TinkerTip: Importing STLs

Did you know: You can import an STL into Tinkercad, 123D Design and Meshmixer?

Found a really cool model on 123Dapp.com or Thingiverse?  You can take the STL file of the model and insert it directly in Tinkercad, 123D Design and Meshmixer.

This is a great way to remix a cool model or just get more acquainted with 3D modeling!


  1. A tip regarding this awesome feature: Tinkercad is limited to models with less than 300,000 faces. You can use Meshlab’s “Quadric Edge Collapse Decimation” filter to reduce the number of faces in a model. (Yep, that’s really what it’s called)

  2. Once imported, I can’t seem to edit any of the parts. The STL file is a single block. Ungroup or edit does not do anything. Is there any way to edit the elements of an imported model?

    • In short, no – STL files carry a single mesh. Once created, it treats everything as a single unit. However, you can select an object and when you click Download for 3D Printing, you can opt to download only the selected object. Make sense?

  3. Nope, that doesn’t make sense. I designed something in TinkerCAD, I saved it in TinkerCAD… I exit TinkerCAD. Then when I reopen it to continue working on my design, TinkerCAD has it all grouped together and I can’t just work on one piece of my model, anymore. Is there a way to save my designs, so that I can work on the separate pieces again? — Thanks and please help.

  4. Hi Andy, I was able to print one of two objects (basket and a lid). The basket printed fine but the lid ended up looking like silly string. The two objects are grouped together so I drew a box around the lid (used the left mouse and dragged a rectangular box around the lid) but as soon as I release that box goes away and the original box with both objects appears again. At one point I was able to drag a box around the lid and download for 3d printing but when I opened the Cube software both objects were on the work plane. Help please!

    • @Christina – not entirely sure, but it sounds like you want to select individual objects. Go to our Help Center and submit a ticket, comments are the slooooowest way to get a response.

    • Same for me (not letting me upload .STL file).

      In fact, I can’t upload an .STL file that I uploaded yesterday (without modification to .STL) – even re-downloaded the .STL from original source – still won’t load today!

  5. I know this is a kludgy way to handle it but I just drop a negative shape over what I don’t want to print. It’s not elegant but it works!

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