Popular in-browser 3D design and modeling tool Tinkercad, which was acquired by Autodesk and joined its 123D product family in 2013, is offering something new in the way of connections. I’m not talking about connections you’d want when working with 3D printing circuit boards, but rather a community connection. A new feature, called the Thingiverse Upload, was just introduced and went live last week. Users can now quickly and easily publish their 3D designs straight to Thingiverse, the largest 3D printing community and file repository in the world, with just the click of a button. As Tinkercad is owned by Autodesk, so Thingiverse is owned by 3D printer manufacturer MakerBot (in turn owned by Stratasys), which everyone is watching with bated breath these days to see if anything else will change.
Tinkercad has long been an important part of MakerBot’s education initiatives, as the company believes Tinkercad to be one of the top tools for learning CAD and design thinking. So it makes sense that MakerBot wants its own users to be able to easily work with the 3D modeling and design tool.
Drew Lentz, MakerBot Learning Manager, said, “Many of the educators we work with use Tinkercad to introduce students to the basics of 3D design. It removes the intimidating learning curve to computer design and helps people realize their ideas – the perfect tool to connect to Thingiverse. We’ve seen it used extensively in the lesson plans teachers are submitting to our new curriculum platform for educators, Thingiverse Education.”
Thingiverse Education has all kinds of great learning tools, such as its “Quick Projects,” which are perfect for STEAM lesson plans; MakerBot itself is also a big proponent of STEAM learning. Now, thanks to Tinkercad’s brand new ‘Share on Thingiverse’ feature, the entire 3D printing experience is more seamless, whether you’re 3D printing prosthetics, planters, or even hockey pucks. Before you can share your 3D designs with the rest of Thingiverse, you first have to authorize Tinkercad to access your Thingiverse account. Once that step is completed, Thingiverse will store your access token, so you don’t have to keep authorizing it each time you log in. If you want to revoke sharing access, you can do so in Thingiverse.
Once you’re all signed up and have allowed Tinkercad to access Thingiverse, it’s easy to connect and instantly share your 3D design from Tinkercad – no more exporting and uploading the files. Anytime you do decide to share a file, you’ll have time to add any pictures or descriptions before you publish, as shared models are private at first, until you’re done editing them to your heart’s content.
According to its blog post, MakerBot is working hard to improve 3D technology solutions for educators, as well as continuing to grow Thingiverse.
“We’re proud to mark this new feature as another step in the right direction for both.” MakerBot’s Josh Snider writes.
Discuss in the Tinkercad forum at 3DPB.com.