Introducing 123D for the Tinkercad community

Autodesk is pleased to welcome Tinkercad to our family of fun, powerful and easy-to-use tools! We’d also like to extend that welcome to you, the community of users that has made Tinkercad great. For those of you who aren't familiar with 123D or are here for the first time, check out the brief video tour below, and then read on for an introduction to the rest of the 123D family, and some of the things you can do with them. You'll find tools that help you get 3D models of real world objects into Tinkercad, help to make your Tinkercad models into physical objects, and design software to take your designs to the next level.

To get the most out of 123D, you should sign up for an Autodesk account. A free account will let you store projects in our online gallery, and download files from our content library and from other users. A premium membership will increase your access to premium content, give you access to an Instructables Pro membership, discounts on the purchase of a Makerbot, and many other benefits.


123D Catch turns a series of photographs into a detailed 3D model of an object.  You can take pictures with the iPhone and iPad versions, or use a digital camera with any modern internet browser that works with Tinkercad. We also have a standalone desktop version for Windows. Tools available in the desktop or online versions of 123D Catch help you clean up your scans, select the most important parts, and export a file suitable for 3D printing or CNC.

When you export a file for 3D printing from 123D Catch, Tinkercad can import these files (.STL or .OBJ) directly, and manipulate them like other solids. You can scale them, move them, and combine them with other solids. (In fact, Tinkercad does a great job of preparing 123D Catch files for printing).

123D Design is a 3D design program, much like Tinkercad, but with additional features that can help take your designs to the next level. Features like fillets (rounded edges), chamfers (angled edges), Smart Text and the ability to “tweak” edges to make complex geometries give you the power and flexibility to design just about anything you can imagine – and make it look sleek and professional! Tinkercad users should feel right at home with the interface, too.

123D Design can tap into an extensive library of premium models, hosted on the 123D Gallery website. You can also store your own creations on the 123D website, and share them amongst the various editions of 123D Design. 123D Design is available on the iPad, in any browser that supports Tinkercad, as well as a more powerful standalone desktop version for both Mac and Windows. You can export files from Tinkercad as you would for 3D printing, and import them into 123D Design, where you can scale them, move them, and combine them with other solids. You can’t currently edit Tinkercad files in 123D Design, but we’re working on it.

123D Make is a powerful program that takes a 3D model and prepares it for fabrication using many different techniques. For example, you can slice your model into layers, cut these layers out of cardboard using a laser cutter, and assemble into really big constructions.

You can also export files from Tinkercad as you would for 3D printing (STL format) and import them into 123D Make. They work great! 123D Make is available as a full-featured desktop app, and with the most popular functions as a browser based web app, compatible with any browser that supports Tinkercad.

The 123D Gallery acts as the connecting hub between the various apps, as a community for sharing with other users, and as a library for great content. In the near future, we will be developing additional tools for working on your 3D projects that will be hosted here.

All of the 123D apps support saving and loading files from the 123D website, giving you the convenience of being able to access all your projects from any of the platforms: mobile, web and desktop. You can browse and remix projects from other users, and also choose from the library of premium 3D models prepared by Autodesk. It’s also a great place to comment on projects by other users, and share models that you are proud of. Make sure to sign up for membership to make the most of these online features.

Getting things made
The 123D family of programs supports many different ways of turning your digital creations into physical objects. You can choose from carving out of wood (CNC Utility), 3D printing (Autodesk 3D Print Utility) or laser cut slices of cardboard or wood (123D Make). If you don’t have access to workshop tools yourself, you can request services from our many fabrication partners – either via the 123D website or from within the apps themselves.

We hope you find this introduction to the world of 123D interesting, and look forward to seeing what we can make together with these tools! Sign up for a 123D account now!

ShopBot Tools’ Handibot Kickstarter now online

At this year's Bay Area Maker Faire, we got to preview ShopBot Tools' newest lil box of awesome - the Handibot - and today they launched their Kickstarter campaign to raise $125k for full-scale production.

It's pretty great. Imagine a tiny little 3-axis CNC router that you can plug into a standard 110V outlet and buzz out perfectly detailed scrollwork.  THEN just stick it back in your toolbox..!

We love it for its ingenuity, but it's also super-simple to use with 123D apps' CNC utility.  We're working directly with ShopBot to build simple integrations into their tools, and I'm looking forward to carving something up with one of these little guys.

The Handibot takes a 1/8" or 1/4" shank bit and has a 6"x8"x4" x/y/z bed size.  But because of its portability, you could enlarge that indefinitely with some sort of registration markings.

We love the folks at ShopBot and wish them luck in their campaign.  We may even need to get one for the new office. Stay tuned to the blog and Facebook, we're headed to Maker Faire Kansas City this weekend and we'll get some more updates from the North-Carolinians.

