The New Tinkercad Shapes Panel

This month, Tinkercad released a new Shapes Panel organized by categories and subcategories of shapes. This new look replaces and enhances the previous version and will soon include models submitted by Tinkercad users. Here are the current categories:

Tinkercad Shapes Panel

You can preview each category in full or isolated into subcategories. For example, here is the Vehicles & Machines category viewed just from the Wheels subcategory:

Vehicle and Machines category

The new Shapes Panel is designed to provide users with starter objects and ideas upon which to build. For example, in my unit on Autonomous Vehicle Design, I ask students to create a vehicle following a specific design constraint to work with real-life interlocking blocks (axles and wheels) when the models are 3D printed. By providing these design constrained models in the Shapes Panel, students can pull them from the library to size their work.

I was fortunate to be asked to submit some models early on in the development of the Shapes Panel, so these parts are now available in the Vehicles & Machines section, as well as the Creatures & Characters category:

We just began the Autonomous Vehicle Design unit for this school year, and I am already seeing students pulling these models out from the Shapes Panel as they design their cars, trucks, buses, and vans. Thank you, Tinkercad, for continually improving the features and toolsets available for our students.

From the Tinkercad blog post: If you would like to become a Shapes Maker, and have your creations featured in the Shapes Panel for all Tinkercad users to discover and add to their designs, here is your opportunity to contribute: 

Reach out to us at with the subject line: “I WANT TO BE A TINKERCAD SHAPES MAKER!” to find out how to get onboarded as an official Tinkercad Shapes Maker.  

One More Thing:

At the end of class, I like to take a few minutes for students to reflect on their experiences. Often, I ask, “Can you share something that you learned today that I didn’t teach you?” Recently, a student commented back, “I learned that if I put some words into Google Translate and copy the characters from another language, I can paste those characters back into the Tinkercad Text Tool.” In this manner, she can now add these newly translated characters into her model, as seen here:

The word “discovery” in Japanese characters.

I learn something new from my students every day. By allowing them time to explore, think, and troubleshoot independently, discoveries are always around the corner.

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