3D Printing with SketchUp Table of Content

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Table of Contents10


Chapter 1: Concepts Every 3D Printing Designer Needs to Know20

A short background of 3D printing21

The 3D printing process21

Printing support material22

Own a printer or use a print service?23

Making the most of 3D printing24

Designing for prototypes versus finished products24

Avoiding the pitfalls of 3D printing25

Choosing a 3D modeling program26


Chapter 2: Setting Up SketchUp for 3D Printing28

Downloading and installing SketchUp28

The SketchUp interface30

Setting up a template for fast modeling and troubleshooting31

Using the 3D printer’s build volume component33

Model units of measurement34

Saving our template as the default template34

Using other styles35

Setting up toolbars35

Minimizing dialog boxes35

Installing and using extensions36

Installing more extensions38

A quick exercise38

Importing .STL files40


Chapter 3: From 2D Drawing to 3D Model42

Starting from a quick sketch42

Designing for ease of printing43

Modeling in SketchUp from a sketch43

Keeping a historical timeline of changes speeds iteration46

Exporting the model and printing47

Importing vector artwork48

Changing the scale of the part49

A bonus tip – the 45-degree overhang rule for filament printers50

Making the design your own51


Chapter 4: Understanding Model Resolution52

Wall thickness53

Modeling a vase54

Creating a profile55

Avoiding missing faces by scaling up your model56

Creating wall thickness57

Understanding noncircular circles58

Making the magic happen with the Follow Me tool59

A bonus tip for desktop extrusion printers60

Combining solids with the Outer Shell tool60

Bonus – more methods to create wall thickness64


Chapter 5: Using Existing Models66

Leveraging SketchUp components to save time66

Saving a model as a Component67

Online 3D model repositories68




Case study – modifying a GoPro wrench69


Chapter 6: Designing a Phone Cradle76

Getting started with a 2D sketch77

Getting to the third dimension77

Adding details to make the model interesting78

Using the 3D Text tool79

Mirroring symmetrical models79

Combining groups with the Outer Shell tool80

Cutting a slot for the cord81

Orienting faces for a perfect model83

Exporting the model for printing83

Testing the printed model83

Developing an improved design85

Copying and scaling groups to create a complex shape86

Finishing up and printing the new model87

Testing the second iteration87


Chapter 7: Importing Terrain and Printing in Color90

Working with the Google Earth terrain90

Printing models with color94

Textures versus solid colors95

Working with solid colors in SketchUp96

Working with textures in SketchUp96

Exporting the model for color printing97


Chapter 8: Modeling Architecture for 3D Printing98

Using SketchUp for 3D printing versus rendering99

Case study – 3D printing a model designed for rendering99

Examining the original model100

Planning the model102

Using groups and layers to organize the model102

Creating a standard wall thickness103

Editing wall panels to add details106

Adding the window grills108

Adding interior walls109

Modeling the roof110

Orienting the parts for printing111

Printing the model and bonus commentary113

Preparing the model for full color printing115

Orienting the parts for printing117

Printing from i.materialise118

Printing from Shapeways118

The full-color printed cabin119


Appendix: Resources for Your 3D Printing Success121

Troubleshooting nonsolid models121

SketchUp extensions124

Where to find extensions online124

Extensions and plugins mentioned in the book124

More useful extensions125

SketchUp training126

Companion programs for 3D printing126

model repositories126

print services127

Industrial services with a shop platform127

Crowdsourced print services127

Contact me127