Learn to Create 3D Designs With Tinkercad | Andy O'Neill | Skillshare

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Learn to Create 3D Designs With Tinkercad

teacher avatar Andy O'Neill, Tech Educator

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

20 Lessons (45m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Get Set Up in Tinkercad

    • 3. Creating a Project

    • 4. Introduction to Primitives

    • 5. Using the Camera

    • 6. Manipulate Primitives

    • 7. Copy and Pasting Primitives

    • 8. Scaling Primitives

    • 9. Grouping Primitives

    • 10. Using Holes

    • 11. The Align Tool

    • 12. Your First Project

    • 13. Making a Keychain: Optional Follow Along Video

    • 14. The Ruler

    • 15. Editing the Grid

    • 16. The Plane Tool

    • 17. Your Final Project

    • 18. Final Project: Optional Follow Along Video

    • 19. Exporting Your Project

    • 20. Congratulations!

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About This Class

If you are interested in learning how to design 3D objects and do not know where to start, this course is for you. 

Designed for beginners, this course breaks down each step of creating a 3D model using Tinkercad, a free online software.

This course includes two projects which you will fully customize.

Meet Your Teacher

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Andy O'Neill

Tech Educator




My name is Andy and for the past 3 years I have traveled throughout the United States to teach technology to educators. 


I have led professional development workshops on topics such as 3D Design, 3D Printing, Arduino programming, Game Development, and more!


Teaching has become a passion and I hope it shows in my work.  So, I am converting my expertise into online course material so that I can share my knowledge with a larger audience.  In a world where technology is always changing, the most important skill I hope to pass on to my students is the ability to adapt.


I currently reside in the Washington DC area, and my favorite place to travel so far is Lisbon, Portugal.

