Making 3D Printing Accessible: Interview with Tinkercad Founder

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Tinker Towne

Kai Backman, co-founder and CEO of Helsinki-based Tinkercad, was interviewed by Wired magazine last week. Tinkercad allows mainstream consumers to design 3D models in their web browser for free, competing with traditional professional software costing thousands of dollars. Below are some excerpts from the interview.

What inspired you to create Tinkercad?

Tinkercad was born from a very personal frustration. In 2009, I started researching the new emerging 3-D printing technology and eventually bought my first printer by the end of the year. The device was assembled with great fanfare and my children eagerly looked forward to printed toys while my wife expected jewelry or at least some useful household items. Much to their disappointment it turned out that actually designing anything for printing was extremely hard with the software available. I would spend the evening learning one CAD system after another, only to get very little traction and forgetting most of what I learned before the next session.

In mid-2010 it had become clear the problem was more and more acute for a lot of people, so I quit my job at Google, Mikko my co-founder quit his job, and we started the company. We are still on the same road, our vision is to make 3-D design in general, and the design of physical items in particular, accessible to hundreds of millions of people.

On the Tinkercad Comunity

We let users choose how they want to publish their things and a lot of them use a Creative Commons license. This means the site has a rapidly growing repository of interesting 3-D designs and an equally rapidly growing base of users.

Asked what Kai’s favorite 3D design is in the community, he pointed us to an historic train station on the Harlem line called Brewster Station.

Brewster Station Tinkercad

Below is a video walkthrough of Tinkercad that showcases how it is feature rich despite the fact that it runs in a browser.


Read the full interview at Wired.

Tinker Towne photo by kafkan used under Creative Commons license.

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One Response to Making 3D Printing Accessible: Interview with Tinkercad Founder

  1. Gnuut says:

    Meanwhile back in reality, until it can do fillets, splines, and treads/fasteners, it’s just a toy.

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