What features would you like to see in Tinkercad Education Accounts?

Hey Everybody,

We’re still working on bringing back Education Accounts to Tinkercad (we haven’t forgotten about you!) and have made lots of headway in our pursuit for COPPA compliance.  Now, we want to hear from YOU!  What kind of features would you like in Education Accounts?  Or even Team Accounts?  Tinkercad is about its users, so it’s important that you be heard.

We’ll do our best to incorporate the things we can as we build out this great introductory 3D modeling tool.   Leave your suggestions in the comments below, or in this thread on the 123D/Tinkercad Forums.

28 comments

  1. I think it’d be great if it didn’t show an error message about 30-40 percent of the time when objects are grouped or saved. That’s likely to put kids off.

    It’d also be nice if it would keep up better with saves so that when you undo something it actually un-does the last thing you did instead of taking you back like 3 or 4 actions.

    • Thanks Julia,

      We usually see grouping issues when users have really complicated models. Tinkercad was designed for simple designs, and for users that need more capability, we suggest graduating to another service, like 123D or Fusion 360.

      As for saving – I know that can be frustrating. Because Tinkercad is a cloud-based service, it can take some time for it to catch up with the automatic upload/save, especially after a string of actions. If you wait for the little arrows to stop spinning, you’ll know it’s caught up and can Undo the last action easily.

      • Yes, the stock answer is that the grouping error happens with complex models, however I see it frequently (albeit sometimes only briefly, then it relents) on models that are extremely simple, like 3 – 10 primitives.

        I understand about the spinning arrows and I understand that it is cloud-based. However, inexperienced users are not going to understand or remember to check the arrows; they’re just going to click Undo. This undo sync issue used to happen only very rarely a year ago; the service seems to have slowed, either due to increased load or a hardware downgrade.

        “Use 123D or Fusion 360” seems to be the answer I get now every time I make a suggestion for Tinkercad. Obviously Fusion is a whole different animal, but honestly I think your users would be better served by improving Tink than by forcing them to go to a tool (123D) whose UI (imo) is a major step backwards in many respects. Yes, I understand that you want to keep Tink simple, but if you put your minds to it I’m sure that features like radiused edges *can* be added without confusing or cluttering the UI. Before Tink showed the way, it wasn’t thought possible that the level of functionality it delivers could be done in such a simple and easy-to-learn UI. Kai and Mikko showed the way. The two programs are too close in functionality to justify their separate existences. Tink has a far better and more intuitive UI. In my opionion you should just put 123D’s best features into Tink, and then discontinue 123D. You have a much wider user base than pre-schoolers here. If I can’t do what I need with Tink I’m going elsewhere, not to 123D.

      • I’m glad you feel so strongly about the app! Believe me, you’re not alone and it’s users like yourself that have instigated some of the biggest changes we’ve made to improve Tinkercad – like Shapescripts and the custom grid sizes.

        Unfortunately, what may sound like ‘stock answers’ are just the factual limitations of the servers and the software. I use Tinkercad for lots of things, including some recent Halloween projects, and have run into the same frustrations that you’re describing. You’re spot on with saying the load on Tinkercad servers has increased – we’ve had a huge user boom in recent months, and have seen some pretty spectacular new projects – at the cost of having to re-examine how Tinkercad can better serve its community going forward.

        Please know that while Autodesk is a large company, the team that is dedicated to Tinkercad is pretty small, and these guys are constantly working to improve user experiences. The technology is relatively new and can be affected by lots of things, including the users’ internet connection, servers misbehaving and peak usage times. When we suggest other products, our intention is for you to be successful, even if it’s not with our tools.

        As for your suggestion to combine TC with 123D – there are some fundamental differences in the engineering of the 2 apps, but you’re not far off the mark for some future updates. 🙂

  2. I agree with Julia’s two comments. I further suggest that the Tinkercad team listen to users and respond respectfully and empathetically when they take the time to make a suggestion. Explaining away the presence of uninformative error messages by suggesting that a different product may better suit their needs or Tinkercad’s lack of rigorous undo steps by suggesting that users never work ahead of the server. Really?

  3. I teach a general-education college 3d printing class at James Madison University (www.geekhaus.com/3space) and have been using Tinkercad to start students off learning how to design their own models.

    ********
    Here are a couple of suggestions that would make my life easier if they existed:

    1. Ability to create a playlist of lessons/tutorials, and also have the lessons looked at another time for accuracy, etc. Some of them have little problems that make things more difficult than they need to be for students, like steps missing or something non-intuitive. The pre-existing lessons are a huge help to getting students started with simple tasks, so thank you for having them! I’d love if there were a sequence of lessons specifically tagged for the skill they teach, like “how to make holes”, “how to use the workplane to add things on an incline” or “how to use the ruler to type in dimensions”.

    2. Possibly some sort of easier way for students to copy their own models into the classroom account. For the first assignment I had them do this with their initial designs, but it got complicated. Maybe a way to link the students’ personal accounts so that certain of their designs also appear in the classroom account, but can’t be edited or destroyed by the other students? (Although *can* be printed by the other students, who sometimes like each others’ designs.)

