TinkerCad is an easy to use, free 3D/CAD tool.

by rcjoseb | October 3, 2015 | (6) Posted in How To

If you have a 3D printer like I do, there comes a time when printing out pre-designed objects, like Yoda heads, are no longer suitable or fun.  Sooner or later, a custom designed part will be needed and that's when a 3D design/CAD program and some knowledge of how to use it is required.  I admit that I am terrible at using 3D/CAD applications and could never learn it due to the intimidation factor.  However that all changed when I learned to use TinkerCad.

TinkerCad is a free, online 3D/CAD application that is easy to learn once you understand the basic concept:

  • Objects, such as cubes and cylinders, can be grouped together to make new objects.
  • Objects can also be used to cut away parts of an object..

TinkerCad can be accessed via a browser at TinkerCad.com with either your Facebook, Google, Yahoo or Microsoft account.

Once signed on, all of your designs are visible on a home page.  Designs can be kept private, which means only you have access or they can be made public and published to TinkerCard or Thingiverse.

Here is a video I made introducing TinkerCad.com

The design screen uses a workplane that can be set to meters or inches and resized.  It's easier to use with a scroll mouse because the wheel allows you to zoom in our out.  The design can be rotated 360 degress on each axis for easy viewing.  Objects and tools are located to the right and there are many pre-designed objects that can be used.

Here is a video I made explaining the design screen and some basic functions.

In the picture below I combined two objects, a cube and a pryamid, to make a house.

Here is a video I made explaining the basic use of objects.

I then used a re-shaped "cut out" cube to cut out a door way through the house.

In this video I explain how to use the cutout tool and other features.

Once a design is ready, it can be dowloaded to your computer.

It can then be loaded into Cura or other 3D application for printing.

In this video I combine all of the skills covered in the previous videos to design a 10 degree arm mount for the ZMR 250 quadcopter frame.  Without TinkerCad, it would not have been possible for me to do this.


Here are the printed mounts in blue PLA.  You can probably print them in other materials, such as ABS or Nylon.  I printed them with a 66% infill, which indicates the amount of plastic used to make the piece solid.  They are quite strong.

You can download the mounts from TinkerCad at:


For my installation, the arms are being mounted underneath one of the arm plates, instead of on top.  If you wish to mount them on top, then turn the mount around 180 degrees so the orrientation is correct and then place it underneath the arm.  I was able to utilize three of the screws that come with the ZMR frame.  I swapped out the 4th screw for a longer one because of the way I wanted to mount one of the red aluminum spacers that come with the frame.

Here are the arms mounted to the frame.  If you look carefully at the arms, you can see that they are now angled upward.


If it were not for TinkerCad, I would not have been able to start creating my own designs.  I struggled with other 3D/CAD programs such as Blender and OpenJSCad because I found them too cumbersome with a very large learning curve.

I believe TinkerCad was created to meet the needs of those of us that want to design but do not have the artistic skills to do so. 

  • It's basic concept of combining and cutting objects to make new ones makes it very easy to learn.
  • It's all done online so it can be accessed from any computer with internet access.
  • It keeps track of every modification you make so mistakes can be undone easily.
  • Designs can be published to Thingiverse seamlessly.

If you would like to start creating your own 3D printed designs, I highly recommend TinkerCad.


snetty on November 12, 2015
wow, tinkercad is awesome. I've never come across a tutorial this good, I'm sure that I'll be able to use this to create plane designs.
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markyoe on October 8, 2015
I downloaded the program and then played with it. Are you using an online version?
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rcjoseb on October 8, 2015
There is no download for TinkerCad as it's all done online. The website is https://www.tinkercad.com/
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markyoe on October 9, 2015
Thanks. I figured it out.
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markyoe on October 8, 2015
Nice job! When I created an object, pressed "Design" then "Download for 3D print" and selected my pieces and .stl file, it did not start a download. Any suggestions?
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rcjoseb on October 8, 2015
Thanks. Check your download folder. Some browsers, like Firefox, will download the file without any messages. Chrome will display the file download on the lower right hand corner of the screen.
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rcjoseb on October 8, 2015
Sorry,, I meant lower left hand corner of the screen.
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TinkerCad is an easy to use, free 3D/CAD tool.