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1. Introduction: welcome to this online course on learning three D design with Tinker Cat. My name is Andy and I'll be your instructor. I have been teaching three d design professionally a little over three years now, and I'm very excited to start teaching online with this course. There are three reasons why I chose Tinker Cad for this course. One. It's very beginner friendly. So if you've never touched three D design before then you have nothing to worry about to its powerful. Once you master the basics of Tinker Cat, you'll be able to create endless designs and models. Three. It's free. By the end of this course, you will have the tools and the know how to create professional three D designs. To get the most out of this course at the end of each video takes some time to practise the techniques that we went over. It's important to pace yourself and be comfortable with the tools and techniques before moving on. Now to take your first step, open your Internet browser and go to tinker cat dot com. I'll see you in the next video 2. Get Set Up in Tinkercad: to get started in Tinker Cat, the first thing we need to do is to create a Tinker Cat account. If you've already created an account, please skip this section now to create an account. We just need to go to tinker cadd dot com, And this will take you to the home screen, which will look like this to create an account. Click on the join now button in the top right corner, fill out the following information, and once you're done filling out, the information to create an account will be taken to a home screen, which will look a little bit like this on the center of the screen. You'll see your project dashboard. This will show you all of your recent projects when you first start out, this is going to look fairly blank, but that's OK. We'll fill it up with designs Pretty shortly on the left side of the screen, you can see the different project types. We have three D designs, circuits and lessons. We're just going to be focusing on three D designs in the top right corner on the learned tab. Tinker Cad has a lot of built in tutorials and project lessons. These are great supplements to these videos. Now on, no matter what page you're on and tinker Cad, you can always return to your project dashboard by clicking on the Tinker cad logo in the top left corner. So now that you've created an account, you're ready to start designing. 3. Creating a Project: to create a project and tinker cad navigate to the create new design button located in the project dashboard. When you click on the create new design button, you'll be taken to the Project Work Plane. The center of the screen will show you the Project Work plane, which is where we will be manipulating our design. Tinker Cat has a random name generator, which can produce some pretty goofy names. This one is dazzling to Melo AM or to Melo. A more that, however, you would like to interpret that To change this name, simply click on it and type in whatever you would like. The project to be called nice and simple. On the right side of the screen, you'll see the different shapes that you can use in your project. These are called primitives. To bring a primitive onto the work plane you'd simply left click hold and drag onto the work plane. You can bring on as many primitives as you like. Now go ahead and click on the Tinker Cattle logo in the top left corner. Clicking on the logo will bring you back to your project dashboard, where you can now see that this new project has been added by clicking on the image of the project, you'll be taken to the Project summary screen, which will show you the name of the project as well as an image of the project. You can also view the project in three D by clicking on view in three D By clicking and dragging, you can manipulate the camera to view your three D model. To get back to the project work plane for a project, hover over the image and click on Tinker This. This will bring you back to the project Work plane. Now that you know how to create a project you can make is many designs as you desire. 4. Introduction to Primitives: Let's take a look at some of the basic shapes that are available to you right from the get go and tinker cat. The shapes available to you right away can be found on the right side of the screen. You can scroll down to see more. Among these. We'll see box sphere roof cone text. If you drag out in the properties, which can be found by clicking this little arrow, you can change the actual text here by typing and what you'd like to say. You can also change the font as well as text. There are many other, more complicated designs at the bottom, but everything you see here is under the basic shapes. Drop down. If you click on basic shapes, you can go down to text and numbers characters and for more complicated designs. Connectors. The default shapes that are available to you can be pretty fun to experiment with. 5. Using the Camera: So now that you've created a project, the most important thing you can learn is how to manipulate the camera. About 80 to 85% of the issues that I've run into when teaching Tinker cad have been solved just by adjusting the camera angle. So the way we manipulate the camera is through this view cube in the top left corner by simply clicking on any area of the View cube. The camera will move itself to that position, so I click on the bottom. Here you'll see the bottom of the pyramid. You can also click hold and dragged the View cube to manually move the camera to the position that you like it to be in. If you're using a physical mouse by holding down the scroll wheel on top of the work plane and moving left, right or dragon, whichever direction you So please, it will move the camera in that direction by holding down right click and dragging on the plane. You can physically tilt the camera angle to whichever angle you desire. If your camera gets all out of the way and you have no idea how to return, say it's something crazy like this, you can always click on the home button on the left side of the screen. Clicking the home button will return to the default view. If you'd like to focus the camera on a specific object, say my pyramid is over here and I'd like to focus the camera on the pyramid by selecting the object with left click and selecting the second square button right here. It will fit to view so that the camera will always be centered on your object and that that's how you manipulate the camera. 