    3. Maybe some more sophisticated how-to *videos*?

    ********
    Other suggestions that aren’t about the education version in particular but that I would love to see in Tinkercad:

    a. Ability to bevel edges, extrude, loft, twist extrude, etc.

    b. Ability to hold one part of the model still while another one centers *to* the first one.

    c. Better import of .svg files so that concave areas did not get filled in and so that imported text is supported. I fight with this a lot.

    d. Make the right column of commands and objects, and the window that opens when you click on an object, smaller. On my small laptop this takes up most of my real estate and I wish I could switch to smaller icons, etc to get more space on the workplane.

    e. Ability to grab an object by one corner and pull just that one corner, to make new shapes. Or to draw a curve or points in space to define a new object. Not sure if that makes sense but basically I want to be able to sketch out any curve I like to extrude/loft/whatever with.

    f. Add the Afinia H-Series build plate size to the list of custom sizes.

    ********
    And a couple of thank-you’s:

    i. THANK YOU for making it easy to import other .stl files, modify/remix them, and then export again.

    ii. THANK YOU for existing and providing a very simple interface that is understandable to both kids and general education college students from diverse backgrounds with no computer/STEM experience.

  4. I’d love to see the ability to create and manage accounts for kids with no email address. Project sharing is really important as well – kids should be able to “hand in” finished files for the teacher to review and print.

  5. I agree with Bridget. I’m just starting out with my 5th graders. We use Sketch-up. Will Tinkercad be easy for them to use as well? What 3D printer would you recommend us purchasing? Thanks for allowing us input.

  6. I would like a teacher dashboard that accomplishes the same objectives that Bridget listed (and a few more) – easy student account creation, project access by teacher, sharing of projects amongst the classmates, history of contributors to a project, and a class page to showcase work.

    As we begin more work with this program in a classroom setting, I will be sure to return to this page to share other “notes from the field” to hopefully improve this already high-quality program.

  7. Better sharing options within the team. Right now we have a process where the student has to copy their model into the group project. They don’t all get how to do it. Also, because some projects are shared with the whole team, it becomes hard for the student to find their own work in the sea of others work.

  8. As a Grade 6 teacher here’s my wish list!
    – ability to either use Google Accounts or easily set up accounts
    – ability to share designs from student to student where it’s clear which is the most recent version
    – a teacher dashboard where I can access all the kids designs and easily look at and download them
    – low, or easily justifyable cost

  9. It would be really cool to be able to:
    1. present all the designs in the same screen at the front of the class
    2. be able to look at the path the students took to get to their design (length of time, number of deletes, etc)
    3. to be able to print directly from TinkerCad
    4. to have TinkerCad be able to talk to other software through a TCP port (web services)

    • I really like suggestion #2. Offers a great chance to show “process” and not just product in a learning-based setting.

  10. I agree with all of Laura’s comments and thank-you’s above. I have an Afinia and would also like to see the Afinia H-Series build plate size added to the list of custom sizes. I really like Beth’s idea of a teacher dashboard and I believe some one mentioned being able to create step by step lessons to share. I really like that idea. It would be great if there was a way for students to create their own step by step lessons and then share them to a library of lesson plans. It would be great if they could tag the lessons with key words for easy searching. Thanks for a wonderful tool! I am just beginning to engage students with it and love Tinkercad’s ease of use.

  11. There are some really good ideas above.

    From watching neophytes use TinkerCad, I would like to suggest the following :

    Alignment and distribution of objects is often difficult. It would be good if there were a tool that could easily and evenly distribute objects across 3D spaces.

    Another useful tool would be a Symmetry Checker. The student would choose the plane or the side of the object to test and the tool would highlight object groups that do not seem to be symmetrical against the chosen axis. Perhaps a pop-up with a “Fix it” button could appear as well as an “Undo it” if the tool gets it completely wrong.

    Text handling needs to be improved. Kids want to sign or mark most of their creations. It would be great if there were an active type tool that would allow them to write text with a keyboard, align it, and then choose the typeface, size, weight, height, etc. The type tool should allow the text to be created as a positive ( will come out of the object ) or a negative ( will be carved in to of the object ). It would be useful to be able to convert the object forms back to text to correct small typos, etc.

    It would be useful for children to be able to import reference objects to understand size or scale. Perhaps these could be shown in a translucent grey colour so it is clear that they are not part of the object and could be easily toggled on or off. Suggestions would be : Lego Brick, New Pencil, Playmobile person, Hot Wheels car, Barbie doll, etc.

    Organic building with simple rules would be a interesting addition. It may be possible to produce a simple tool that would allow kids to create rule based objects or fill in 3D spaces with basic automation rules such as start with an X cm cylinder and each 3X cm it should split in half and the new cylinders should branch on the same plane at an angle of 30 degrees and a diameter that is 2/3 the previous section’s diameter.

  12. I intensive use the ALIGN tool so I really would like to have a keyboard shortcut to activate it instead of clicking adjust and then on align.
    Personally I find it strange that “MIRROR” is a submenu of “ADJUST”. I would prefer if mirror and align would both be on the menu-bar next to group/ungroup.

  13. I echo the above comment on grouping users as classes as well. I’d love to see the ability to turn in assignments as links to a design/project (like the link share feature of Google Drive, Dropbox, etc…). Also, it would be great if teachers could create their own assignments with step-by-step instructions (like how tutorials work). Thanks so much for doing everything you do. My classes are learning so much with TinkerCAD.

    • I’ve tried to log-in with 28 students at one time and we’ve given up because it took so long to get everyone logged in. Maybe we’re doing something wrong. We’d like to try again. Thanks.

      • Maybe it’s a internet connection issue? We released an update to improve the server responsiveness, but 28 connections from a single IP address will be sluggish. I’ll forward to the team now.

        We are looking into local versions of Tinkercad for educators, stay tuned.

  14. Did I miss something regarding the education accounts? I can’t find anything but I was under the impression announcements would be made third quarter last year (2014).

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