Simple tools are great, but sometimes it is most convenient to just use something easy, and since it gets the work done, you don’t try out some of the other features. Tinkercad is a great example of that kind of program. It is actually quite powerful, but many people just use it in the simplest way possible. [Chuck] noticed a video about making a 3D-printed hinge using Tinkercad and in that video [Nerys] manually placed a bunch of hinges using cut and paste along with the arrow keys for positioning. While it worked, it wasn’t the most elegant way to do it, so [Chuck] made a video showing how to do it parametrically. You can see that video below, along with the original hinge video.
There are really two major techniques [Chuck] shows. First, he adds the necessary pieces to create the hinges to the Tinkercad toolbox. That makes it really simple to add them to any of your future designs. Second, he uses a combination of numeric parameters and duplication to quickly and precisely place the hinge components across another object — in this case a Batman logo.
The hinge component in question is a type of pin hinge. If you slice it and look at the layers you’ll see that a bearing captures a pin that rotates inside of it. However, there are other ways to make a hinge. One popular hinge you’ve probably seen before is a living hinge. Have you ever used a plastic box where the lid and the box were one part connected by a thin piece of plastic? That’s a living hinge. They are hard to 3D print with common materials, but not impossible. You can laser cut them, too.
Personally, we’d probably just use OpenSCAD to do our parametric modeling, but we did like the tip about using the center point on Tinkercad, plus — for most people — it is a lot more fun to see the shapes forming instead of writing code like we do. If you are interested in parametric modeling that is graphical, check out SolveSpace which works well.