Comments on KnowHow’s TinkerCAD Tutorial

Allow me to first say that, while I am disagreeing on a couple of points and correcting some of the comments made in this video, I did learn from it and I understand that @padresj is trying to keep this simple. There were a couple of things I did not know about TinkerCAD that I learned from the video.

The purpose of this post is to just make a few comments and answer some of the questions that came up with an alternative way of doing things.

Chromebook

At 3:53 Padre says that a Chromebook might not be the best choice for running TinkerCAD. However, my run-of-the-mill, average Chromebook from 2014 does fine for most stuff. I have rarely felt like my local computer was the cause of any problems. It is usually related to the quality of the internet connection. When starting out, you probably won’t overtax a Chromebook’s ability. My point is, don’t be afraid to try if all you have is a Chromebook.

You definitely want a regular mouse connected to your machine. One with a scroll wheel and middle-click button are best. (Is there such a thing as a scroll wheel mouse that doesn’t have middle click anymore?)

Moving Around the Build Plane

At 21:53 Jason asks about moving around the build plane. Padre said that it is not possible to do what Jason wanted. But it is possible by using the middle-click button on the mouse. You can use the mouse’s middle button to control the point of focus. However, using the F key on the keyboard to lock focus on an object is pretty slick and easy (one of those features I did not know existed).

Stacking Shapes

At 25:35 Jason wants to drop one shape onto another. This is an advanced technique, but Padre seemed to not know this. At first I thought it was that he did not want to explain the technique because it is more complicated. But, based on what else he said, I’m not sure he actually knows this ability exists.

You can stack shapes by adding another build plane (the software calls it a workplane) to the face you want to stack an object on. Use the Workplane icon to drag a new orange (temporary) workplane onto an object face. Then click the object you want to stack and hit the letter D.

The face that the new workplane goes on does not have to be a top or bottom face. It can be a side face. You can also choose a new workplane before bringing a new object onto the modeling area. Doing that will let you place text or other objects  onto the workplane in the correct orientation.

To delete the temporary workplane and get back to the standard one select Workplane again and click anywhere outside the current temporary one.

Copy VS Duplicate

At 42:28 Padre says to use CTRL-C and CTRL-D to make a duplicate in the same place. You don’t need the CTRL-C step. By itself, CTRL-D makes a duplicate of the selected object.

If you want to paste an object, not in the same place, then you need to use CTRL-C and then CTRL-V. I can’t think of any time when doing this is better than just making a duplicate in place.

There are some interesting duplication rules in TinkerCAD that you may want to explore, but they are more advanced than this video is trying to be.

Aligning Objects

Starting at 47:30 Padre goes into a convoluted explanation of how to make a box smaller by subtracting 2 mm off of each side of the duplicate box so that you can keep them both centered. There is a much easier way to align 2 (or more) objects than trying to subtract a certain amount from each side of an object

Select the objects you want to align and choose the alignment tool. Alternately, after choosing the objects you can press the letter L on the keyboard. Once the tool is active, use the control dots to align the objects to each other in various ways. You can align left/right/center, front/back/center, or top/bottom/center. To accomplish center alignment, like in the video, you would choose the two center alignment dots on the build plane.

Micrometer

I agree that a good set of calipers/micrometer is better than the cheap ones. And sometimes it makes sense to spend money on better tools at the beginning. But this is one where I disagree with Father Robert. Buying a cheap set (sub $20) may be all you ever need. If you decide that 3D modeling is not for you, then there is no reason to have a $40 tool lying around that you will never use again.

I’ve had my $15 Harbor Freight calipers for over a year and have never had to replace the batteries (a complaint he has shared previously), nor had them fail in any way. I understand that better tools are likely to perform better and last longer, but this is one where I think I would recommend something inexpensive to get you into the field as opposed to scaring you off by suggesting a more expensive tool.

Thanks for the great video. I did learn a few things along the way. I just hope that some of the extra tips help make using TinkerCAD a bit more enjoyable.

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