Signing up for accounts

There are five online services that we will use regularly in this class: CanvasWordPressThingiverse, Tinkercad, and Sketchfab. This post will help you create or access accounts for all of these services.

Whenever you log into an account in the 3SPACE classroom, I suggest you use an Incognito Window in Chrome to decrease the chances that you accidentally stay logged in to an account on the public computers. You should also remember to log out from all accounts before leaving the classroom, and to close all of your browser windows.


We will use Canvas for all homework submissions. When you complete a print, a design iteration, or a writeup you will document it in a pre-outlined Porfolio in WordPress (see below), and then hand in the assignment by submitting a URL to Canvas by the deadline. You should already be familiar with Canvas from previous classes, but if you have any questions please just ask.


You will submit project documentation on the class website by logging in to WordPress. You have been given access to the blog at the Author level, which means that you can create, edit, and publish your own posts, but not modify other peoples’ posts. The instructions below will help you log in to our WordPress site, change your password, and choose a display name.

  • Go to the login page for our class website (NOT the wordpress main site)
    • Username: your first name with last initial (e.g. JanetD)
    • Password: check your email (you’ll change this in the next step)
  • Change your password
    • Click on Profile in the left menu column
    • Scroll down to New Password and click Generate Password
    • Type any password you like instead of the generated password
    • Make note of your password somewhere private
    • Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Update Profile
  • Set your display name for the blog
    • On the same Profile page as above…
    • If you’d like to be known by your first and last names, then do nothing
    • Otherwise change Nickname to what you want to be called on the blog.
    • Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Update Profile


Thingiverse is an online 3D model repository and community where people share models that they have designed. In this class we will use Thingiverse both as a source of 3D models and inpsiration, and as a place to share our own 3D models that we have designed as part of this class. The instructions below will help you set up a Thingiverse account.

  • Get an account
    • Go to and click the Sign In/Join button in the top right of the screen.
    • Thingiverse is owned and operated by the 3D printing company MakerBot, so you’ll have to create a free MakerBot account. Click the Create an Account button. Your MakerBot account will also be your Thingiverse account.
    • Use any email address, password, and username that you like. Your username is what other people on Thingiverse will see. Make a note of your password somewhere private. Click Continue after filling in the information.
  • Log in and set up your account profile
    • Log in to Thingiverse with the username and password you just created. Thingiverse will send you a verification email that you will have to open to complete the account creation process.
    • There may be other onboarding steps after you verify your account, including opportunities to follow other users or to fill out your Profile. You can do those things now or you can skip them and complete things later if you want to. My only request is that you put “James Madison University” and “JMU 3SPACE” somewhere in your Profile description, if you are willing.
  • Other things you can do
    • If you want to follow me on Thingiverse (optional!) or look at my designs, you can find me under mathgrrl. I will follow you back if I can tell you are from JMU in your Profile.
    • You don’t have to do this now, but when you are ready can “Like” models or create Collections of models to make them easy to find later on.


Of course, we won’t just be printing other peoples’ 3D models in this class; we’ll also be designing our own! The first 3D design program we will use is Tinkercad, a very easy-to-use modeling program that runs right in your web browser. The instructions below will help you set up an account and get started.

  • Get an account
    • Go to and click on the Sign Up button in the upper right corner.
    • Tinkercad is owned and operated by the 3D software company Autodesk, so you’ll have to create a free Autodesk account. As a student, this account will give you free access to a lot of other Autodesk design programs, including ones that professionals use. Follow the steps to create a new account, and make note of your password somewhere private.
  • Log in and do stuff
    • When you first log in after creating your account, Tinkercad will start you in a Lesson that teaches you how to move shapes on the Workplane. If you want to work through some basic lessons then follow the instructions in the left sidebar and click Next and Continue as needed to move through the content.
    • When you are ready to create something of your own, click on the colorful Tinkercad icon at the top of the screen to get back to your Dashboard, then click the Create new design button. If you ever want to return to the Lessons, you can select the Learn tab from the Dashboard.


As part of presenting your work online you will display photos of your printed objects. You can also show interactive 3D models using a design repository called Sketchfab. If you upload your completed models to Sketchfab then you will be able to obtain a piece of web code called an “iframe” that allows you to display your model inside blog posts. You can also use Sketchfab to view your model with VR devices.

  • Get an account
    • Go to and click on the Sign Up button in the upper right corner. This is all you have to do for now, if you are reading this at the very beginning of the course.
  • Upload models and set display options
    • Once you have a model to upload, log into Sketchfab and click the Upload button in the upper right corner. Select your STL file and then fill out title, description, categories, and tags for your model. On the next page, click Publish to make your model public.
    • Under Sketchfab’s free plan you will only be able to upload one file per month, so choose wisely. You can also earn upload credits by making your models free to download, if you choose.
  • Set desired view options
    • When looking at your published model in Sketchfab, hover at the bottom right of the model image window and select the Model Inspector option that pops up. You will be able to to set color and other basic options.
    • For more control, click Manage Your Model and then 3D Settings to set lighting and other viewing options. You don’t have to do this, but you might be interested in playing with these settings to make your model look really great. When you’re done, press the Save Settings button, and then Exit, in the upper right corner.
  • Embed an interactive 3D view of your model into your blog posts
    • When looking at your published model in Sketchfab, click on the word Embed under the picture and title of your model and your avatar name and image. This will open a window with some options; I suggest selecting the checkboxes for Autostart, Animated Entrance, and Turntable Animation.
    • Copy all the iframe text in the subwindow in the lower left.
    • Go to your WordPress blog post and select the Text option at the upper right of the editing window. This will show you the HTML code for your post. Find the place that you want to insert the interactive 3D view of your model and past in the code that you copied from Sketchfab. Then click Visual at the upper right of the editing window, to get back to the normal editing window. After your click Publish or Update and view the published blog post, you should have an embedded 3D view of your model that you can rotate and zoom in on with your mouse… something like this: