for simple objects that can be created quickly for 3D printing. It’s easy to learn and get started with. Fusion 360 is a higher level software, but with a bigger learning curve.
The choice really does depend on the user’s requirements and project needs.
Many users seem to prefer Fusion 360 due to its advanced tools. There are more options for creating unique complex models with Fusion 360 when compared to the basic functionalities of TinkerCAD.
Fusion 360 is CAD software that caters to the needs of professional designers.
A user preferred Fusion 360 over TinkerCAD just because it has more functionality. He said if you like creating from the ground up, go for Fusion 360 hands-down. On the other hand, if you want basic shapes, and less complexity, go for TinkerCAD.
If you want to create more intricate designs or prototypes, Fusion 360 is the right choice.
Another Fusion 360 user says he still reaches out to TinkerCAD once in a while for a quick basic project. So, there is definitely a learning curve involved with Fusion 360 where TinkerCAD enjoys its credibility as a simple 3D modeling software.
Another difference between the two is the platform. TinkerCAD is fully cloud-based, but Fusion 360 is a desktop app with cloud-based functionalities.
Fusion 360 comes with some amazing modeling tools. These tools are so powerful that you can create complex designs and mechanical parts with precision. And the history tree makes it easy to edit the designs. You don’t get any sort of history-tree with TinkerCAD, but you can undo + redo.
TinkerCAD is good for younger designers with limited knowledge and access.
There are plenty of useful tutorials for learning Fusion 360. With a few hours of practice in Fusion 360, you’ll be able to get a basic handle of it, while TinkerCAD would only require about 5-10 minutes of playing around with it to get a handle of it.
How to Make a 3D Model on TinkerCAD
Here’s how you can make a 3D model on TinkerCAD:
- First, you need to go to TinkerCAD and create a new user account.
- Then, choose 3D Designs (on the left of the screen) > Create new design.
- You’ll get a blank workplace where you can create your designs. You can choose the desired shapes from the right panel.
- Select a shape or series of shapes, then adjust them in size and location to build up an object.
- Once the 3D design is ready, you need to export the file to create the 3D model.
- Select the Export button at the top right of the screen
- Select .stl format and your file will be automatically downloaded.
Your STL file can be dragged into your slicer or imported to start the 3D printing process.
Here is a great tutorial video on TinkerCAD.