Sketch and text!!

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).

Stencil

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!

https://tinkercad.com/things/kbSij1Ai58w-candle-holder

https://tinkercad.com/things/1jZADmXaJyP-candle-holder-wcarved-name

https://tinkercad.com/things/gqoZ8hNY5ia-stencil-template

18 comments

    • Absolutely! And you can also create a new Shape Generator with an svg, that can then be edited in the sketch editor too. The possibilities are endless!
      Thanks for the feedback!

      • “And you can also create a new Shape Generator with an svg”

        hi do you have any more info on this topic?? thanks again Kerry

      • Hi Kerry,
        We’ll do another post with this info. In the meantime, you can check Extrude or Ring, click on View Code, and if you know Java Script, you can see how they were done.
        Thanks!

  1. This is wonderful! I can’t wait to try this out. My students are going to be very, very happy with these new features. Thank you so much for doing this!

  2. Thank you for continuing to develop Tinkercad. I agree completely with neoteric’s comments above. These features are great additions to an already user-friendly, and still powerful, modeling tool! I am anxious to take these features out for a test drive.

  3. Wow!!! Rounded edges (and text) at last! Thank you, Santa! the only thing I’m having trouble with is the way the shape generator controls interact (or don’t interact) with the controls in the workspace. When I change the dimensions of a “Rounded Cube” by Tony in the workspace, the dimensions in the shape generator don’t change to match. Furthermore, the sequence in which I change dimensions in the two places seems to affect the final result. If I set the x, y, and z in the generator and then resize in the workspace, the edge radius is different than if I set my target size in the workspace first and then set the generator to match. Hard to predict what you’re going to get as a radius.

    • Hi Julia,

      For any Shape Generator objects, you may want to avoid resizing in the workspace, and stick with setting the dimensions in the Shape Generator fields exclusively. Shape Generator scripts aren’t aware of any scaling / rotating done in the workspace, so any resizing done there simply “stretches” the object. This can get especially confusing if you’ve rotated it, since the X, Y, and Z axes no longer make sense.

      When you resize in the workspace, you’re basically scaling the object — it still has it’s original 20x20x20 size, but you’ve now said “for this object, the original 20mm is actually 50mm”. The shape script still treats it like it’s 20x20x20, then the renderer scales that 20mm rounded cube up to 50mm.

      Hope that makes sense!

      • Tony is right in the behavior Tinkercad actually shows, which does not mean it’s a desired scenario moving forward. Whatever change we do to this behavior will have to be very well thought, and consider multiple edge cases. If someone wants to have a conversation about this problem and let us know your opinion, you can either reply to this thread, or contact me (I’m Guillermo, the Product Manager for Tinkercad) at guillermo.melantoni@autodesk.com.

  4. Hello, I’m sorry to post this here but my emails went unanswered. I teach three 3D-printing classes that started on Monday and we use Tinkercad as our starting design software. From our computers Tinkercad has been down for a few days and we cannot use it in or out of class for demos or assignments, and it is becoming a bit of an emergency. Can you please get back to me to let me know if this problem will be resolved soon or if we need to find other avenues?

    • Thanks for your fast reply to me by email. I will keep holding tight and watch your Twitter feed for more updates!

      • Of course! We’re working on it, thanks for your patience.

        You mentioned your emails went unanswered, but I only see one from yesterday that wasn’t addressed until today, and a few from the past that we’ve replied to. Are there others that we’ve missed?

      • No, actually after I wrote that here I realized the other emails were all in my brain and not Actual Emails. 🙂

  5. I have a cylinder shape that I’m trying to wrap text around – how do I make a rounded workplane for text? Is that possible?

    And I only see one font for the text in my toolbox? How do I access other fonts?

    Thanks!

    • Have a look in the Shape Generators tab – there is a Text generator that has a few more options. Also, you can upload an SVG file of the text you’d like, and Tinkercad will give it depth.

      We’re working on some other features like paths, but at the moment, you can drag a workplane to the face of the cylinder (under Helpers), then dragging letters will snap to that surface. You’ll have to do that for every letter for now unfortunately.

  6. Hey, these are really nice examples. Unfortunately I would like to copy and tinker the candle holder, but I am getting this grouping error, which I can not solve. Can you have a look at it ? Thank you very much.

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