6. Manipulate Primitives: Let's take a look at how to manipulate an object First Dragon box onto the work plane. There are three primary techniques to manipulate an object you can stretch, move and rotate to stretch an object, you'll use the white and black squares that are around the edges. The white squares are used to stretch an object from a corner to stretch. Simply click hold and drag one of these squares. The black squares will stretch an object using Onley. The edge and the Middle White Square will stretch the height of an object. Another way of manipulating objects would be to use the object properties dropped down. Once you've selected an object in the top right corner, you'll see this little arrow button. Clicking on this arrow will reveal the object properties. By adjusting the sliders, you can change different parts of the object, including the length with and height. This is just one way to be more precise. You can also select the numbers and type in a precise measurement to move an object, select anywhere that's not one of these squares and drag the object. An alternative would be to use the arrow keys to move an object up and down, as in adjust the height position. Maneuver the camera so that you're viewing the object from the side. You'll then see a black cone on top of the object. You can click and hold this to move the height position. If you need to move the object to be perfectly in line with the plane, simply select the D key. You can think of D as drop, so no matter where your object is selecting, D will always bring it back. To rotate an object, we will use these three curvy arrows that you'll see on either side of the object. If you don't see all three, you may need to manipulate the camera so that you can see them. Each set of curvy arrows will rotate the object on a different axis by clicking, holding and dragging. You can rotate the object When your mouse is on the inside of the circle of dotted lines. The object will rotate in 22.5 degree increments. When the mouse is on the outside of the circle, you can rotate in one degree increments. Each curvy arrow operates in the same way, so using all three you can rotate the object toe any orientation that you'd like it to be in when manipulating an object. It's really important to use the View Cube to manipulate the camera so that you can see the adjustments that you're making, and that is how you manipulate primitives. 7. Copy and Pasting Primitives: Another useful technique is to use the copy and paste function. This is good for duplicating objects to copy. First, select the object you wish to copy. Now on your keyboard. Select control. See you can then click anywhere and click on Control V. This will create a duplicate object. 8. Scaling Primitives: when designing and tinker Cad. Sometimes you want to increase or decrease the size of a shape without screwing up its ratio. Here's what I mean, if I want to make this pyramid bigger, if I try and stretch it and increase it, it's not going to look exactly the same to scale proportionally. Hold down the shift key and click and drag any one of the white boxes. This will scale both up and down. You're shaped proportionally. 9. Grouping Primitives: So now that you're comfortable manipulating individual shapes, let's learn how to take multiple shapes and combine them into one object. This is going to take our designs to the next level and make them a little bit more complicated. Let's get into it. So to combine shapes into one object will first need multiple shapes on our work plane. For this example, I've brought out a cube and a sphere, but this will work for any of the shapes on the side. So to combine these two shapes in tow one object we first need to select them both. There are multiple ways to select two objects. The first way would be to click on one, hold down the shift key and click on the other. An alternative way of selecting both would be to hold down left, click outside of the shapes and drag over both of the shapes. Anything inside the box will be selected. Once left, click has been released. Once you have both shapes selected to combine until one object, we're going to use a button in the top right corner called the Group Button. This is the button that looks like a square and a circle combined. Once we click on that button, you'll notice that the sphere has changed to the same color as the Cube. This is because Tinker Cat now views thes two shapes as one object. So if I were to select, I can manipulate these two shapes as one object toe ungroomed an object back into its original shapes. Select the object and then click on the ungroomed button, which is the circle and square separated. And now these shapes are back to their original form and to combine them again on the drag , select the objects in group. So now take a few minutes to drag some shapes out and group them and see what kind of funky designs you can make. 10. Using Holes: along with an object. We also have holes on the left. You'll see a regular box on the right. You'll see a box that is a whole. Any object can be switched back and forth between an object and a whole. The way you do so is by selecting an object going to the property section in the top, right? Just a reminder. You may need to click this arrow to drop down the properties, and then you'll see the option to change from a solid to a whole or from a hole to a solid simply click on which one you'd like your object to be. I noticed that when I clicked on whole object turned into a hole. Now I can click on this one. Turn it into a solid holes are used for removing parts of an object. For example, if I click and drag this whole to be overlapping with my box, I can use the group tool to cut away part of that box. You can also drag either a box or cylinder hole from the basic shapes, but any of these objects can be turned into a hole by using holes along with the group tool . You can make very unique shapes 11. The Align Tool: the next tool will be learning is theologian Tool. The align tool is incredibly effective when adding a next level of precision to your designs. An example where we would need to use the Align tool is if we were to create a ring from scratch using what we know now we know that we can take a cylinder and a cylinder hole, and by combining both, we could create a ring. However, doing this by hand makes it very difficult to perfectly center the hole in the middle. This is where the aligned tool comes in handy. To use the align tool, you'll need to select multiple objects. For this example, we only have two, but you can align more than two objects. Once you've selected both objects, the a lion tool icon will become available to you in the top right corner. This looks like two horizontal bars next to a vertical line. Clicking this button will cause a series of black dots to appear around your design. Rotating the camera can reveal more black dots. Each black dot represents an axis that you can align both shapes to. For example, if I selected the bottom left dot both objects would align to the left. The same would happen on the right. Because we're trying to create a ring, I'm going to want to align it to the center. I can now rotate and align it to the center from this angle as well. Once both center dots have been grayed out that I know that these shapes are perfectly aligned for other projects. You may want to use the vertical A liners as well. These were just align your shapes up and down the height axis. Once my ring is properly aligned, I can go ahead and group. I now have a perfectly centered ring, and that is how you use the online tool. Now that you know how to use the align tool, go ahead and try and create a ring of your own. Please be as creative as you'd like with this, as long as the whole is centered in the middle 12. Your First Project: So now it's time for your first project. For your first project, you're going to create a custom key chain. The only two requirements for this project are the key chain needs one word and any kind of decorative element. I'll also be making one. So you have the option of following along. Have fun tinkering. 