SketchUp 3d printing

by Design Workshop Sydney

Creating 3d models in SketchUp on your screen is one thing – sending them to a 3d printer and holding your creation in your hands is another! We show you how in our SketchUp coursessketchup-3d-printing
Once you’ve created your masterpiece, explode all groups first. Then you need to save the file as an OBJ file – you can only do this with the Pro version of SketchUp however.
Next do a Google search for Mesh Lab – this is a freeware download – and takes only 30 seconds to download and install. Then open Meshlab, and go to File > New. Then File > Import Mesh > and browse to your OBJ file. Next go to File > Export Mesh and choose the STL file format (or MTL).
Your file is now ready to email off to your 3d print shop – there are several in most cities. And the cost is very reasonable – it goes by weight, so the above example, for instance, cost only $10 to print.
Things to keep in mind are: make the model as a solid object – hollow objects can be difficult to print, depending on the sophistication of the printer. The printer will work out the internal mesh needed to create the object efficiently. Also try not to have any undercuts – the printer has trouble figuring out how to print those. And a good size for the base is nothing smaller than 100 x 100mm. A choice of colours is usually available.
Many useful tips and techniques can also be found at the SketchUp website. And see many examples of our own clients’ work on our Facebook page.
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