By Shaun Bryant

Did you know that 3D models are, quite literally, everywhere? Many consumer products you now buy and use are 3D printed verbatim from their 3D models and used at work, in the home, and in numerous industries. The technology behind 3D is moving fast, and you’ll find that 3D “stuff” is affecting design and the human interface in ways you never thought existed.

Here’s an example for you. Remember those old mice you used to use on your old PC? You know the ones, right? They were a very basic shape with a ball inside that you needed to get out once a month to clean crumbs, food, and dust off the contacts. You remember? The mouse in this figure will jog your memory!

Credit: PCWorld.
A typical 1980s Microsoft mouse. Check out those ergonomic curves!

For one, new mice don’t have that annoying ball inside anymore and use laser technology to work, but for two, they’re designed so much better. They fit your hand both ergonomically and anthropometrically to alleviate things such as Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). This transformation is due to the advent of 3D design, but also more importantly, 3D printing. Mouse manufacturers now use 3D prototypes developed by 3D design studios to test those ergonomic principles that alleviate RSI and other associated office-based injuries. (Bet you never knew the office was so dangerous, right?) The mouse in the following figure is similar to the mouse people now use every day for 3D modeling.

Credit: Logitech Europe/CC by SA.
A Logitech MX Master 2S mouse. It sure looks cool, right?

There are numerous uses for 3D models (way too many to mention here), but design software vendors, such as Autodesk, have realized that their software applications need to address this issue. The world has moved forward from just simple 3D designs in applications, such as AutoCAD. While AutoCAD is still a very relevant CAD application, Autodesk has continued to add to its toolbox of 3D CAD applications with products such as Inventor, Fusion 360, and, of course, Tinkercad.

3D models are now the norm. They’re the benchmark for design. Computers are now powerful enough to manage large-scale 3D models easily. The Internet is now very powerful as well, with cable and fiber broadband Internet providing incredible speeds and bandwidth. The cloud is becoming all the more powerful, allowing complex design tasks to be done on the Internet remotely, taking away the need for large processing tasks on your computer on your desk.

These reasons are why Autodesk has invested so much time in Tinkercad. Being cloud-based, Tinkercad provides an entry-level 3D design product for everyone, processing your 3D designs quickly and easily in real-time, with no need for heavy local processing on your computer.

3D models in Tinkercad are easy, and this book shows you how easy it is and gets you out there into the 3D world, creating and even 3D printing your 3D models, just like those uber-cool mouse manufacturers do now with their new designs.

Cloud computing (the cloud) is a software and infrastructure model based on the Internet. It allows access to shared pools of data via an Internet interface in an Internet browser, such as Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge. Networks and servers can be managed this way, as can applications, such as Tinkercad. Cloud computing allows users to store and process data either in a private cloud or on a third-party cloud server located in a data center in a remote location. When using Tinkercad, your 3D designs are processed, calculated, and stored on a cloud-based remote server.