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…

Tinkercad has found a new home at Autodesk

I am happy to announce that we have just signed a deal where Autodesk will purchase the Tinkercad site and core technologies. This is a great day for all Tinkercad users, Autodesk is a very enthusiastic and capable steward. There are two main impacts of this deal: the site is fully operational and Autodesk has some very exciting plans for Tinkercad.

The shutdown plan has been rolled back and effective immediately new users are again able to sign up for the site. Even better, at the request of Autodesk, we have supercharged the free plan. You can now create unlimited designs, all import and export functionality is enabled and ShapeScripts are turned on for free accounts. We have automatically upgraded all existing free accounts to this new powerful plan. This account will be offered for a limited time only so make sure you sign up as soon as possible.

Before signing the deal the we spent a lot of time talking to Autodesk engineers and product people about their vision for Tinkercad. We were impressed by the deep insight the Autodesk team had into the Tinkercad interface and the underlying technology. There is also a strong alignment on topics like furthering education and the vision of making design more accessible. But most of all we are very excited about the roadmap Autodesk has drafted for Tinkercad.

As our team continues working on Airstone I’m pleased to see Tinkercad find a safe and welcoming home. I can speak for everyone when I say that we are looking forward to using Tinkercad for a long time to come.

Yours sincerely,

Kai Backman
Founder & CEO

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?

Press Release / Click to expand

Autodesk to Acquire Tinkercad, Easy-to-Use Web-Based 3D Design Software

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Tinkercad, an easy-to-use browser-based 3D design tool. The addition of Tinkercad to Autodesk will help broaden the popular Autodesk 123D familyof apps and supports Autodesk’s vision to help anybody imagine, design and create anything. The acquisition will also revive the Tinkercad service and community, despite a previously announced shutdown by its founders and creators.

“We are excited to have reached an agreement with Autodesk that will provide a solid home and bright future for Tinkercad,” said Kai Backman, founder of Tinkercad. “We found in Autodesk a shared vision for empowering students, makers and designers with accessible and easy to use software, and with their global reach and expertise in democratizing design, we’re confident in their ability to introduce Tinkercad to new audiences around the world.”

Autodesk intends for the Tinkercad service to remain available as part of its consumer portfolio. The company also intends to incorporate elements of the Tinkercad technology and user experience into the Autodesk 123D family of products as part of its ongoing effort to make 3D design easier and more accessible to everyone. The transaction is expected to close within the next 30 days.

“Tinkercad is a natural extension of the Autodesk 123D family as well as our other apps and services for consumers, as it is already used alongside Autodesk products,” said Samir Hanna, Autodesk vice president, consumer products. “We look forward to welcoming the Tinkercad community to Autodesk and to continuing their mission of accessible 3D design for all.”

Business Outlook

This transaction is expected to have no impact on guidance issued on May 16, 2013.

About Autodesk

Autodesk helps people imagine, design and create a better world. Everyone—from design professionals, engineers and architects to digital artists, students and hobbyists—uses Autodesk software to unlock their creativity and solve important challenges. For more information visit or follow @autodesk.


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.