Understand Electronic 0 to 1 With TinkerCAD

To Understand Electronic from naught is not easy, what ever for Kids or adult.

As professional Electrical Engineering, I can understand how hard it is to Make Abstract Rules Realistic, before Understandable.

I would suggest TinkerCAD integrated FUN with vivid free web-based demonstration. You can even try Wrong Wiring Connection to see what happens, without damage your electronic parts.

There would be three parts in this Instructables.

  1. Make one Electroscope, with TINKERCAD 3D Design
  2. Measuring Voltage, Ampere, Ohms with breakdown parts, with TINKERCAD circuit
  3. Make Avometer with Arduino Boards, with TINKERCAD Code and Codeblocks.

Step 1: Tools and Softwares

Throughout this Instructables, only necessary part is your Curiosity and Daily Experience.

No more mathematical or Physical Knowledge. TinkerCAD shall guide the way.



- Arduino


- Plastic and Aluminum foild

- Breakdown Electronic Learning Kit

- Arduino IoT Starter Kit

- Hand Tools set, including drills, cutter, etc.

Step 2: Electron and Static Electricity Basics

The electron is a subatomic particle, whose electric charge is negative.

Therefore, it has a surrounding electric field, and if that electron is moving relative to an observer, it will generate a magnetic field.

That is how electricity and magnetic field comes from. In other words, study of electronics is the study of mass behavior of Electrons.

Static electricity is an imbalance of electric charges within or on the surface of a material. The charge remains until it is able to move away by means of an electric current or electrical discharge.

In contrast with static electric, current electricity flows through wires or other conductors and transmits energy. That is how our normal life is driven and explained later in this Instructables.

A static electric charge can be created whenever two surfaces contact and separate, and at least one of the surfaces has a high resistance to electric current (and is therefore an electrical insulator). The static electricity can be detected by Electroscope according the rules of “Like charges repel each other while opposite charges attract“

Step 3: Electroscope Basics

An electroscope is a scientific instrument used to detect the presence and magnitude of electric charge on a body.

Gold-leaf electroscope is the classical electroscope that is still used in physics education to demonstrate the principles of electrostatics. Electroscopes generally give only a rough, qualitative indication of the magnitude of the charge.

Electroscopes detect electric charge by the motion of a test object due to the Coulomb electrostatic force.

Since the electric potential or voltage of an object with respect to ground equals its charge divided by its capacitance to ground, an electroscope can be regarded as a crude voltmeter.

Refer to wiki for further detail, two pictures briefing the principle are quoted from the web.

This homemade Electroscope consists of a brass rod, with two parallel strips of thin flexible aluminum leaf. A ball terminal is attached to the top of the rod, where the charge to be tested is applied. When the metal terminal is touched with a charged object, the leaves spread apart in a 'V'.

Some of the charge on the object is conducted through the terminal and metal rod to the leaves with same sign charge that repel each other. If the terminal is grounded by touching it with a finger, the charge is transferred through the human body into the earth and the gold leaves close together.

Since there is no grounded metal plates or foil strips in the bottle, only higher voltage shall be avoided.

Step 4: Design Electroscope With TinkerCAD 3D Design

Design Electroscope with TinkerCAD 3D Design is simple and easyl.

The completed 3D design for Electroscope shows the thin aluminum leaf turns "V" shape when Electroscope is charged or discharged.

Here is brief instruction on how to design step by step.

Step 5: Design the Bottom Support

Open the TinkerCAD 3D design in web browser.

  1. Insert one Cube and resize it into plate-size.
  2. Then copy the cube, change the property into Hollow, make the hollow cube the size of smaller than the Solid Cube.
  3. Group the two cube together, make it one square with square holes.
  4. Stack it over another plate.
  5. Then, the bottom plate is done.

Step 6: Make Cover With Conductor Rod, and Assemble Together.

Repeat the insert -> resize -> hollow -> group instruction again to make one box to hold the conductor rod.

Insert the cylinder in the design Space, resize it into one rod then rotate the rode and group the rods according to your design.

Add thin plate as aluminum leaf handing on the ends of the rod.

Finally, assemble the cover, the bottom plate and conductor rod. You shall group them altogether if you want to put into popular file format for 3D printer. That is fairly easy. But you can not seem parts in different colors.

