**I want to stress that this is a very entry-level publication. If you already own a 3D Printer this was definitely not written for you. I would even say that; if you have used 3d modeling software, this is probably not for you.(Although I tried to make it fun, so you may still enjoy it)
But, if you have wanted to get into 3d printing, or want to teach a child how to use TinkerCAD, this might be a good place to start! We are going to take our time and try to stick to the very basics of both TinkerCAD and project workflow**
*If you are looking for more advanced tutorials stick around, I will be releasing higher level TinkerCAD tutorials shortly after this*
In this instructable, we're going to show you how the powerful yet simple Tinker CAD software combined with an inexpensive marvel of engineering, can be used by anyone, to print their ideas into reality!
It's true, as unbelievable as it sounds, software like TinkerCAD has gotten so easy to use, anyone could use it to customize or invent a real, tangible, object. Many of us know about 3d Printers, we even checked them out, or may have purchased an early model. But, there were many problems. 3d Printers were expensive, prone to failing, the software was full of glitches, and there wasn't that much free information to get us out of trouble.
Hey makers! were going to be publishing a bunch of fun and cool content, make sure you follow and show some love by clicking the little heart on your favorite instuctables!
Step 1: What You Need to Get Started
Although I can help to teach you the skills, I cannot sign you up to use TinkerCAD or replicate a free 3d Printer for you to use,
- Go to TinkerCAD and sign up, it takes minutes and unlocks a whole world of possibilities. Plus, I will be using it in future content and you might as well make sure its set up now.
- You are going to need a 3D Printer , or at least have access to one.
Spend time finding out what best suits your needs. I can recommend FlashForge , They get great reviews and are considered one of the best values in a 3d printer. Especially, considering that they require very little set-up.
Understand, ultra affordable "kit" 3d Printers are fantastic if assembled and calibrated. But, It's worth noting, building a kit printer is many times more difficult than using TinkerCAD to make cool stuff with me. If you want to learn in-depth about how 3d Printers work and like building difficult models, a kit might be for you. But don't expect any of it to be easy!
- You'll need some filament as well, the one that I used can be found here . I've order a few rolls with no issues. I use a bunch of different filaments and countless brands. With these guys, so far so good, I will continue to use them when needed unless that changes.
- A plant that fits will fit in the planter - I used an elephant bush. They are not exactly small but I think If I keep it trimmed it will be happy. If not, I will re-plant it outside when it gets to big!
A message to my readers;
I want to take a moment to thank you for exploring the fun world of creating with me. I've always loved inventing cool things and solving problems. It is a true joy to be able to share something I feel so passionately about with so many people! You Rock!
If you may have noticed I have placed hyperlinks throughout this page. When clicked they will take you to points of interest that I thought worth mentioning. Some of the links are to products that I use and purchase for my inventions and if you click them, I may even earn a small commission. It takes a lot of extra effort to put the things that I'm building into a well organized format that is hopefully enjoyable for you :)
Step 2: Building the Basic Shape
In TinkerCAD, They really highlight a simple concept that is easy for anyone to understand and use. Look at shapes as if they were blocks. Now, you have two basic kinds of blocks.
- An object, which can be placed on the screen and printed.
- A hole, which will erase anything in its shape boundary.
Here we are going to use the right side to find a shape that we like. I went with a trapezoid. When you place a block on the workspace. A box should appear that allows you to manipulate the parameters of the shape.
Next we are going to want to duplicate the shape we just made ( search "how to duplicate object tinkercad" if you have trouble). Now lets select hole for this new shape and move it up a few mm. We can make the dimensions slightly smaller to make it the right kind of hole.
Search how to use TinkerCAD alignment tool. It is very easy to use and understand, but more of its own tutorial.
By looking at the pictures and following the steps you should be looking at the basis of a planter! Great job, you could even add a hole in the bottom for water to drain, print it out, and put a plant in it! Or, you could follow the white rabbit and continue down a path that eventually leads to designing an advanced hydroponics system for NASA! That's the beauty of being alive at this time. Both are within your reach, but how much you build and far you go is entirely up to you!
Step 3: Adding the Pegs
This bent pipe shape that I found over here on the right hand side of the screen should be perfect. With a few modifications we can have this thing ready to hold our planter on the peg board. I used a Digital Caliper to get the proper measurement from my peg board. You should check your own to make sure, but in my case:
- 3.5mm wide pegs should fit
(provide they fall in increments of)
- ~26mm apart per hole
I also determined that they should have a small hook like bend about 5mm in and have an angle more then 90 degrees to make it easy to install/remove.
This will help keep the planter firmly *planted* on the peg board. Ha. Ha. Ha.
Step 4: Cleaning Up Some Edges
Things we buy and use often have a few soft edges to make them more appealing.
In TinkerCAD it is easy to add a nice edge wherever you need! By making a hole that we place on a 45 degree angle. We can easily add chamfer to the top and bottom edges.
***Remember to use the duplicate tool after you set the angle to save a mountain of time. All of these pieces are copies of the first hole I placed. Use the align tool to help you get things on the right track.
Step 5: Add Some Custimization!
I decided to use one of my favorite Chinese proverbs to go with the theme of doing and trying new things.
It roughly translates into:
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today.
Often, we get caught up wishing we had started something that takes a long time... 20 years ago. But the truth is, you only really have two options;
You can sit in the sun and wish you had a planted a grand tree in the distant past, cursing yourself for not being able to tell the future. Or, you can realize that there is never a bad time plant a tree. You can plant it today, and in 20 years you may think back on that moment as you sit under the cool shade that came from this moment. But, even if you never enjoy the shade of the tree you plant. Odds are, someone will be thankful that you planted it along the way.
Step 6: Finishing Touches!
By selecting both the shapes and the holes of any given object, you have the ability to combine the objects so that they become to final shape. You will find that it is sometime beneficial to combine throughout the creation process. You can even make multiple combined objects in the same work space!
From here you can use TinkerCAD to make a .STL file and open it in your favorite slicing software.
A slicer is the kind of software that turns a 3d Model into the movements that a 3d Printer has to make to print the object. There are many different options and I suggest you read up and ask many questions
I will make a few more instuctables specifically for TinkerCAD. Don't forget to follow me post a comment. I think this stuff is great and I want to help encourage as many people as possible to start printing their dreams. Fell free to ask questions and I will try to get to them in a timely manner. Where you go from here is up to you. Will you plant a tree today, and enjoy the shade tomorrow?