It's never too early to become a designer.
Tinkercad is an Autodesk cloud-based application used by designers, hobbyists, teachers, and students, to make toys, prototypes, home decor, Minecraft models, jewelry — the list is truly endless. Geared towards the non-professional, Tinkercad has a very well polished user experience with easy onboarding. The Tinkercad community of over 10 million users, with over 100 million things designed in Tinkercad is a testimony of how children and people of all ages are embracing the ability to design and make something. Understanding that there is a very simple tool that can take whatever is on their mind into a design in minutes is pretty amazing. Understanding the impact on that community is the main driver for Autodesk with regard to Tinkercad.
The Boys & Girls Club of Alameda is more than just a place for recreation, and I am proud to be a board member. The Club provides activities and experiences that enrich the lives of young people in our community. Indeed, the quality of life we all enjoy is due, in part, to the Club's sustained attention to the changing needs of today's youth. We involve young boys and girls in wholesome activities that build their self-esteem and self-worth. We teach the values of responsibility and respect. We empower children to make wise and educated life choices. In today's age of teen alcohol and drug use, premarital sex and violence, we work to help create model citizens for our future. We give every youth the chance they deserve to have a great future by providing the tools and support they need to achieve their dreams.[alamedabgc.org]
When the Boys & Girls Club of Alameda recently received a grant from Disney to create a center of innovation, the club's first thought was Autodesk. I reached out to Guillermo Melantoni Cortabarria, our Product Line Manager for Tinkercad, who was gracious enough to volunteer to hold a class on Tinkercad at the club. Bill Moore manages the technology center at the club and instructs the boys and girls on how to use computers to help them with their schoolwork. His curriculum for the center integrates with other programs at the club, like the community garden, for a well-rounded experience. Bill was thrilled to have Guillermo lead a session with me as his assistant.
Guillermo covered the basics.
- The workplane is where objects are designed.
- Objects are designed by dragging and dropping predefined shapes onto the workplane.
- Objects can be solids or holes.
- Solid objects and hole objects can be grouped to make any desired shape.
- Objects can be aligned in a variety of ways because when making things, they have to be exactly correct.
Classes will continue with Bill Moore as the instructor with me as his assistant as my work schedule permits.
Going forward, the long-term plan is for the students to:
- Envision a problem that he/she wants to solve.
- Brainstorm a way to solve it with a physical asset.
- Draw the physical asset using crayons and paper.
- Determine what the measurements of the asset should be.
- Model the asset in Tinkercad.
- Use the Bricks module of Tinkercad to create a set of assembly instructions.
- Physically construct the asset using real plastic bricks.
- Evaluate the asset using the prototype, update the model if necessary, and repeat the evaluation process.
- 3D print the model after a successful evaluation.
As a fun activity, they can export their model from Tinkercad and import it into Minecraft. Minecraft is a video game that allows players to build with a variety of different blocks in a 3D procedurally generated world, requiring creativity from players. Other activities in the game include exploration, resource gathering, crafting, and combat.
Autodesk makes software for people who make the world around us. If you've ever driven a high-performance car, admired a towering skyscraper, used a smartphone, or watched a blockbuster film, chances are you've experienced what millions of Autodesk customers are doing with our software. Autodesk gives you the power to make anything. The students had no idea. Now they do. They see that Tinkercad is a way to get started with design. You're never too young to be a designer.
Tinkering around is alive in the lab.