For this Tinkercad tutorial, we chose to design a wrench. It’s a familiar and simple shape, and is useful in daily life. If you haven’t seen a wrench before, it is used by mechanics for tightening nuts and bolts. Here’s what one looks like:
For the purpose of this Tinkercad tutorial and to better acquaint you with the site’s interface, we’ve split the design of the wrench into five simple steps. These cover the basics of 3D modeling as we go. At the end of the Tinkercad tutorial, you will not only be able to design the wrench yourself but will also have the skills to design any simple 3D model that you wish.
For those who prefer to watch their directions rather than read them, you can check out our YouTube version of this Tinkercad tutorial, embedded below.
Using Tinkercad is easy because it runs in your browser — so you don’t need to download or install any software. All you have to do to get started is sign up for a free Tinkercad account on their website.
At the end of the signup process, you will be welcomed by the Tinkercad tutorial screen. You can skip the tutorial for now by closing it.
Now that we have familiarized ourselves with the Tinkercad interface, we will start designing the wrench.
A key principle in 3D modeling is “divide and conquer.” It means that when modeling a complex real world object, we should divide it into smaller geometric shapes and then design these smaller units individually. In the final step, we should put these small units together. This makes modeling a complex object easy.
The ring of a wrench can be approximated by a solid circular disk with a hollow circular area in the middle.
To create this shape, we will first drag a cylinder from the Basic Shapes panel to the workplane. You will notice that the cylinder has five white square handles, four of which are on the plane and one of which is above the cylinder.
The four handles on the plane can be used for adjusting the cylinder’s length and width. We want our ring to have a diameter of 25 mm. Therefore, drag the square handles till the cylinder has a length and width of 25 mm.
The one above the cylinder can be used for adjusting its height. We want our wrench to have a height of 4 mm. Therefore, click the handle with the left mouse button and drag it down till the cylinder has a height of 4 mm.
We are making progress: We now have the solid disk. But how do we make the circular hole in the middle?
Tinkercad operates on the principle of Boolean design, which means it allows you to subtract objects to create hollow areas or add objects to join two shapes. In this case, we will need to use subtraction to create the circular hole in the middle of our ring.
First, drag another cylinder to the workplane. Use the white handles on the plane to adjust the length and width of the cylinder to 12.5 mm, which is the diameter of the hole that we want to create.
Now comes the fun part. With this cylinder selected, choose “Hole” in the panel on the upper right corner (marked by the blue rectangle in the image). This prepares this shape to be subtracted out.
Next, we need to bring this cylinder-shaped “hole” in the middle of the solid disk. We will use the alignment tool in the top menu to achieve this.
To use the alignment tool, select the cylinder-shaped hole by left-clicking. Now press the shift button and select the solid disk. If you do this correctly, you will see that both objects are now simultaneously selected and highlighted.
Press the Align button on the top menu (marked with a blue rectangle). Black alignment handles will appear on the workplane. Click on the appropriate handles (also marked with blue rectangles) to bring the solid cylinder in the middle of the solid disk.
When the two shapes are aligned, press the “Group” button in the top menu (marked in the blue rectangle). The Group button essentially joins two shapes together. However, if one of the shapes is a hole, then it creates a hollow area instead.
We learned quite a bit in this section. We learned how to change the dimensions of basic shapes, how to create holes, how to align shapes and finally how to group (or merge) two shapes together. The good thing is, these skills constitute 90 % of what you need to know to design 3D objects in Tinkercad. The next steps will involve the same skillset or small variations thereof.
Using the white handles on the plane, we set the length of the box to 100 mm, the width of the box to 10 mm.
By dragging the white handle on the top of the box, we set the height to 4 mm so that it matches the height of the solid ring.
The design of the jaw is very similar to the ring that we designed in Step 2 of this Tinkercad tutorial. Basically, the jaw is also a circular disk, but with a polygonal hole carved out at an angle.
As with the ring, we first need to create a circular disk of diameter 30 mm and height 4 mm. We have done this before, so you should be able to do this step without much problem.
To create the jaw-like shape, we will use the basic shape called “Polygon”. Drag the Polygon to the workplane, select it, and turn it into a hole (as we did in Step 2). Now position the Polygon and adjust its dimensions.
If you are planning to use the wrench from this Tinkercad tutorial for household repairs, you can choose the dimension of the corresponding nut and bolt. We will use a 15 mm jaw and adjust the width of the polygon to 15 mm accordingly.
It’s time to do some subtraction magic. Select both the polygonal hole and the disk by holding shift and selecting both. When they are selected simultaneously, press the Group button on the top menu (marked in the blue rectangle).
In this Tinkercad tutorial, we have so far designed the individual parts of the wrench. Now it is time to put it all together. Exciting, isn’t it?
Select the handle and the ring together and align it so that the handle aligns with the center of the ring. Now press the “Group” button. This should merge the handle and the ring into one continuous unit. Notice that the merged unit now has a single color instead of two colors.
The jaw is facing the wrong direction. We need to fix that by rotating it. To rotate the jaw, first select it. You will see that in addition to the white square handles from before, there are three curved handles with double arrows (marked in blue rectangles).
These are the rotation handles. Use the X-Y plane rotation handle to rotate the jaw so that it faces the direction shown in the figure below.
Now let’s add the jaw to the previously merged unit. The procedure is more or less the same as what we used for adding the handle and the ring.
First, drag the jaw and position it so that the handle goes a little bit inside the body of the jaw. Select the jaw and the merged unit simultaneously and align them so that the handle aligns with the center of the jaw. Press the “Group” button to merge them.
You might want to change the color of the wrench because an orange wrench just doesn’t look right. A wrench should be gray, right?
To change the color, select the wrench and press the “Solid” button on the upper right corner panel (marked by the blue rectangle). You should see a selection of colors at this point. Let’s choose a dark gray.
You have just designed a beautiful gray 3D printable wrench. That’s no small feat. Also, you now also know enough about Tinkercad to design any other 3D printable model that your heart desires.
Who doesn’t want to see their creations come to life? If you have a 3D printer, you can print out the wrench, use it in your daily life and show it off your maker skills to your friends.
If you don’t have a 3D printer, you can submit your design to 3D printing services, who will print it and ship the model to you. To get the best price, you can use Craftcloud, the 3D printing and price comparison service from All3DP.
1. If you have a 3D printer (or have access to one), select Export and then choose the .STL or .OBJ file format. This will download the 3D printable file of the wrench on your computer.
2. If you want to have your wrench from this Tinkercad tutorial printed by a printing service, rather than staying on the “Download” section after clicking “Export”, switch to the “3D Print” section. go to the home page and then click on your design. You’ll get a list of all the different companies that can 3D print your model through Tinkercad.
3. If you want to use the wrench from this Tinkercad tutorial, you should 3D print it with 100 percent infill and in a material that‘s durable.
That’s it for now. We hope you enjoyed this Tinkercad tutorial. If you face any difficulty or confusion when following the instructions, let us know in the comments, and we will try to help you out.
License: The text of "2019 Tinkercad Tutorial: 5 Easy Steps for Beginners" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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