Autodesk buys Tinkercad, saving the easy to use Web-based 3D modeling tool from closure

Autodesk buys Tinkercad, saving the easy to use Web-based 3D modeling tool from closure

Autodesk is doubling down on easy-to-use 3D design software after it announced the acquisition of Tinkercad for an undisclosed sum. The deal secures the long-term future of the Web-based 3D modeling tool less than one month after its founders announced plans to close it.

Tinkercad’s tag line is ‘mind to design in minutes’  and the browser-based 3D modeling removes technical barriers to allow anyone — designers and non-designers alike — to create prototype designs or professional-looking renders. The software takes a focus on helping to create ‘fun and meaningful’ things using 3D printers — which, of course, are a hotly talked about topic today.

Autodesk says it will add the service to its existing 123D family of apps and services which, like Tinkercad, are designed to remove hurdles that put non-techies off of using CAD software. It will also integrate elements of the Tinkercard technology across its 123D range, to help simply the services for users.

Last month, Tinkercad Founder and CEO Kai Backman revealed that the two-year-old service would close in a phased initiative culminating in a June 31 2013 switch off. The decision was made in order to focus engineering resources on Airstone, the company’s new interactive simulation product.

Now, the Autodesk deal, which is expected to close in 30 days, will keep the service open to its many users — which include corporates, academic — and end the freeze on the creation of new accounts. That’s an outcome that delights Backman:

We are excited to have reached an agreement with Autodesk that will provide a solid home and bright future for Tinkercad. We found in Autodesk a shared vision for empowering students, makers and designers with accessible and easy to use software, and with their global reach and expertise in democratizing design, we’re confident in their ability to introduce Tinkercad to new audiences around the world.

Autodesk VP of consumer products Samir Hanna also emphasized the synergy between the company and its incoming acquisition:

Tinkercad is a natural extension of the Autodesk 123D family as well as our other apps and services for consumers, as it is already used alongside Autodesk products. We look forward to welcoming the Tinkercad community to Autodesk and to continuing their mission of accessible 3D design for all.

Tinkercad raised $1 million in seed funding in November 2011.

Headline image via Thinkstock

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