Beginning 3D: Explainer 4 of 8

Export the 3d mug in obj format.

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Export a coffee mug from Tinkercad in OBJ format


Name of explainer: Export a coffee mug from Tinkercad in OBJ format

Creative theme: Beginning 3D

Software used (for this explainer): Tinkercad

User level: BEGINNER

This is explainer 4 of 8 in this series

This series includes:

  1. Get tooled up for this explainer series
  2. Navigate the Tinkercad interface, add 3d objects to the workplane and rotate & scale them
  3. Create a coffee mug in Tinkercad
  4. Export a coffee mug from Tinkercad in OBJ format
  5. Navigate the Kenney Shape interface and edit built-in objects
  6. ‘Trace’ a Space Invader image in Kenney Shape to create a 3d object and export it in OBJ format
  7. Create a new Unity project and import the objects created in Tinkercad and Kenney Shape
  8. Import a free Unity coffee shop asset and place our 3D objects in the scene

The Software

This series of explainers uses three separate programs:

Tinkercad for introducing basic 3d navigation, scaling and rotating shapes, combining them and exporting 3d objects. Tinkercad is completely free and runs in a web browser. Get yourself a free account now!

Kenney Shape, for ‘tracing’ a 2d image to turn it into a 3d object and export it. At time of writing Kenney Shape costs less than £5 / $5. We’ll be creating and exporting a 3d Space Invader in explainers five and six:

Unity for importing 3d objects, assembling them into a scene and applying simple textures and lighting. Unity is FREE for personal use. We’ll start assembling our Retro Cafe in explainers seven and eight:

3D Objects created in this series

Using a general theme of ‘Objects for a Retro Cafe’, in this explainer we’re going to export the coffee mug we’ve already created in Tinkercad:

Later in this series we’ll ‘trace’ a 2d image of a Space Invader in Kenney Shape to turn it into a 3d object, which could be used as wall-art or even as a cookie template in our retro cafe!

…We’ll also have fun with Kenney Shape’s built-in retro objects:

Finally, we’ll bring our saved objects into Unity and start blocking out a 3d cafe scene!

The pre-requisities

This is a BEGINNER explainer series, starting with beginner-friendly software. You need to have a basic knowledge of using Windows and downloading and installing software to follow this series. Tinkercad and Kenney Shape are beginner-friendly programs. Unity is a complex application and is not recommended for new computing users. For introductory courses and videos for Unity, check out Unity Learn

Why would I do this?

Exporting 3d objects is an essential step in many workflows. For example, you may want to 3d print your creation using software specific to your 3d printer, or import your model into Unity or Unreal to use in a game level or interactive scene.

Tinkercad includes a variety of export options. Note that other ‘free’ software may not include options for exporting (without upgrading to a paid account), so always check if you’re trying out ‘free’ software.

Let’s do it!

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Good to know

Tinkercad includes a variety of export options. We used OBJ in this explainer, which is widely supported by most software and is a useful ‘go to’ choice when you’re new to modelling and not sure which option to choose.

If you’ll be 3D printing your model, STL is often the prefered option. Information about the STL format.

More about the GLTF format.

For detailed information about the pros and cons of various 3D filetypes, have a look at this excellent guide from all3dp

Where to next?

This is the end of our short learning journey with Tinkercad (but not the end of this explainer series!). Although Tinkercad is easy to get started with, it includes a lot of additional functionality. We started by creating a new ‘3D design’. There are two additional project types available:

‘Circuit’ and ‘Codeblocks’:

Here’s the official guide to Tinkercad circuits and the Tinkercad guide to codeblocks

Tinkercad incorporates its own learning center, accessed from the menu at the top of the dashboard:

Here are some more Tnikercad resources we hope you’ll find useful:

Let’s make a Minion!

Tinkercad webinar Teachers’ series

In the next explainer we’ll switch to ‘Kenney Shape’, which is a low cost program for building 3D models brick by brick. If that sounds interesting, get Kenney Shape now and see you in explainer five!

Remember, this is part of a series of explainers – Join us again for the other explainers in the series 🙂

Notes and updates

There are no notes or advisories at this time. This video explainer was last updated in April 2023.. This page was last updated in April 2023.

We at are not responsible for the content of any external webpages or software downloaded from third party sites. Any links are included in good faith at the time of writing. All explainer content is compiled in good faith using processes and methods used by the team. Modern software provides users with many ways to accomplish a task, and for reasons of clarity we choose not to refer to multiple options. All computer users must run up to date virus / security software at all times to minimise risks of data loss.

This is number 4 of 8 explainer videos in this series. Make sure you join us for the others!