- Make it solid
- Ensure walls have thickness
- Scale up to permit detailed features
- Smooth curves
- Build as components
- Use plugins to assist export and inspection
- Consider material constraints
- Reduce the solid size to conserve material
Entries in sketchup (8)
produce a piece of instructional content that’s equal parts enlightening and entertaining. Each entry must be titled “How to use Google SketchUp for Ponoko 3D printing”
- Blender: a full-featured, multiplatform 3D modelling package, capable of doing much more than simply modelling 3D objects, as it includes rendering, animations, particles and much more. The downside to Blender is its interface, which some find very difficult to learn.
- Google Sketchup: a basic 3D modelling program specifically designed to be simple to use. Indeed one often finds K-9 students deeply engrossed in Sketchup building fantasy homes or castles. The downside to Sketchup is a relative lack of advanced features you'd find in Blender. Sketchup has many plugins available, one of which enables export of .STL files suitable for 3D printing.
Google Sketchup, by far the most popular 3D modeling tool in the known universe, now has a great way to send your Sketchup model to a 3D printer. Simply install the new plugin from CADspan and you'll be able to generate solid .STL files suitable for submission to most 3D print services and printers.
The plugin provides basic 3D features only, and the resulting .STL file is completely solid. This might be ok for some applications, but probably there will be a lot of wasted print media in thick objects.
The plugin permits you to pull models from Google's very extensive 3d warehouse and prep it for 3D printing. Basically, this means "water proofing" the model so that no interior-facing surfaces are visible. In other words, you have to make the model completely water-tight so that it can become "solid". The plugin uses easy visual coloring effects to help you through this potentially tedious process.
Another interesting feature we noticed was that you can not only export your model as .STL, but you can also import .STL as well.
We've written about Lou Amadio's garage-based "Fabr" project before, in which he's building his own 3D printer - including self-designed portions of the machine itself. He's now released code and Sketchups for the 3D printer, the controller board and the decomposer plugin - which apparently has run across some difficulties with Sketchup.
An upcoming post on Fabbaloo will discuss some of the software tools used to prepare 3D models.