Tinkercad Launches Paid Subscription Plans

It is with great excitement that we announce our first paid plans for Tinkercad. The team believes that our uncompromising focus on developing the world’s most advanced CAD software is highly dependent on working closely with all of you. Our mission is to enable millions of people to realize their personal and business dreams by letting them quickly turn an idea into a working 3D design.

For those who have been with Tinkercad since the early days, you will continue to enjoy the software you know and love free of charge. This means that users who signed up before today have been grandfathered into a Tinkercad legacy account.

On behalf of the Tinkercad team, we are honored and thankful to have worked with so many of you over the past year and half. I speak for all of us when I say we look forward to deepening our relationship over the years to come.

Kai Backman
CEO
kai@tinkercad.com

39 comments

  1. Shucks 😦 I’ve kept trying to get my mom to sign up so I could ‘tinker’ with my kid sister.

    Would you ever consider allotting a giftable spare pseudo-legacy account to the legacy users? For those of us who have you-snooze-you-loser moms?

      • Tinkercad has been a great tool (with some significant limitations) for families that have their own 3d printer, but which may also want to send the occasional design off to be professionally printed. I wish your pricing was more focused around this use case. $50/yr for a simple family plan and $129/year for a premium family plan would be much more reasonable ($129 is ~7% of the cost of a replicator and might be an acceptable ongoing annual price for premium feature set – especially if it included a direct render-to-printer option) – whereas $50/yr is about the most I think you can reasonable charge for families that just occasionally need to create new designs.

        Note that to make this worthwhile, you’re also going to have to fix the limitations on complexity of imported designs from thingiverse…and perhaps up the number of vertexes created by default for most designs..I’ve found my tinkercad designs to look a little flat compared to those created in openscad/blender.

  2. I think this is a great progression Kai, and I’m glad that you’ll all start getting paid for this fabulous tool.

    I had one quick question about the subscription tiers – is the “up to 50 designs” how many designs people can STORE in their Tinkercad accounts, or how many they can create? Can they go back and delete their old designs to keep under a certain volume?

    Cheers!
    Josh

    • Thanks, that was a good question, we clearly need to make that more clear. On the Bronze plan you can STORE 50 designs in your account. You can always go back and delete old designs to get more space. Think of it as DropBox for designs.

  3. I have to voice disappointment at this. I’ve long been vocal about you deserving to be paid more than free, but this is too much. I don’t pay a monthly fee for my games, my TV, and especially not for a modeling service with a free competitor. I was hoping for a one-time fee or a monthly fee for premium content (which I would have paid for). But because of this choice I can no longer recommend tinkercad to anyone.

    I’m sorry, guys, but this was the wrong choice in my opinion.

    • Thanks for the feedback Cymon. We are still working on communicating everything about the subscriptions so it’s really helpful to hear back from you.

      The first thing you should know is that we let you Suspend your account at any time. A suspended account does not cost anything but we still continue to store all your designs. In fact we aim to store your designs as long as we possibly can, with todays cheap storage I’m hoping that will be indefinitely. When your account is Suspended you can’t edit or create new things but you can still download and view any of your designs.

      There are a lot of features in the pipeline that would normally be classified as premium content but we want to give the free Trial accounts access to all those features as well. The best way to try out a new tool is being able to test out everything it has so I’m not a huge believer in crippled Trials. Also, the Trial account is really a free account that only lets you store 5 designs. As you can delete old designs this should be plenty to get you started.

      Let me know if this addresses your concerns, or if there is something else you would like to give feedback on. We are still actively working on this so I’m more than happy to hear what you have to say.

  4. Ah. Good for you. Tinkercad is a great service and I hope that this will help it to grow. When we met at the Bay Area MakerFaire we talked about subscription pricing. One of my concerns was that students/schools/teachers be able to access TC for free. What is the status for future educational license signups? Thanks.

    • We are working on academic plans separately. We’ve found that most schools have slightly different needs than most other users so we want to create something that is tailored for them.

