GUIDE: TinkerCAD

TinkerCAD is a free website that allows for quick prototyping using basic shapes and masks. If you’re not familiar with 3D software like Maya or Blender, it can be a great tool to better prepare your model prepared for printing.

This is targetted towards newbies to the 3D modeling/printing world. There are definitely more robust programs out there that can accomplish the same results.

 

Chapters

i. Separating Larger Models for Smaller Print Beds

ii. Adding Room For Pins or Magnets

iii. Making a Moldbox

 

i. Separating Larger Models For Smaller Print Beds

Just because a model is larger than your print bed, doesn’t mean it’s out of your reach. Splitting models into parts is a viable option to achieve large scale prints without a large printer.

Import (top right) the model you want to split.

Select the see-through rectangle found on the right sidebar.

 

Decide how many pieces you want your model to be split into. For this example I’m going to split it into three parts. I added 3 rectangles

 

Make 3 copies of  the same object, masking out a different area on each one.

 

Group the objects (Ctrl/Cmd + G) until you have 1 of each desired piece.

 

Now you have 3 separate pieces that fit on your bed! Note: sometimes the print will need to be rotated 90° in your slicer software.

 

If splitting a model into parts, I reccomend adding pegs. You can use the same technique I showed above to accomplish this. Just use an alpha rectangle to cut out parts, while saving the original as the peg.

 

This technique also works for splitting models horizontally as well. If a print has tons of overhang or fine detail, splitting it so it’ll be flush with the printer bed might be ideal.

 

Duplicate the model (Alt + move or copy/paste) and repeat the process, but drag the top to the opposite section. Now there are two mirrored sword pieces that lie flat.

 

ii. Adding Room For Pins or Magnets

If you’re like me, 3D printing is the first step of many when it comes to making props. Sometimes you’ll need to optimize the 3D model to cater your needs. You can use any number of pin sizes so long you measure first. TinkerCAD does provide a grid with inches (or mm by default). For this particular model, I needed a 10mm opening to make room for a pin.

 

 

 

Place the cylinder underneath where you’d like to place the backing.

 

Hit Control + G to group the mask with the model. You should see now see a cutout of the shape.

 

Print it out to see if it’s a good fit!

 

iii. Making a Moldbox

Take a screenshot of the top view of the model. It doesn’t have to be precise. First step is to make an SVG outline of the shape you’re wanting to mold. Make sure there’s ample room on the sides to allow the silicone to roll slowly and evenly.

 

Import the file to TinkerCAD. Select the shape and extrude upwards to your desired height (square under the top arrow).

 

Export and print! Now you’re ready to mold.

 

 

These are just some examples of how you can use Autodesk’s TinkerCAD. Hopefully it’ll help you with your next project.

 

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