Tinkercad tutorial

How to 3D Print a Name Tag Using Tinkercad


Name tags can be a brilliant tool for many situations. These include creating an individual company name tag, labeling your holiday luggage or even designing a quirky present for someone with an unusual name.

Step 1: Sketch out your idea

Having a good idea of the shape, colors and design you would like before you begin is a great way to ensure that your overall product looks professional. It is always worth remembering that simple shapes make modeling a lot easier.

Step 2: Create a project on Tinkercad

Tinkercad is a great 3D design software as it has an easy layout and a guide to show you the basics – plus it’s free and can be used online without installing software on your computer.

The process of signing up is very simple; all you have to do is visit https://www.tinkercad.com/ and follow the simple instructions to create a free account.

1. Once you have signed up, an online tutorial opens. Either work that through or close it.

2. In the left-hand column, choose Create project.

3. Click Create new design.

Step 3: Create the base

Create a rectangular base in Tinkercad.
Create a rectangular base in Tinkercad.

Having a base is important so that you can connect up different letters and support them. This option also looks more professional and adds the background to your name tag.

  1. Once you have created your new project, the process of creating a base is easy. The best option is to choose a basic cube shape from the Geometric pane on the right.

  2. In order to have a smart appearance, the best base option is a thin rectangle upon which you can then build your text. Scaling your base to make sure it is thin is also an easy aspect of Tinkercad: Using the shapes and handles surrounding your base you can push and pull the box to resize the image. To resize the height, use the handle marked by an arrow in our screenshot.

Step 4: Add edges to the base

Use the Hole tool to "add" edges to the base.
Use the Hole tool to “add” edges to the base.

In order to create an impressive name tag, it is worth creating a base with edges to surround your name. You can do this by creating a “hole” on the top of your chosen base:

  1. In the toolbar at the right side, there is a pane named Holes. Open the pane and select Box Hole.

  2. Make your hole smaller than your base allowing enough room for an edge to be created: Hover the hole above the base and use the small black cone shape at the top of the rectangle (see the arrow in the screenshot) to drop it onto the surface without creating a complete hole, just removing the first layer.

  3. Select the base and the hole and click the Group button at the top to join the hole to the base.

So, this is what the tag should look like:

The result: a flat name tag with edges.
Intermediate result: a flat name tag with edges.

Step 5: Add your name

Place the letters on the plate, arrange and size them.
Place the letters on the plate, arrange and size them.

Tinkercad gives you the ability to emboss the name on your base. You are also able to change the colors and shapes of your letters so as to create a quirkier tag.

  1. On the toolbar on the right-hand side, open the Letters pane.

  2. Drag the letters for the name on the tag.

  3. Play around with the shapes and sizes of each letter; rescaling your letters works in the same way as rescaling your base.
    Make sure that each of your letters is properly on top of your base (use the cone shaped handle to move the letter up and down).

  4. When finished, select all the letters and click the Group button.

Step 6: Print your name tag

Either save your model as an STL or OBJ file (command "Download for 3D Printing") or send it directly to a 3D printing service
Either save your model as an STL or OBJ file (command “Download for 3D Printing”) or send it directly to a 3D printing service

Once, the name tag is finished, save it and either create an .STL or .OBJ file for your 3D printer or send it directly to a 3D printing service (right now, Tinkercad supports 3D Hubs, I.materialise, Ponoko, Sculpteo, and Shapeways):

  1. To be able to reuse the name tag, open the Design menu, select Save and save the file to your disk.

  2. If you have a 3D printer (or have access to one), select Design → Download for 3D Printing and then the .STL or .OBJ file format. Save the file to disk.
    If you wish to have your name tag printed by a printing service, choose
    Design → Order a 3D Print and select the service of your choice.

The process is as easy as that, and you will be able to use your name tags to bring personality to your luggage or shirt.