Make this! Design a line-following robot by creating the circuit in Tinkercad. Then, bring your design into Fusion 360 to simulate, wire, route, and more.
In 2018, we announced the capability to export native Tinkercad 3D geometry into Fusion 360, a professional-grade CAD/CAM/CAE tool used by industry professionals across manufacturing, machining, engineering, and industrial design.
Today, we’re thrilled to extend that capability to Tinkercad electronics designs. This means that your students’ Circuits designs can be exported with 1 click into a professional PCB design environment for further tooling, simulation, wiring, routing, and milling.
We believe students deserve the same tools as the pros.
Here’s to one more way that puts all students on a more level playing field when it comes to acquiring the skillsets, toolsets, and mindsets for the jobs of tomorrow.
Let’s get started.
Start in Tinkercad
The first step of any electronics project is to add components into a design.
If you’re new to the Circuits design space, please visit our Official Guide to Tinkercad Circuits.
Tinkercad Circuits is the easiest way to get your students started with learning electronics—available in 16 languages on any computer with an internet connection. Using Tinkercad’s interactive electronics editor, students can design and simulate circuits—no hardware required.
If you’ve used the Circuits design space, then you’ll recognize this interface:
Here, we have the design for a circuit of a line-following robot. It’s a simple and fun project to get students familiar with several key concepts in electronics and robotics.
The robot is designed to follow a dark tape on a lighter colored surface. This works by having two LEDs at the bottom of the robot. As they produce light, this light gets reflected and measured by two sensors. The reflected light is going to be higher on the surface without tape than the one under the tape. This difference in light measured by the sensors will turn on one of the motors, so the robot can correct course and stay on the path.
Clicking “Start Simulation" will allow your students to test whether their components are working together as intended. If your students click on the sensors while simulation is on, they will see a slider that represents the intensity of the light received. Students can move the sliders to ensure the motors react properly.
Clicking on the icon will allow your students to view their bill of materials (BOM):
Clicking on the icon will allow your students to view their electronics schematic:
Your students can come back anytime to edit the design in the Circuits design space.
Does the circuit run as intended? Excellent. We're ready for the next step.
Click to Export
Your students can now send your Tinkercad Circuits design into Fusion 360 to:
- Simulate and wire in a professional PCB environment
- Auto-route a PCB so that the students can mill it themselves or send it to a vendor for manufacturing
- Mill (get it made by a PCB milling machine, or order it from a vendor)
- Use the resulting PCB as a reference for the design of the enclosure, or for anything else you need to design around it (like the whole robot, in this case)
Clicking the “Send To” button near the top right corner will open the following screen:
After verifying eligibility for a Fusion 360 educational entitlement, students can take their Tinkercad Circuits designs into Fusion 360 on their desktop.
Here’s what that same schematic and the 2D board look like once in Fusion 360:
And here's your PCB design in Fusion 360 electronics:
Do More in Fusion 360
Once your students have exported their design from Tinkercad into Fusion 360, the sky is truly the limit. All the components added in Tinkercad Circuits are now represented on the 2D Board layout in Fusion 360.
Simply create the shape for the board and position the elements where you want them. Then you are ready to wire the board.
As you switch into 3D representation mode, you will see your circuit board automatically populated with 3D components:
All Tinkercad components in the Circuits library are mapped to Fusion 360’s components library, Library.io, so you can be sure all your components in Tinkercad will be available in Fusion 360 without any extra work.
|From here, you can then send your design to a PCB milling machine, such as a desktop CNC, to get your prototype board made.|
Once you are done with the PCB design, you can use it as a reference for your line-following robot design. Simply insert the 3D PCB into a Fusion 360 document and get started!
Who is eligible to use Fusion 360?
- Minimum age requirement. To use Fusion 360, your students must meet minimum age requirements. In compliance with COPPA, this means being at least 13 years old, or at least 14 years old in China and South Korea. We say no to ads, follow security industry best practices, and never sell a single byte of data. Learn more about Autodesk's minimum age requirements for Education access.
- Not a student or educator? Not a problem. Hobbyists can qualify for the free personal license for home-based, non-commercial projects. Note that this option does not include the Chromebook-friendly browser access to Fusion 360, which is intended for EDU use only.
More resources for teachers
- Read the latest news from the Fusion 360 electronics blog
- Watch Fusion 360 electronics tutorials on demand
- Find help files for Fusion 360 electronics
- Find a community of practice on the Fusion 360 electronics forum
Share Your Feedback
If you’re an educator who uses Tinkercad Circuits to introduce students to electronics, we’d love to hear from you. How do you teach with Circuits today? Do you plan to incorporate Fusion 360 into the next step? What materials, learning content, or webinar topics would be helpful for your classroom?
Let us know how you teach electronics or write in your feedback and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for choosing to teach with Tinkercad!