Step 7: Make Electroscope

With the 3D design in Circuit Design. you can make your own Electroscope.

Drill one hole in the top center of one transparent plastic box, fix the copper wiring in shape through this hole as you design in the 3D design.

Cut two the aluminum sheet and hand at one end of the copper wiring. Press the some aluminum sheet into one ball at the other end of the copper wire.

Your can got one Electroscope.

Step 8: Derive Current Electricity From Static Electricity

  • One of the great obstacles for beginners is to catch the idea of current electricity from Static Electricity.

To be brief, this formula explain everything. It is a little tricky and need much physical knowledge.

While you can simply derive that Voltage Gradient U, is electric field intensity multiply E by Moving distance S. And Electric Current I, is quantity of electric charge Q divided by time t.

In other words, you can understand current electricity with measuring parameters U and I, is the static electricity with measuring parameters E and Q in Moving Mode. The moving in terms of S and t can be neglected, unless you really want to dig. This is not accurate description. But good enough for you to got some idea.

  • The voltage and current shall be measuring with ampere Meter and Volt Meter.

Voltage is the difference in electric potential between two points. Electric potential differences between points can be caused by electric charge, by electric current through a magnetic field, by time-varying magnetic fields, or some combination of these three. A voltmeter can be used to measure the voltage between two points in a system.

An electric current is a flow of electric charge. In electric circuits this charge is often carried by moving electrons in a wire. Electric current is measured using a device called an ammeter.

Step 9: Measure Volt, Ampere, Ohm With TinkerCAD Circuit

Now, come to the tinkercad Circuit. The best part of TinkerCAD Circuit is that you can test your electric design with vivid demonstration and simulation very soon.

You can measure the voltage and electric current of battery, the resistor or any components in your electric circuits. Improve your acknowledgement to electric rules even fast. It is easy to configure and run the circuit as you plug and play immediately.

Refer to above screenshot from the web page, for single battery-light circuit, dual battery-light circuit measurement.

The last two pictures show how to measure ohm of resistor of 1000ohm or 1kΩ.

With combination of ammeter and voltmeter, the resistor can be calculated indirectly by ohm's law, as of voltage divided by electric current.

The rating of the resistor can be set manually with mouse click on the resistor.

Step 10: Measure Volt, Ampere, Ohm With Education Kit

After simulate the electric circuit in Tinkercad Circuit. You can run the wiring in Education Kit.

The education kit can be access easily, battery pack, sliding resistor, small light bulb, Point Ammeter, point Voltmeter, switch, etc.

This sample shows how the changes in sliding resistor in series can change the intensity of light by variation of voltage or current. Just as you can test in the Tinkercad Circuit.

Step 11: Understand Circuit Tricks and Tips or Traps With TinkerCAD Circuit

Mastering Electrical Rules can do no help on circuit analysis, since There are tricks and tips in circuit design. Meanwhile, there are traps in wrong wiring and circuit fault as well.

Although no one has done so before, I still prefer to reclassify the electronic components as Passive Components or Active Components. Be noted, only in Circuit Analysis, or it will perplex you in other documents.

For beginners, Switch is only Active component since it actively controls the function of circuits. All the rest parts are passive components, their function is being controlled and adjusted like adjustable resistors.

Series or parallel connection analysis

According to my experience, series or parallel connection analysis is core skill in Electronics. That is, how to find out the electronic components is in series or in parallel.

There are two ways in analysis, Current Circuit Analysis and Node Voltage Analysis.

The Current Circuit Analysis is directly and easy to understand. One can find first close circuit with electronic Parts connected head to tail one by one from the Positive Pole of Battery to the Negative Pole of Battery. Then adding all other parts to the first circuit in series or in parallel connection. Thus, one can understand roles of each components in circuits.

Node Voltage Analysis is a little tricky but it is good in complex Grid or Circuits.There are always cased, one Electronic component is in several close circuits, it is hard to find out what is the role. Then, one shall mark each node in succession, and calculated the voltage gradient of each node. This takes more time and more math calculation. It is not recommended for beginners although it is only way for professional in Wheatstone bridge or larger Grid.

Operation mode transformation by Switches

For each switch, only On or Off mode is available. The on/off status can transform the Current Flow and Voltage distribution. Thus, the operation mode is transformed.

