Tag Archives: modeling

Making 3D Printing Accessible: Interview with Tinkercad Founder

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 tinkercad.com 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.

3D Modeling and Design for 3D Printing: Tinkercad, Sketchup and 123D

3D printing is a revolution in manufacturing, substituting personal fabrication for mass production. And for this revolution to be fulfilled, there needs to be supporting software (priced at the appropriate FREE) that enables mainstream adoption.

There are 3 contenders in the race for 3D modeling software juggernaut: Google Sketchup, Tinkercad, and Autodesk 123D. Of course there are traditional professional software packages that cost thousands of dollars, such as 3ds Max ($3495 MSRP also by Autodesk), but how will 3D printing go mainstream if the software is not cheaply available?

Popular Mechanics recently published a feature on the change in 3D modeling software to adapt to the emerging 3D printing revolution:

Thanks to an influx of easy-to-use software, 3D modeling isn’t just for engineers toiling endlessly on CAD programs anymore. New tools built with ordinary people in mind make it possible to design whatever parts or prototypes you can imagine, and bring them to life with the power of 3D printing.

Read more: How to Get Started 3D Modeling and Printing – Popular Mechanics

We agree. Empower the common designer with free software!


3D Printing image used under Creative Commons from Dylan.