tink8As the consumer market for desktop 3D printing grows, more people are becoming curious about this rather remarkable technology. In fact, since the K-12 and higher education arena is adapting to technological trends, soon your child may be the one introducing you to the 3D printing concept. If you are interested in checking out 3D printing alone or with your family, but don’t quite know how to get started, never fear. There are many free 3D design programs that work best for beginners. After all, you haven’t delved enough into the technology to know if you will like it (of course you will!). And, understandably, you don’t necessarily want to invest much money into a project at the outset. Good news! Tinkercad and i.materialise have set aside this week as a great time to start “tinkering” with 3D design and printing.

Tinkercad is an aptly named free 3D modeling application, and it is so easy to use — to “tinker” with — that i.materialise has included the program in its list of the 9 top free 3D design programs. The program is recommended if you are new to 3D modeling — with i.materialise calling it “absolutely indispensable.” This application, targeting beginners, uses a “LEGO-approach” to “combine different geometrical shapes together, in order to create new objects.” It’s an especially good program if you think geometrically and like geometric designing. You can learn how to use the program with this tutorial, and then order your design through i.materialise this week with the chance of winning one of three discount codes for reduced 3D printing costs. That’s right, folks. It’s 3D Printing Week over at Tinkercad.

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One of the obstacles to seeing your 3D designs materialize is cost, and TinkerCAD’s 3D Printing Week is here to alleviate some of the cost by offering a chance to win one of three codes for €20 ($23), €30 ($34), or €50 ($56). You simply go to order a print in the Tinkercad program by going to “Design,” then “Order a 3D Print” and then choosing “i.materialise.” Select any of i.materialise’s 100 materials and finishes, add your design to the cart, and head to checkout. i.materialise states that they will count all of your ordered 3D designs, so the more you submit this week, the better your chances of winning a discount.

tink2After you have entered your designs, patiently wait until April 25, 2016 when three winners will be announced. Each entry will be assigned a number, and a random number generator will select the three winners in a lottery-style selection process.

i.materialise and Tinkercad are teaming up this week to remind us that there is no better time than the present to start tinkering with 3D design and printing. (Seasoned 3D designers can also apply!) Imagine how good you’ll feel when you can cross “Start 3D Designing and Printing” off your bucket list. Stay ahead of the pack, or even your own children’s education, with this most creative and growing technology.

Remember, you have until midnight CET on April 24 to submit your designs. Discuss in the i.materialise & Tinkercad Make 3D Printing Easier forum over at 3DPB.com.

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