Cad News! (It’s been a while, eh?)
Tinkercad has just been released, winning the race to be the first cad program that is fully functional inside a web browser – that is, so long as you have Google Chrome of Firefox as your browser (at this stage at least). The concept of browser-cad has been approaching for a while, and it’s a great idea, since will make it easier to do tune ups to drawings on-the-fly, making sitting down to design more like ‘preparing’ to write an email (as in, how often do you really have to do that?) and less like making ready to do your taxes.
Tinkercad is not that package though – it’s a smaller and less powerful program, and as they say in their demo video, a learning tool, mostly intended for those new to Cad to get a feel for designing and making single objects or relatively easy parts.
Of course, they are asking for a subscription fee to use their service online, which means it’s still tied to a single user, so once again at the ‘manufacturer’* the difficulties of having the right format to view the drawing still might occur.
After a cursory examination of the tool I can say that it holds true to many of the constructs of the cad programs I know, but in a simplified fashion. A few early comments; I found the arrows for panning around the object annoying, and while the ability to re-size in multiple directions at once using grips was good, the grips were hard to get a hold of.
I have to say though, as a simple and direct way to get hold of some cad software in order to learn or to begin teaching others, I think it’s a great idea.
For more info, have a look at the Hyperallergic article, from which I got the heads up.
*likely the owner of a Makerbot or similar 3D production device