Preparing for printing from 3D Warehouse to 3D Printer

Subhra Bera: Editor

SketchUp is a free 3D drawing program for the architects and designers which are used to easily create printable models yet the models need to address before printed from the 3D printer. The models which are need to download sometimes found that they are not solid create big problem in the printing time.

Aaron has come with a solution; he needed a printable scaled version of the US Capitol Building and to record the technique of transforming the unprintable into a solid one.

Basic demands for 3D Printing:

• Water-tight Model • No paper-thin surfaces • Minimum wall thicknesses and feature sizes • Outward-facing surfaces

1. Water-tight Models: The models which are needed to turn into solid should be fully enclosed as like creating an interior space where water could be hold without overflowing it. All the nearby lines and vertices of every model need to be in one point not the close enough but should be perfectly in one line. To fix or stray the model either the stray vertex could move to the main vertex or the gaps could be filled by drawing new lines.

2. No paper-Thin surfaces: In case of drawing the artistic models, paper-thin features create problem as they prevent in printing as there is not a significant amount of material there. In this case to fix the model one could extrude the surface to make it a little thick or can delete it simply.

3. Minimum wall thicknesses and feature sizes: Every 3D printing system has a certain requirement in case of thickness of wall and feature sizes. These features give assurance about printing the model correctly which will not break quickly. By deleting the model or extruding the surface a little bit this probl3em can be solved.

4. Outward-facing surfaces: Often having surfaces in a model face a wrong direction and printing software ask for a side of each surface for printing. This can be fixed by right-clicking on the bad face and selecting Reverse Faces. Reverse faces will be found by following steps, open the Styles window, click on the Edit tab, click on the Face Settings box and then the Back Color has to change into a bright color.

Convert to STL Format: After doing all the things that are described above, most 3D Printers ask models to convert into the STL file format. There are many ways to covert SketchUp file into an STL file and the best free converters for using is the SketchUp to DXF or STL Plugin. At first deselect the model, then click on tools > Export to DXF or CAD > Export Unit into Inches > Export To in STL.

Check for STL Errors: After converting it become ready for checking errors but sometime it will make some errors so checkout online for fixing the STL errors.

Aaron Dietzen, SketchUp’s sales manager tried to print his SketchUp file through 3D printing. He has needed a printable scaled version of the US Capitol Building and he made a recording of the process of transforming the unprintable into a solid model. The original model had a great look so Aaron kept all his focus in the 3D printing. Throughout the model, many things could be found such as single surfaces, nested components and each and every thing t print.

The converted model might be like a baffling task to get all of geometry it need to clean up and then turned into a solid ready-to-print thing. It should be done carefully as the process can be defined into a series of simple steps.

There is a tutorial video on YouTube as a help.

Preparing for printing from 3D Warehouse to 3D Printer