13. Making a Keychain: Optional Follow Along Video: 14. The Ruler: Now that you're comfortable with the Aligned Tool, let's take a look at the Ruler tool, which is located in the top right corner above Tinker Cad. Basic shapes. Go ahead and click and drag out the ruler tool and just drop it anywhere on the work plane with the ruler tool. If we select an object, we can now see the exact measurements of each dimension. The default unit for these measurements are millimeters. However, you can change this two inches, which I will go over in another video. So using the ruler tool, I can see that the width of this object is 55 millimeters. The length is 55 millimeters. The height is 20. The number that's next to the height is the distance. The object is from the work plane because this object is flat against the work plane. This is at zero. However, if I were to use the black cone here and I dragged this object up, you can see how high above the work plane this object is. It works the same way if I put it below the work plane again. If you ever need to make your object flat against the work plane. You only need to select the D key. All of these dimensions can also be edited toe. Edit any of these measurements, click on the number and type in what you would like it to be. This allows you to take your designs and create them to your exact specifications. The bottom two numbers 15 and 15. Here are the distance The object is from the corner of the ruler. You can change whether this distance is measured by the end point, so the end of the object or the midpoint the middle of the object. When you're done using the ruler tool, you can click on the X button to dismiss ruler. 15. Editing the Grid: At this point, you probably are getting a bit more comfortable with the basics of Tinker Cat, and you're probably ready to start making your own designs. The next thing we're going to talk about is how to adjust the default settings of the work plain and something called the Snap grid. This isn't as interesting as the rest of the material in this series. So as a reward for getting through this part at the end of this video, I have a special guest star. I'll see you at the end in Tinker Cad, the default work plane is set to millimeters. So whenever you see a number when you're hovering over these boxes, or if you're using the ruler tool, these numbers will be millimeters. So this cube is 22 by 22 millimeters. To change the default settings, you can go to the edit grid button in the bottom right corner. From here, you can change the units from millimeters to inches by clicking update grid. Everything will now be shown in inches. You can also change the default size of the work plane, so the default size is 200 by 200 millimeters. That is if you have it in millimeters, you can change the size by manually changing these numbers, or you could set it to it different. Preset Tinker Cat has many different presets, for if you're working with a specific three D printer to change it back to the default, simply click on the presets dropped down and at the top you can click on default and then update grid. Below the edit grid button, you'll see something called the snap grid. The default is set toe one millimeter. The snap grid is the smallest increment that your object can move. So currently, if I were to use the left and right arrow keys on the selected object, it can only move one millimeter to the left and to the right or up and down. If you need to use finer precision with your object, you can change this to a smaller number. If I said it 2.1, my movements are going to be much smaller. Alternatively, you could make it a bigger number, and now things will snap five millimeters at a time. For most projects, the default settings will do just fine. Okay, as promised, Here is your special guest star 16. The Plane Tool: Now let's take a look at the work plane tool. The work plane tool is located right next to the ruler tool in the top right corner of the screen. The work plane tool is useful for many different things, but it's especially effective when you'd like to put a design on one of your objects. For example, let's say I want to put a star on this pyramid, scroll down to find the star shape, but when I drag it out, it's always going to go flat against the default work plane. So in order to get the star on the pyramid, I would have to first raise it and then try and rotate it to be where I'd like it. The work plane tool allows us to do this in a much easier way. The work plane tool allows you to change the default work plane by clicking, holding and dragging. I can select any face of an object to be my default work plane. When you've changed the default work plane, the color will change from blue toe orange. You can also see that it's at a different angle. So now watch what happens when I try and bring out the star the stars now moving up and down along this new work plane so I can let go right in the middle. And now star is perfectly on the pyramid to bring your work plane back to the default, drag another work plane out to the open and let go. Now you can see I have a pyramid with star exactly the way I want it. And that is how you use the work plane tool. 17. Your Final Project: So now it's time for your final project. Your challenge is to use every technique you've learned so far to create a custom business card holder for yourself. This business card holder has three requirements. One it needs to be able to hold a standard stack of 3.5 by two inch business cards to It needs to have your name on it somewhere. Three. It needs toe. Have a creative element that represents you. I will also be creating one and I will be recording myself. Do it! You don't have to watch it. But if you need some inspiration, you're welcome. Toe watch me do mine. 18. Final Project: Optional Follow Along Video: 19. Exporting Your Project: Now let's go over what to do with your design when you're done. When you export your design, you can export it for different things. For three D printing to important into a different software, let's take a look. So when you're finished with your design, you have the option of exporting it into a three D file to export. Select the entire object. Once you have this selected, go to the top right corner and click on export from export. You can select the file type you like toe export it as theirs O. B. J STL an SPG. You also have the option of exporting what you have selected or everything in the design. This makes a difference if you have multiple objects on the same work plain and will allow you to have the option of exporting either all of them as one file or individually. STL is the most commonly used, so I would recommend exporting an STL format. Once you click on STL, your file will load in the bottom left. If you have a three D printer than the S T. I. The STL file can be used in your printing software of choice 20. Congratulations!: And with that, you have now completed my intro to tinker cad course. Thank you very much for participating. And if you have a chance, please leave a comment and review and let me know what you'd like to see in future courses or future videos. I'm very open to feedback, and I'm always looking to make these better. So thank you very much and have a great day night weekend week. Whenever you're watching this, have a good time by