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    Sketch and text!!

    Published on - December 19, 2013 by AndyTaylored

    Tips & Tricks

    We are pleased to announce new Shape Generator capabilities available in Tinkercad!

    Tinkercad offers some great shapes to help get you started, and with the introduction of Shape Generators (formerly known as ShapeScripts), the power to create is totally increased.

    Now, we don’t expect everyone to be able to create their own Shape Generator using Java Script, although we definitely encourage all of you to take a try. So in order to make Shape Generators more flexible and accessible, we added sketching capabilities using the Autodesk Creative Platform. To learn more about sketching with ACP, check out this link.

    So let’s see how we can apply this to a Shape Generator. Check out our in-depth instructions below to become a Shape Generating master, and be sure to share the new shapes you create. Happy sketching!

    We’ll  start by dragging the Extrude Shape Generator into the canvas and see what we can do with it.

    Extrude Shape Generator

    The inspector now shows a sketch window with a grid, which will change your shape in the canvas as you drag the control points.

    There’s a Settings button on the sketch editor that allows you to snap to the grid. I strongly encourage using this tool if you want to be very precise.

    Extrude Sketch Editor

    The sketches in Extrusion and Ring Shape Generators are created based on curves controlled by Bezier handles. By manipulating the handles, you can create smoother curvatures (moving them away from the center point) or get to converting the curve into a point if you take these handles all the way into the center point. You can even self-intersect the volume if you keep dragging the handles past the center. The extruded shape will react to each of your changes.

    The next four images show all the different scenarios I just mentioned.



    Another interesting Shape Generator is the Ring. It basically shows a sketch with the option to control the Height and Diameter.

    Ring Shape Generator

    The Ring will then revolve the sketch, allowing you to create all sorts of different models. Take a look at the Candle Holder at the end of this post, so you can see how much potential this shape has.

    Editing Sketch on Ring Shape Generator

    If you really like any of the Shape Generators, please rate them. Rating is right there in the Inspector, where you can also add comments. This is important, since these comments will get to the author of the Shape Generator. Maybe you have a great contribution to make, and the author can actually enhance the shape.

    Commenting Shape Generators

    If you want to learn how any of the Shape Generators were made, you can also click on View Code (as long as the author has allowed others to view code), and this will take you to the Editor. This Editor deserves a series of posts. This is where you create the Shape Generator using Java Script.

    Inside the Editor

    Last but definitely not least, there is a Shape Generator for Text!

    Text Shape Generator

    The Inspector will show a series of three fonts , along with a field for editing the text itself and an option for Height. Much simpler than adding letters one by one and aligning them, right? We think this is going to be a huge enhancement for our user base.

    Choosing fonts

    As usual, text is now an object like any other, so it can be converted into a hole and then subtracted from other objects. Here’s a stencil I made. Two of the fonts we provided are great for making stencils, so you can print something like what you see in the image below, without any pieces getting totally disconnected (as it would happen with an A).


    Now let’s see an example that uses a couple of the Shape Generators. This is a candle holder I just made for my son’s bedroom. Knowing my son, it’s going to have a LED inside and not a candle.

    Candle holder

    So I created a cylinder slightly bigger than the LED, and then added a Ring. After working with the grips, I got to the shape I wanted. Then I also wanted to have some nice shadows casting, so I added the Voronoi Shape Generator, and duplicated it so as to have the four parts to subtract against the main shape.

    Editing revolution

    The Voronoi Shape Generator does create some really cool shapes, even randomly. Mode the Randomizer slider and see what you can get. I normally like to add more number of cells (using the # fof Cells slider). My options look slightly different than the default ones. More on that on a following post.

    Voronoi Shape Generator

    Finally, I added a workplane so I could position a text on the side. I tried with the Bebas font, and then also tried with the text as a hole, and subtracted from the candle holder. For this scenario, I used Majorsnafu, for the same reasons mentioned in the Stencil example.

    Final design

    Candle holder with subtraction

    Detail of candle holder

    Here are the links to the two candle holders and the stencil. Hope they help, and we can’t wait to see what you come up with. Make sure to share your results!