Guide to the basics of 3D modeling. Introduction to Autodesk Tinkercad

I have been fond of 3D printing for a long time and at first it was interesting to download finished models from Tingivers or Maminifactory, they were mainly decorative items or widely used parts. But what if you need a replacement for the leg of your favorite chair, an unusual stand for a gamepad / flashlight / phone, or a case for some kind of homemade product? That’s right, learn to model. Of course, you can immediately start with Fusion 360, a powerful and free home application, but it is not so easy to learn and most of those who want it are quickly eliminated, so I suggest starting with its younger brother tinkercad‘a

To get started, no software installation is required, all manipulations are performed in the browser. We follow the link, click «join», then «create a personal account», in the last step I used the login with my google account, which noticeably speeded up the process

After entering, we are greeted by a window with a list of recent projects, click «create a new project»

A window will load with a work plane, a minimum number of tools at the top and shapes on the right

By dragging the desired element onto the plane, you can change its size and position relative to the surface, some objects have additional parameters in the properties, such as the number of segments, smoothing, etc., the shape changes in real time during the correction, so it turns out quite visually

It will not work here to draw a complex shape, so you have to use a system of bodies and holes, as well as a small set of tools in the upper right corner:

  1. Copy(Ctrl+C) — copy one or more objects, hotkeys are supported
  2. Insert(Ctrl + V) — paste the previously copied object, including projects opened in neighboring tabs
  3. Copy and repeat(Ctrl+D) — create a duplicate of the selected objects in the current project window
  4. Delete(Del) — delete selected objects
  5. Left Arrow(Ctrl + Z) — allows you to roll back in the history of changes if something went wrong
  6. Right Arrow(Ctrl + Y) — moves to the last changes
  7. group – combines models into one, while “sintering” intersecting surfaces and as a result we get a monolithic part that can be further edited
  8. Ungroup — again divides the model into components so that you can edit a separate part without affecting others
  9. align — at the same time a simple and very useful tool that allows you to shift models relative to each other along three axes with alignment at the edges or center. Need to make a small square hole exactly in the center of a freeform model? No problem, a couple of clicks and the details are in the right places, after which you can move them manually if necessary
  10. Mirror — everything is logical here, we select the model, the desired plane and get a mirror image. It is convenient when plans for the placement of elements change during design and you don’t want to redraw everything from scratch. You can also quickly create cases consisting of two halves with symmetrical fasteners and grooves for fixing the filling, just create a duplicate of the model and reflect in the right direction
  11. Selecting an object type — allows you to select which operation will be performed during grouping, adding or subtracting at the intersections of models. A kind of analogue of the operations «boss» and «cut» in older brothers

Well, now I’ll try to fix all this in practice. For example, I need a through hole exactly in the middle of the cube. I simply create a cylinder of the desired diameter and height, select both objects with the «align» center them on the x and y axes, then select the cylinder and redefine it as a hole

In order for our objects to “sinter” and the holes become holes, just select them and click the “Group” button

In the same way, you can remove the excess part of the part, and not just gnaw out pieces. For example, I need a small cylinder on one side to connect with other parts. You can create two cylinders of different diameters, define the inner one as a hole, pull them up to the top of the cube and merge the three shapes. And you can duplicate our cube, increase it in size to obtain the required outer diameter, define it as a hole

Align to the center of the main model, raise to the desired height and merge the two objects. Just a dozen clicks

You also need a small cutout at the top. We throw a cube, spitting it, center it, lift it, group it

The main thing here is to have at least a little developed spatial thinking in order to understand how to make a complex shape out of several simple ones. At first I did not succeed well, but over time I began to imagine what needs to be done even before I started the service. Moreover, this skill later came in handy in more complex programs.

There is also text in the main shapes, so you can model various tags, key rings, signs, etc. very easily. In addition, the service allows you to import your own models for editing, so you can sign them for memory.

Let’s stretch the cube up to 100*100mm and flatten it up to 5mm, this will be the base. Next, you need to click on the «Text» object and drag it with the mouse to the desired location.

There are not very many parameters here, there is support for Cyrillic. Well, then on the knurled. Align, define as a body or hole and merge, thereby obtaining either a raised inscription or a stencil

You can also raise the text layer a little if you need to drown it a little.

Started on a square platform, and in the process decided that an oval body would look better? Not a poll, we put on a “pipe”, select the size, convert it into a hole and combine it with the main model — done

To download the finished model, you must click «Export», select the desired format, for example «stl» and the resulting file can be safely fed to the slicer or any other program

It also supports the import of models for quick correction, for example, to correct the scale, make a couple of holes or cut off a piece of wall that interferes with the transformer

The service is quite easy to learn, so I recommend that all beginners start with it, and after you develop spatial thinking, more complex programs will be easier to master. Of course, the tinkercad looks rather poor, in the set of tools there is only the most necessary — we can say that this is such a paint among CAD systems, but it will be more difficult for a beginner to get confused in it, and simple projects can be done much faster than in full-fledged modeling programs. For example, I put on a dial for a frameless watch in a laptop in a couple of minutes, during which time I could only turn on the computer and start Fusion

And not so long ago, a library of electronic components was added, so it became even easier to design housings for homemade products, because. it is clearly seen in what places the elements will rest against the walls, where it is necessary to place the fixing elements, to arrange everything more densely.

There is also a section of the shape generator, with which you can quickly design gears, threads and much more, although this will lead to another full-fledged article, and I don’t even know if anyone will be interested in such material at all, but I hope that at least someone helped me take the first steps in learning something new)

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