As of this posting, they've raised over $49k.

M.C. Langer – Pew! Pew!

You may remember our last post on Mario Caicedo Langer - a recent Instructables' Artist-in-Residence.  Well, someone gave him the key to our new 3D print lab and he's coming up with some pretty awesome models using 123D Design and an Objet 3D printer.

Mario's latest is a "Missile Launcher Tank", based on an old G.I. Joe vehicle.  It's pretty great (it actually shoots missiles!), but what I really took away from the Instructable is the fact that even a complete novice to 3D technology can imagine, design and ultimately, create a fully-functioning "thing" with just a little guidance.  Yes, the printers are expensive and not everyone has access to one, but (and I'm showing my age) I remember when VCRs received the same criticism.

At the very least, I completely admire Mario's dedication to 'play'.  In person, he's crazy-excited and enthusiastic about most things, and even more so at the potential of making NEW things. That's hugely refreshing in a space that sometimes lets the limitations of a new technology overshadow its potential.  Keep it up, Mario!

Looking through his past Instructables; best line ever: "And sometimes in some emergencies, we think 'It would be good if someone had a gun like Batman's'."

Read the tank's full Instructable here.

Awesome 123D Design Tutorials – by Kacie Hultgren

  You may know about the 3D Printing Training Camp put on by Makezine - it's a pretty thorough course, using 123D Design as reference. Well, Kacie Hultgren (AKA PrettySmallThings) has very awesomely posted the videos to her YouTube channel!  If you've been looking for tutorials on 123D Design, these are a really great place to start.  

 In the 3-D printing universe, Kacie Hultgren is better known as PrettySmallThings.  Kacie is a scenic designer in the theatre industry, and was recently profiled in Stage Directions and Wired for her work using her 3D Printer to create scale set models. Her delicate designs are Thingiverse favorites.  She is an expert AutoCAD user, and brings enthusiasm for craft & design to 3D printing.

From the 123D Gallery: Onoring

I first noticed Onoring's models when I featured his Hero2 GoPro mount on the 123D Gallery homepage.  He's been cranking out some pretty cool custom camera mounts for GoPros and other cameras, and (oddly enough) a model of the White House. Have a look at more here.

From the 123D Gallery – Mio Tanaka

Every week, we try to highlight some cool work by specific users in the 123D Gallery.  Mio Tanaka's bicycle parts have been consistently cool.  Have a look! "I am not CAD professional.  I just start studying and make a plan. I was a graphic designer before, so I have knowledge of 2D design.  My parents ran a bicycle shop and I want to make the lightest bike (ex.made of plastic ) and bike accessories." (sic) - Mio Tanaka  

123D Design + MakerBot + iPhone = iFlyer

I just finished a little project using 123D Design and a Makerbot - I wanted a way to make little POV videos with an iPhone, so I modeled a clip that fit over my phone (with the case still on!) and supported a small model plane in front of the camera.  Added a little Flight of the Valkyries and walked around the neighborhood. See the Instructable here.

Call for pre-made parts!!

We're rolling out some new parts for the Kits in 123D Design. That means you'll soon have some real-world models at your disposal in the Design app, and I wanted to see if there were some specific requests out there for parts that you might use on the regular.

I've put in for some tools and hardware - like metric and SAE wrenches and hex bolts - but is there anything that you'd like to see as a part or a template?

M4 screws for an Arduino enclosure?
4" 2-way gate hinges?
Light bulbs?
Threaded rod?
Phone cases?

Post a comment here or email

123D Design for iOS update out now!

Check your app store for updates on 123D Design for iPad - we addressed some of your requests and added features! What's new: * Color! Set colors for your design. Defined colors will appear when the model is opened in 123D Design web and desktop tools. * Dimensions. Tap on an object to display its measurements. *Create image snapshots of your design that you can email, share, or save to your image library. * Contextual menus appear with a long press on parts or on the canvas. * Insert parts by dragging and dropping to the canvas, or double tap a part to drop it at the origin. * Lock or unlock objects in the workspace. * UI improvements and bug fixes.

3D printing everyday stuff.

Let's get this out of the way: 3D printing is amazing.  Prototyping and even generating human tissue are happening.  Right. Now.

That said, let's find some everyday uses for this crazy technology. How are you using it to fix stuff around your house?  Doorstops, replacement parts, hacks, key hooks... all that stuff.

Dont' have access to a 3D printer?  Post your idea here and maybe we'll help you get it made...  ;)

Here's a perfect example - a conquered washing machine knob, see the Instructable here. More stuff in the Instructables Forum.