Tinkercad is a popular browser-based 3D modeling tool that allows beginners to easily create 3D models for printing or other applications. Two of its most versatile features are the ready-made library of parts and the scribble tool. This comprehensive guide will teach you how to fully utilize both of these powerful assets to rapidly design and iterate on 3D objects.
An Abundance of Parts at Your Fingertips
Getting started with Tinkercad is simple – just sign up for a free account. Once inside the web app, your viewport will display the basic 3D workspace along with the parts library on the right-hand side. This library already contains hundreds of 3D models for common real-life objects sorted into useful categories like machines, electronics, and games.
To leverage these parts, you simply click and drag them onto your workspace as “building blocks” for your own creations. You can even search the library to quickly find specific items. Using these ready-made assets allows you to bypass time-consuming 3D modeling tasks like extruding, cutting, and joining – allowing you to focus on the more creative aspects of your design.
For example, let’s say you want to model a simple gear train. Rather than construct intricate gear shapes from scratch, in minutes you can snap together realistic gears of various sizes from the machine category to set gear ratios and create basic mechanisms. The parts intelligently anchor and snap to connection points on other pieces. You have total flexibility to go beyond what exists in the library and even edit the parts themselves to customize lengths, thicknesses, colors and more.
In another case, perhaps you are modeling an electronic device like a mobile phone. Instead of attempting to model all facets like screws, speakers and circuit boards which require specialized skill, you can quickly pull these completed assets from the comprehensive electronics collection. You simply arrange them spatially to build up your model. Even intricate components like circuit boards have well-defined connection points allowing you to snap wires and other pieces.
This ability to work at a higher level of abstraction enables rapid iteration critical to areas like industrial design. And it means those without deep 3D modeling expertise can participate in creating complex objects. Tinkercad combines this power with an intuitive drag-and-drop interface perfectly suited for beginners.
Scribble Away with The Scribble Tool
While Tinkercad’s library of parts has you covered for many common 3D assets, inevitably you will encounter the need to create a custom shape not already available. Enter the versatile Scribble Tool which provides a freeform way of making new 3D geometry fast.
You can easily access the Scribble Tool by clicking the icon in the navigation bar. Similar to the whiteboard apps, this opens an overlay canvas in 2D space on top of your 3D workspace. You can now use your mouse like a pen to draw any arbitrary shape. Tinkercad will automatically extrude your 2D drawing into a 3D object!
For example, you may want to make an organic shape like a curved logo pendant for 3D printing. Simply scribble out the curves needed with the pen tool and Tinkercad generates it as a 3D object which dangles from your cursor, ready to drop into your design anywhere. The resulting model even has depth, which you can modify further by stretching and pulling edges. You can rapidly visualize and populate your workspace, allowing your creativity to shine.
You aren’t limited to just organic shapes either. An incredibly useful technique is to leverage the Scribble Tool for precision modeling of hard surfaces and mechanical shapes. Say you want to model a custom phone case that perfectly fits the dimensions of your device. You can overlay your phone visually within the Tinkercad viewport and then literally trace its outline with Scribble. The result is a perfectly matching 3D enclosure ready for further refinement and export – way faster than traditional box modeling!
The Scribble Tool essentially grants you superpowers to turn 2D ideas into 3D objects instantly. And like with normal pen and paper, you can erase, tweak, and layer scribbles non-destructively to evolve your design. It’s a freedom simply not found with traditional CAD programs reliance on preset shapes. You are only limited by your own spatial thinking and creativity.
Rapid Results Powered By The Community
We’ve only scratched the surface of what you can achieve by mixing and matching parts from Tinkercad’s Library with custom scribbles to bring your visions to life. These features combined enable a rapid, iterative design process critical to fields like 3D printing, manufacturing, and industrial design. Beginners can start modeling right away without formal training, allowing more people to participate in creating 3D objects.
And as you master Tinkercad, you aren’t alone – the tool fosters an active community of over 10 million users. Be sure to tap into the public design library within Tinkercad featuring models published by other members. There you’ll find ingenious examples you can freely download, learn from, and even customize for your own projects. Share your own designs to pay it forward!
Ready to begin? Start crafting your 3D models today by signing up for a free Tinkercad account. Then launch into leveraging its abundant library of parts with the magical Scribble Tool. You’ll be amazed at what you can create!