Shouts of hooray and songs of delight are going out among fans of Tinkercad this morning. My kids are ecstatic and honestly, I am too. Tinkercad is back. Over the weekend, Tinkercad announced a deal has been inked that will put Tinkercad site and technologies into the deep development pipeline of Autodesk. On top of that, the various plan types have been consolidated into a single free account with unlimited designs and all import/export functionality available (limited time through the transition). Autodesk has also announced that it will be incorporating elements of Tinkercad into 123D. Surprised? Shocked? Here are the details.
Stay Tinkering and Carry on
For many, the news of the acquisition wasn’t as much as a surprise as it was a shock–You hear of Tinkercad shutting down, you grieve, you move on. Looking for alternatives, you find there is no match, then struggle each day learning SketchUp, Blender or the like. Then as quickly as it’s gone, it returns–When software dies, it dies, right? That’s it. Unless it’s a perfect opportunity for a larger company to make a play, as it happens.
Though Tinkercad may may not be an attractive solution to 3D modeling for everyone, it is used by many a maker, educator, student, child and parent to learn, teach and explore 3D design. And, it’s certainly no surprise that they’re excited to see it back. The Tinkercad announcement…
If you remember the news of Tinkercad shutting down, you’ll recall the mention of Airstone, and that Tinkercad Gen6 geometry kernel inextricably linked and living on through the new realtime product simulation environment. So, how does this work with Autodesk buying the Tinkercad technology? From Kai,
Autodesk purchased all Tinkercad assets including the revolutionary Gen6 geometry kernel. When we initially announced the shutdown the source code was organized such that a separation of Airstone and Gen6 looked nearly impossible. A few weeks ago we had a serendipitous breakthrough in how Airstone is built which cut this dependency. Once this happened the deal suddenly became possible.
This is huge for Autodesk, they now own a new solid modeling kernel. A very capable, very powerful, web-based solid-modeling kernel. Autodesk has the plan to “incorporate elements of the Tinkercad technology and user experience into the Autodesk 123D family.” Some would say Tinkercad integration will improve the entire line of apps and could even, for the most part, replace 123D Design. The acquisition is a move that lines right up with Autodesk’s cloud computing initiative and their 123D platform, bringing design options out to a wider range of people, giving those who are interested in making and those who are just starting out in 3D design more resources to make it happen.
In a sense, the announced shut down of Tinkercad gave a curt perspective to putting your trust in storing ideas in the cloud. With Autodesk taking over the site assets, there’s likely a sense that ones data will be safer, but if Google is any evidence that a trusted service (Google Reader) can be shut down once it’s decided it’s no longer profitable, the reality is any cloud-based service provider could decide the same. I imagine Autodesk is in it for the long haul though and with the online and offline abilities they provide, I hope to see a consolidation of both that would truly make design accessible, regardless of connection.
Are you happy to see Tinkercad back?