Tinkercad is a great place to work out rough designs ideas in private, or publicly share finished creations with the world. Sometimes though, you’ll have a design that you only want to share with a few trusted people. In cases like this we recommend using our collaboration option.
If you’ve ever worked with someone on a Google Doc, or collaborated with a friend to build together in Minecraft, then you’ll feel right at home collaborating in Tinkercad. Not only is it a fun way to share the design process with others, but it’s also a useful tool that students can use to request help on a design from their peers or their teacher.
Inviting Collaborators in the 3D Editor
First, let’s tell you where to find Tinkercad’s collaboration setting. In the 3D editor, the quickest way to locate it is to go to the upper right corner of the Tinkercad window. Here you'll find an icon of a person with a plus sign next to them (shown below).
Clicking this icon will open up the Collaborate settings window where you’ll have the option of generating and copying a temporary link that anyone can use to view, edit, and add to your design. These links will automatically expire after 14 days, reestablishing the privacy of your design. If you wish to continue collaborating on a design after the 14 day expiration, this window provides the option of generating a new link, creating a new 14 day period.
These same settings can also be found by clicking the Send To button beneath the icon, scrolling down to the end of the Send window, and clicking the “Invite people” button.
Inviting Collaborators in the Circuits Editor
Tinkercad’s Circuits editor also includes a collaboration option, though the interface is slightly different. Here, you’ll click the Share button in the upper right corner of the Tinkercad window, opening up window labeled “Share this design”. At the bottom of this window you’ll find the “Invite people” button, providing the option to generate and copy a link you can email or IM out to your collaborators.
What to Know Before Collaborating
For the 14-day period a collaborator has access to your design, they enjoy every privilege you have as the original designer -- including the ability to modify or even erase your work.
Unless you’re starting from scratch with a collaborator, we recommend creating a backup of your design by duplicating it in your design dashboard view (see below). This way, no matter what happens in the collaboration, you’ll have a version of the design you can revert back to.
It’s also useful to know that when you’re collaborating on a design simultaneously, each participant will only see the outcome of each other’s design decisions, not the actions that lead to them. Collaborators don’t see each others’ cursors, nor can they hear or see each other through Tinkercad. If a collaborator zooms or rotates the workplane in their view, it does not control the view of other collaborators.
Considering these limitations, simultaneous collaboration on a Tinkercad project can feel a little jarring. Objects can seem to appear out of nowhere, and design choices are made with no context or conversation.
For a truly collaborative experience, you’ll need to provide a layer of communication to run alongside Tinkercad. It could be as simple as a phone call, or an IM client, or as elaborate as a Zoom call with a screen share. Collaboration thrives on communication, so find a way to get in touch.
How are you collaborating?
When we created Tinkercad’s collaboration tool four years ago, we really had no idea how it would be received or put to use. If you’re using collaboration with your classroom, or your friends, we’d love to hear your success stories. Tag us in a social media post on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.