# Tinkercad – More useful than you might think

For years my goto CAD solution for designing parts to be 3D printed has been Tinkercad. It really is the fastest way to get students designing their own 3D parts. The basics of Tinkercad can be taught with less than five minutes of instruction. Best of all, it is totally free and you don’t need admin rights to install any software..

The basic idea is that you create objects by combining primitives and then using other primitives to create holes or take away materials. The other thing to know is that once a shape has been added you can stretch or squish it in the x, y, or z dimension or rotate it around the x, y, or z axis.

Using this very simple paradigm you really can create some very complex objects. Creation of these objects often involves a lot of critical thinking and problem solving for students to figure out the best way to get to their desired final part.

Below is my take on the Spill-Not. A similar product is sold by science suppliers as the Greek Waiter’s Tray. This was created totally in Tinkercad in less than ten minutes. You can find my version on the Thingiverse.

You can easily modify my version to suit what ever cup you might have. It currently will accommodate a standard coffee cup. To play with my design goto: https://tinkercad.com/things/i02pOyl5X81 and click on “Tinker this” (you must be signed in to Tinkercad first). Then click on Ungroup to reveal the underlying shapes. You might need to do this multiple times to see all the shapes. The order in which you group things has a huge effect on your final design.

The Centripetal Force Demonstrator was created from:
• A “Cylinder” (orange) as the base with a squished “Torus thin” (red) to make a lip to keep something from sliding off.
• A “Torus” (green) to swing it by. This was placed above the center of the base floating in space. It is important that this be centered above the base at the desired height. Then group it with the base so it will stay centered.
• A “Torus Thin” (blue) was stretched and then rotated slightly to attach the base to the ring. “Box” holes were used to remove the un-needed bits.
• A stretched “Half Sphere” was tacked on to the flat surface of the half torus in order to make the ring attachment more attractive. This is can’t be seen in the picture below.

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