Given the recent news that Google has decided to sell off Google Sketchup to the GPS focussed Trimble it was propitious to find a link from Edutecher, one of my favorite URL sources, to open source 3D modelling Tinkercad. As Google Sketchup was developed with a more industrial design focus, and despite the fact the Sketchup has a “Sketchup for educators” offering, for many the initial learning curve was just too tricky. Tinkercad by comparison is quite a bit more intuitive in the interface. The work samples provided on the Tinkercad site are also more “child friendly”.
Like Scratch, Tinkercad has a community that users can join to share work. Perhaps more exciting is that Tinkerpad creates an STL file from your design, a standard format used universally by 3D printers and printing services. This means that users have the capability to send design to a 3D printer to then turn the design into a functioning model.
To get some idea about how easy it is to get started with Tinkercad check out this movie from the Tinkercad Channel.