Modeling in SketchUp is fun and straightforward. But once you need to print that model during a 3D printer, you’ll often face problems. Most of the problems you’ll face while trying to form a model 3D printable are solid errors. In other words, the model isn’t “Waterproof” or a “Manifold” solid. Turning that sort of SketchUp model into a 3D model may be a real pain!
Today, we’ll show you ways to form SketchUp models 3D-printable easily and comfortably.
You may have heard of a couple of SketchUp plugins associated with 3D printing, some stuff like “Solid Inspector” or “Solid Solver”. Don’t get me wrong, those are excellent extensions and do quite well on their own. However, they’re not exactly AI, and can’t really automatically fix a model – you continue to need to roll in the hay by hand.
Fortunately, there’s an answer from a SketchUp and iMaterialize venture, called “Printables for 3D Warehouse”. allow us to see how it works!
Consider a model with an intersection of three shapes. Not that the shapes are intersected using the section tools either – they only stick out and into one another blatantly. Quite obscene to a 3D printer, right? Let’s make it worse. Remove one face from one among the solid objects, and put a hole in another object. Eww!
Normally, with an unknown model this solid (#sarcasm), you’ll need to get within the field with the Solid Inspector plugin and fight for your life (or the model’s life, same difference really) for quite a while. However, now there’s a way easier solution. you only upload it to the 3D warehouse and mark it as printable.
That’s insane, right? All that work done by a check box? Really?
Actually, yes. Just upload the model to the 3D warehouse the normal way and make it printable.
- Go to File menu > 3D Warehouse > Share Model
- A dialog box appears, asking for many information.
- You have to give a name to the model here. The rest is purely optional, but good practice to write something here.
- There is a privacy setting near the top, you have to choose either Public or Private here.
- Now comes the real deal. Look at the bottom of the dialog box. There will be a new option called named “I want this to be 3D printable.” Beside there is the logo of Materialize. Check that box!
Click Update and wait a bit.
- After a while, you will see that there is an STL file in the 3D warehouse now, with that model name. This is indeed the file a 3D printer sees, not the drawing. Go ahead and download that. And then open it in SketchUp or some other viewer.
You will be surprised to see how cleverly the faulty has been dealt with. It wouldn’t simply repair the model and put missing faces in. Who knows, you might have actually wanted it that way, right? What the iMaterialize process will do is to thicken the faces, making the missing-face solid actually a hollow solid object. Small holes will be patched up, and the base geometry will be kept as-is, just thickening faces.
Wonderful idea, right? And it requires so little of your effort!
However, there is still the fact that the process didn’t really fix up the actual problem in the model, it just forced it to get solid. That was not what should have been done in the first place, right? So, we would still urge you to use the Solid Inspector extension or similar, to make sure your model is waterproof. Only then, use this method to finally clear up any hidden edge or hole you’ve missed.