3D Modeling

7th grade students have the option of using tech class time to work on 3d models for the simple machines science project or other class projects.

You will need a TinkerCAD.com account.  Set it up using Mr. James’ classroom code or get your parents to help set it up at home.

Click the “LEARN” button on TinkerCAD.com to do a few quick tutorials to learn the basics of how to place, size, and move objects within TinkerCAD.

Simple Machines

Check out Mr. James’ collection of Simple Machines projects on Thingiverse which you can download and modify.

TinkerCAD also has shape generators that will generate a wheel, a gear, a sprint, or other components of your project.  Look under the Shape Generators.

The 3d printer is a tool which can create components of your project.  Consider the following different ways to use the 3d printer and 3d modeling for this project:

(c) Some simple machines such as the lever, inclined plane, and wedge are extremely simple and very easy to model in TinkerCAD from a blank page.

(b) Design custom connecting pieces to complete your project, for example a curved plastic chute for a ball to travel through between two paper towel tubes.

(c) There are pieces you can print that let you make larger structures by connecting simple items such as craft or Popsicle sticks.  Example.

(d) Simple machines such as the pulley and screw or bolt have more complex geometry.  There are parametric OpenSCAD files on some of the Thingiverse projects which let you plug in your dimensions and generate a proper bolt or pulley.  These are great when you need a pulley or bolt of a specific custom size.

TinkerCAD Tips

For precise movements, only use the arrow keys to move objects.  Change the “snap grid” setting to have objects move in larger or smaller increments with each keypress.

Moving an object in the Z dimension (Up/Down) requires holding the Control key while pressing the up or down arrow.

Learn and make use of all the view navigation buttons on the upper left side of the workspace.  The Home button to zoom to your whole project and the [ ] button below the Home button to zoom to your selected object are particularly useful.

TinkerCAD features infinite undo.  Don’t be afraid to rewind your project if you make some mistakes.

It can be easy to design something that will not print or will be very weak.  Check, double-check, and triple-check your project to be sure all objects are connected (zoom and rotate the view all around to check it).  Your project may also need to be split apart to print, and then glued or bolted together after printing.