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    Tinkercad's 3D Editor is Now Touchscreen Compatible

    Donald Bell
    Published on - February 13, 2019 by Donald Bell

    Tips & Tricks, Teachers, Features

    Tablet users rejoice! Tinkercad’s improved touchscreen compatibility now makes it possible to design in the 3D editor using just your fingertips. If you have a tablet handy, give it a shot.

    We’ve been slowly improving touchscreen interactions for months, but only now do we feel the experience is ready to show off. We know many of you use a mix of devices in your home or classroom, and we want you to be able to use Tinkercad on whatever is convenient.

    Because Tinkercad runs in your browser, there’s nothing you need to do to update your software or enable compatibility. The improved experience should just work the moment you log in to your account.

    If you’ve grown accustomed to pointing and clicking around the Tinkercad 3D editor, touchscreen interactions may take a little getting used to, but the experience is essentially the same. Objects can be pulled on to the design plane and modified by tugging at the corners or defining measurements in a numerical field. Our Scribble design tool is especially fun on a touchscreen.

    System Requirements

    Touchscreen compatibility is currently supported on iOS and Android tablets. For iOS, the minimum supported OS is 10.3, though we recommend iOS 11 or higher. For Android, the minimum supported OS is 5.1, with 7.1 or higher recommended.

    For browsers, we recommend Safari for iOS users and Chrome for Android, both of which are the default browsers for their operating system.

    Hybrid devices (such as the Microsoft Surface) that work with a combination of touchscreen, keyboard and mouse, may work but are not specifically supported at this time.

    A smartphone running a supported OS outlined above may technically work, but we find that the limited screen size of most phones make it difficult to design and interact with Tinkercad. Your mileage may vary.

    Limitations

    While Tinkercad has recently grown to include a Circuits editor and a CodeBlocks editor, at this time we are only announcing touchscreen support for the 3D design editor. We hope to roll out more touchscreen support across all our editors in the future.

    Our more advanced users will notice that the Tinkercad tablet experience necessarily prevents the possibility of using keyboard shortcuts and Alt-key modifiers. The majority of these features can be carried out using buttons in the editor, however, the ability to uniformly scale an object while holding the shift key simply has no touchscreen analog at this time. As a workaround, you can directly enter your object’s measurements in the numerical field to achieve your desired size.

    We should also clarify that while Tinkercad is increasingly tablet-compatible, we are still a web-based tool, not a downloadable app. Being web-based allows us to be broadly compatible and requires no updating or maintenance for you. All we require is an internet connection.

    Tips on Importing and Exporting

    It can sometimes be a headache to manage files stored on a tablet. File systems are sometimes hidden and space is limited. Tablets in classroom settings are often further limited by download restrictions.

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    To address this, Tinkercad has brought back the ability to import files by URL. This way, instead of downloading a file from a site like Thingiverse, and then uploading to Tinkercad as an imported model, you can simply paste in the URL of the file you want to use and Tinkercad will directly import it to the 3D editor.

    When it comes to exporting your designs, our Export feature still requires the ability to download a file locally. Our Send To button, however, allows you to send your design to a number of online communities or generate a shareable link.

    Screen Shot 2018-10-30 at 4.08.25 PM

    In short, if you want to get designs in or out of Tinkercad—using a computer or a tablet—we have options that should work for everyone.

    Give it a try

    We hope you’re as excited about this announcement as we are. We encourage you to give the tablet experience a try, even if you're a diehard desktop user, and let us know what you think on Facebook or Twitter.