Over the past few weeks, we’ve been hard at work trying to make an Electronics workshop that is educational and hands-on while still remaining remote. We are happy to announce that we have multiple Electronics workshops for y’all that you can follow along with completely online!
Enter TinkerCAD Circuits.
Many patrons of the IRL may know of TinkerCAD for its simple browser-based 3D modeling software, but did you know that it also has an extremely robust Electronics and Arduino simulator? Let’s sign up with TinkerCAD and see just a few amazing features it has to offer.
First, you’re going to head over to https://www.tinkercad.com/ and sign up for a personal account if you don’t have one already.
TinkerCAD is completely free to use and offers an incredible community of makers sharing projects and tips.
When you first log in you’ll land on your Designs page, but on the left navigation bar click Circuits and you will be brought to a similar page to view all of your circuits.
Now that we’ve found your Circuits page, let’s create a new circuit and jump into the features TinkerCAD has to offer.
To start, TinkerCAD has almost every electronic component you’ll need, from LEDs to Resistors, Integrated circuits to Inductors, Arduino Unos to Ultrasonic sensors, all fully functioning within TinkerCAD’s simulation.
TinkerCAD also comes with, what they call, “Starters”. These starters are prebuilt electronic circuits and some are even Arduino projects that come with the code already written for you!
Bringing components and starters into your workspace is as easy as drag and drop. The pins of components are snap points so when you drag an LED over a breadboard so it will snap and connect to the breadboard when you release it. Hovering over pins also shows the pin function or name so you’ll never forget which is the Anode and which is the Cathode ever again!
Connecting things with wires is just as easy as bringing in components. Click on the pin or point at which you want to start a wire. you can then click the point you want to connect to right away, or you can click anywhere and make a turning point for the wire. The wires will also snap to straight lines and intersections to stay organized.
Every component has its own attributes that can be altered to fit the needs of the project, and changing the attributes takes just a few clicks.
From these organization features and the number of components alone we can already see the possibilities with TinkerCAD. But it doesn’t just let you make circuits, it helps you make them right.
TinkerCAD will warn you when something isn’t right in your circuit, be it overpowering or short circuits. When you run the simulation, you’ll be notified of the issues in your circuit.
Though simple, these warnings can prevent major issues, or even part destruction, by showing and fixing issues before you built it physically.
Because TinkerCAD has Arduino components, there’s a built-in Arduino code editor! The editor in TinkerCAD offers 3 methods of code writing: Blocks, Blocks+Text, Text. Code blocks are a great way for new programmers to get a basic understanding of the Arduino language, but using text offers the most control over your Arduino.
Once you’ve assembled your circuit and written your code, you can download the Arduino code file directly to your computer and easily upload it to a physical Arduino!
And there you have it. How to get started with TinkerCAD. But now what? Luckily for you, as I mentioned previously, we have basic electronics workshops you can start doing RIGHT NOW using TinkerCAD!If you are new to Electronics or you want a refresher, these are perfect for you.
Arduino Workshop 1: https://drive.google.com/open?id=13hJIZoyuqJ3892E8iyDbglZbD0qZGjlZ
Arduino Workshop 2: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1NDHkBIT2rDfnZtYiF-LkXxkKa3h6sBVo
If you are having problems or issues with TinkerCAD or the workshops, you can join our Discord Server to get help from the staff and our community. And be sure to share what you make with us too! We can’t wait to see the creativity of our community![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]