How I Use It
I used Tinkercad in two recent projects in Grade 11 and Grade 12 Technology classes. In Grade 11, we used Tinkercad to design objects for some Stop Motion films that students. The films required props and students incorporated one 3-D printed object in their film. The tutorials were helpful but often students were able to create shapes and holes that eventually became objects. Ensure that your objects is not "floating" and on the stage and all sections are hollow and connect as necessary. Although, keep in mind that failure can be a excellent teachable moment. We then exported the file as .STL file to import to the MAKERbot desktop application for printing. Our Grade 12 students explore their own designs and were able using design thinking and the design cycle to conjure something to help themselves and others. This open ended approach offers the most creativity but I found that a more direct challenge like the Grade 11 faced was a easier entry point to this process and way of thinking.
Tinkerbot is an excellent tool for hands on 3-D design. It is not quite digital lego but close. The video tutorials are excellent but you really have to get a feel for the building and control to make progress. In other words, start building almost right away especially if you have someone experienced with you. Using the keyboard shortcuts was critical for building success. I would also suggest that you go beyond the gallery for ideas using sites like Thingiverse.com. Overall, Tinkercad is an excellent 3-D design tool accessible on both computers and tablets although it works best on a computer.