      • Kai- thanks for your quick reply. I appreciate that TC is looking at separate academic plans. In the meantime, how will this impact current educational users? I’d like my students to begin to use TC in the next month but the cost is an issue.

        Are you able to share any of the thoughts around educational use?

      • We are working on getting edu and group plans out as soon as possible. I can’t yet promise if it will be in time for your class but we’ll try our best.

  5. Ups, bad news for teachers and their students. That means for us going back to local installed apps and caring about updates. 😦 Hey this just the first shot. I can name lots of arguments against your Subscription Plans. Hm, I could also vote for the best WebCAD-App. 🙂 Honestly: a school will not be able to spend that much for moddeling classes. Please think about a free educational account.

    Let’s hope for the best 🙂

  6. I have an idea for the academic plans…. maybe we could set up a ‘scholarship fund’ where users could contribute to it for teachers to use. I would be interested in donating to something like this.

  7. To get kids (young and old) attracted to to anything, it must be accessible. To learn the software must be free. To save in a format other than pictures is where money should come from. Many kids from school were interested but not now since they dont have the money to “Tinker”
    Good luck.

    • Thanks Thomas. You can still use the trial plan for free. In many academic settings we have found that the schools are happy to pay given they receive tools for more easily handling users.

      • The words “Trial plan” is whats scaring us. Trial anything to the younger generation means limited, subset of features, time to move on. “Free forever” to learn, cost to print etc. would be more attractive marketing. Thanks.

  8. I am a bit disappointed. I happened to discover the plan to switch to a paid model and the link to get a paid account at a discount a few days before the offer expired. I tried on three different browsers but was unable to take advantage of the offer. It was too late in the evening to do anymore troubleshooting. I went to work and I forgot about trying to take advantage of the “secret” offer. My fault, my loss. But to pay $120 per year – yikes!

    Then to add insult to injury, it seems that several of the features I had available in my previous account have been taken away. I don’t remember getting any email regarding the transition – perhaps caught caught by spam filters. I didn’t get an email about the special offer to pay in advance for the upgraded features. My Safari is v. 6.0.1, my firefox is currently 15.0, and my Chrome is v.21 and change. None of these were able to load the link in the blog a night or two before the offer expired.

    $120 a year is a very heft subscription fee for a cloud service. I understand that there is a bunch of work in building and maintaining the software and hardware required, but the entry fee seems quite prohibitive. Flickr is 25$ per year for a pro account. I would be willing to pay that to create and place my work in the cloud, perhaps even as much as $40 per year for the service and a limited number of items in my cloud library (which doesn’t make munch sense, since a major part of the value of the service is offering other peoples work for one’s own use). But having been a beginning tinkerer and then to be excluded from the blog offer on technical grounds is a sour pill to swallow.

    I have a project to try to get built, my tinker time is limited and I want the use of some of the new features, so I may swallow it – but I am not likely to remain for very long at these prices.

    • Rojer, can you point me to the discount you are talking about? Paid accounts have only been out for a week and we have definitely not had any special offers going on. This sounds like something else went wrong, can you get in touch with team@tinkercad.com so we can fix this.

      • Unless the actual link history was stored on my work computer, a strong possibility, I can’t seem to find the url to the blog post in the history of any of the three browsers I use at home. Unless, it is:
        https://tinkercad.com/auth/shadowbox_register

        I don’t recall if the link was in a recent news letter or just an entry in this blog that may have been deleted, I will have to dig deeper to find it. It was an announcement that stated the intentions of TinkerCad to become a paid service. I saw it on or about Sept. 7th, but it could have been an older post. When I find it, I will post it and send the information to the team address. I thought the link was something along the lines of: account.tinkercad.com/payment/ (something*.*).

        The bottom line is that – perhaps, even with the ability to suspend the account, depending on how easy that is, how frequently it can be done or how many times total one can toggle the account, the $120/yr subscription fee seems awfully high.