Examples Analysis with TinkerCAD Circuit

eg.1 Refer to above Fig. 6-1 , what is the connection type of L1, L2, and L3.

Current Circuit Analysis requires find circuit c1 as first close circuit including L1 in series, then L2 in c2 and L3 in c3. That means L1, L2 and L3 is in parallel each other.

Node Voltage Analysis requires find node A and node B as voltage node. It is then obvious that L1, L2 and L3 connect both Node A and Node B. That is , L1, L2 and L3 are in parallel each other.

Then test in tinkercad circuits.Press Start Simulation button, the LEDs is light-up then.

Step 12: Analogue Avometer Basics With TinkerCAD Circuit

Pointer type AVOmeter has long been replace with digital type meters. While the principle is still the same.

Voltage divider by pairing resistors in series or in parallel to make the meter fit into the acceptable metering ranges. One can not select proper Value of Resistors without any test before. With TinkerCAD Circuit, that would be too easy.

  • Ammeter in Fig 7-1 and Fig 7-3

Ammeter can measuring broader ranger with selected resistor shown in Fig 7-1 and Fig 7-3

  • Voltmeter in Fig 7-2 and Fig 7-4

Voltmeter can measuring broader ranger with selected resistor shown in Fig 7-2 and Fig 7-4

Step 13: Simulation of Sample Ammeter Circuit and Sample Voltmeter Circuit.

After design in Tinkercad Circuit, press the button Start Simulation to see the result.

For Sample Ammeter Circuit, touch the switch button to see the different ammeter readings in corresponding to the total reading of the main circuit.

For Sample Voltmeter Circuit, touch the switch button to see the different voltmeter readings in corresponding to the total reading of the main circuit.

Step 14: Design Digital Avometer With TinkerCAD Circuit

Make Avometer with Arduino Boards, with TINKERCAD Code and Circuit

In this stage, one Arduino Board shall be included in the design. Meantime, the code button can extend what embedded in the Flash Memory of Arduino.

  • First , test the tools Tinkercad Code in Block,

Using arduino control one servo, the design logic in colorful blocks. You can drap, drag or drop in the Window to control the program flow. The parameter can be set in the Editable Space.

  • Then, Let design one Ammeter and Voltmeter, according to basic electrical principle describe before.

Press Start Simulation BUTTON, the LCD screen can show what is programmed . Using Analogue Reading function, the voltage meter reads data from PIN A2 and Ampere Meter from Pin A0.

Here is the Arduino Sketch Code in this Simulation.

<p>#include <LiquidCrystal.h></p><p><liquidcrystal.h></liquidcrystal.h></p><p>#define THRESHOLD 10
</p><p>// initialize the library with the numbers of the interface pins
LiquidCrystal lcd(12, 11, 5, 4, 3, 2);</p><p>int ammeterValue = 0;
int voltValue = 0;</p><p>void setup() {
  // set up the LCD's number of columns and rows:
  lcd.begin(16, 2);
  // Print a message to the LCD.
  lcd.print("hello, TinkerCad!");
   lcd.setCursor(0, 1);
  lcd.print("Ready to Read!");
   pinMode(A0, INPUT);
   pinMode(A2, INPUT);

Step 15: Make Sample AVOmeter With Arduino Board

With Tinkercad Code, arduino Uno can be integrated in the circuit design without leaving the webpage.

As we can see, you can design the circuit ,program Arduino Sketch ALL in the Tinkercad Circuit Interface in Graphic Mode.

  • First, Design the Sample AVOmeter Circuit

Then , Program the Arduino Sketch

  • Sketch Simulation

After all the step, you can start Run real code and hardware, Arduino 1.8.5 is proposed and All the electronic parts you use in the Tinkercad Circuit.

Step 16: Summaries

With all the education efforts, TINKERCAD provides one of best on-line tool for everyone FOR FREE from 3D design, circuit design, coding.

Maybe it is not so powerful as you think, but that is powerful enough for Educators.

Even more PACK like CODEBLOCK is under development. It is strongly recommended Tools for all. And bring more possibility for imagination.

Part of the picture and introduction are directly got from wiki pages with hyperlink to source page. Thanks for contributors.



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