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Tinkercad Shuts Down

Oh woe. Tinkercad announced its pending demise, as the team developing it has been reassigned to another project. 

Launched in 2011, Tinkercad became the premier tool for web-based 3D model development. It even included direct hookups to various 3D print services, creating a very easy path to 3D prints for casual designers. By the end of June, however, it will be gone according to their posting. They've published a gradual shutdown sequence that commences very soon: 

  • Effective immediately we have closed sign-ups for new users
  • April 30 2013 - All free accounts will be changed to read only
  • August 31 2013 - All academic accounts will be changed to read only
  • December 31 2013 - All paid accounts will be changed to read only
  • June 31 2014 - Read only access for all users will be discontinued
This is massively disappointing, but totally understandable, as the company now focuses its development efforts on something called, "Airstone". It's an "interactive simulation environment powered by a supercomputer". The idea is to provide massive engineering simulations for design work, based on technological discoveries they've made along the way. 
We suspect the secret behind this move is simply money. How much money can you make providing free CAD services versus potentially pricey big-ass simulations for rich engineering companies? Yep. We'd do it too. 
As for the loss to the 3D printing community, it's not good. Tinkercad did provide a valuable service for many, but there are other options, including 3DTin and 123D Design. Will others emerge to take Tinkercad's place? 

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