        But, as MorenaP notes below, yes – thank you for leaving us with at least a legacy account. CBS wasn’t nearly so kind when they murdered LaunchCast from Yahoo! Music. I lost MB’s and thousands of hours work worth of data. So, thank you for your consideration.

  9. I’m getting a lot of trouble with touchy geometry.. artifacts?, I guess you’d call them. Floating faces from where a hole was flush with an object surface, and flush faces fracturing apart. This is all occurring with ungrouping, scaling, rotating, or replicating.
    Is fixing this high on the priority list? It’s a pain to group all my little parts together and get a result that has a bunch of tortilla chips sticking out of it.

  10. Boo, Tinkercad. I’m very disappointed with his new barrier to entry. We just started filming our first video for a school club curriculum all about making stuff, and I was puzzled when I got to the site from a different computer. One of the things I’ve always loved (and always promoted) about Tinkercad is that you can just “go to the site and start designing stuff.” You ought to be able to make money, of course, and I think most people will gladly pay, but I think it’s a darn shame that what I have been telling students, teachers, administrators, and friends all along is apparently no longer true…

    Just the other day I was telling an enthusiastic teacher what a wonderful resource Tinkercad is for getting kids familiar with geometry and 3D modeling. She had a concern, though: “We can’t have a bunch of kids going and signing up on some website.” “They don’t have to,” I told her — “they can just go to the site and explore… no strings attached.” Unless I’m missing something obvious here, I hope you will reconsider your decision to attach those strings.

    • Thanks for your feedback, let me ask a few clarifying questions to make sure I understand.

      Just to make it clear, it’s still possible to use Tinkercad for free, the Trial requires you to create an account but does not require any identifying info (we ask for email but never send anything or check it, it’s just for account recovery). It seems that what you are missing is the anonymous editing mode?

      A second concern is the one from your teacher friend. We have thought about this a lot and would prefer teachers to sign up for an account and then invite students to their team. This gives teachers more control of how their class is using Tinkercad.

      • Thanks for your quick and thoughtful response. I did see the trial account information and read your comments on it as well.

        Yes, the “anonymous editing mode” is what I’m most disappointed about, though that description doesn’t really capture the point of my concern. We added Tinkercad to our club curriculum and have been actively promoting it because it was so remarkably barrier-free. There was no sense of commitment or contract — you could just visit the site and “tinker with it” to get a feel for what 3D modeling is all about. Or, with even younger students, you could go and interact with geometry and perspective, and get a sense for how those things are represented on a flat screen, without limiting those who wanted to take it a bit further. But the point is that there was nothing in the way of them doing this. If a teacher sent the URL home with the kids, even the parents wouldn’t be faced with the question, “What is this, and do I really want to type in my email address to ‘sign up’ for yet another website?” The teachers didn’t have to “sell it” to the parents, and we didn’t have to “sell it” to the teachers or administrators — all they had to do was visit the site.

        The kids we’re working with are younger and typically don’t have email addresses, and though I can certainly appreciate that a teacher-led team would have some benefits, I can think of very few who would be willing or able to pony up $20 or $50 per month for just about anything, let alone a supplemental tool for kids to casually explore. Plus, our class sizes are very small (14 kids) compared to most, but even that would land squarely at the Gold level. I don’t know if this is among the “different needs” you commented about, but please keep in mind that the technology is not always the point of the lesson — often it’s just one of a number of tools.

        What if you had an “anonymous mode” in which all designs had a built in shelf life of, say, 30 days? If the designs aren’t opened up and saved as one of the allotted designs on a registered account, then they just go away. It seems to me a model like this would have a number of benefits, and yet still meet many of your needs as well — plus it could improve the quality of your trial user base because they will have demonstrated some buy-in.

      • Thanks Alex, that was good feedback. We haven’t retired anonymous mode, it’s just not accessible from the front page. I’ll put it on our list to reconsider pushing it more.

  11. 3d printing is an upcoming new media that could help a lot of families get out of poverty, but $120 a year and then a limitation on how many things I can design with it? Far too expensive for me, and also for most would be 3d designers that I know. Still, who needs poor people…?

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