[Lab] Google Sketchup

Dave Hunt dave at huntgang.com
Mon Mar 3 08:09:37 EST 2014

There is a pretty neat tool I have seen to do the stacking from autodesk called 123D Make. It sounds like exactly what you are trying to do but fully automated. 

You provide it your 3d model and dimensions of your material and it slices it up for you. Then it can spot out pdf files as its output. 

Although I have not actually cut out anything from it yet I did play a little and it looks pretty awesome. The best part is that it is free! 

-------- Original message --------
From: Jamie <jamie at steppinofftheedge.com> 
Date: 03-02-2014  10:46 PM  (GMT-05:00) 
To: Paul & Andrea Mumby <themumbys at gmail.com> 
Cc: lab <lab at artengine.ca> 
Subject: Re: [Lab] Google Sketchup 
Hey Paul and other Sketchup gurus....

A question about STL / Slicers and working with Sketchup for laser cutting instead of 3D Printing....

I've imported a wunnerful complex .3ds model into Sketchup. Using the Section Plane tool and adjusting it by increments I can get layer outlines to "build by stack" but as yet cannot find a fantastic way to output those. Some googling leads me to believe that Sketchup pro is needed to do export of section planes. Before I do that, was wondering if a pro such as yourself or others might know a better way to go about it.

If you had a model, approx 20", in sketchup that you wanted to output with 1 layer every 1" or so, how might you go about it?


On Fri, Feb 28, 2014 at 4:22 PM, Paul & Andrea Mumby <themumbys at gmail.com> wrote:
Sketchup is very capable for 3D Printing. Though not out of the box. You need a plugin.

I pretty much use Sketchup, or OpenSCAD as my 2 primary design tools for all my printing.

Most 3D Printers require a file in either a specific format for the machine, or some variance of GCODE (typically still fairly specific to the tunings of the machine). Which is where a "Slicer" app comes in. There are dozens of these for free. Cura is a good one (but primarily for ultimaker). These almost all take an STL format 3D Model, and slice it up into the layers needed for 3D Printing, and output a GCODE (or other format) file.

To output an STL in Sketchup is easy, you just need is this plugin http://extensions.sketchup.com/en/content/sketchup-stl

Check the comments if you have trouble installing it. It's a bit different in the new version of sketchup, in V8 it was a bit simpler. But still fairly easy to do once you get the right paths and such.

Once the plugin is installed you just select the model parts you want to export, (I prefer to group them, and check they are a complete object, by checking for volume by right clicking on it once it's grouped, and choosing "Entity Info". If it shows a "volume" in there, then it's "water tight" (no holes, and therefore a solid object). That is one thing to check to ensure it's printable.

Then export to STL.

Hope that helps!

On Fri, Feb 28, 2014 at 4:11 PM, Aurelius R <maxrowsell at gmail.com> wrote:
I have just stumbled onto the amazing thing that is Sketchup. In school, we learned the beginnings of Blender and also another one whose name I can't remember, and I always wanted to get back into it.

I think because I have experience working with 3D models, I only had to watch the very basic tutorial videos and I was off and running, though I suspect the average person wouldn't need much more than that either.

I've designed the shelf I've always wanted, which is freestanding and sits on my desk to give me shelf space above my monitors. Hard to explain without seeing it. I also prototyped a project case with a speaker hole in the bottom and standoffs etc.

My question for all you 3D printer experts out there is, what format do most 3D printers take? I've noticed that this program can export the 3D models in quite a few different formats.

My other question was, if I wanted to print a small case for one of my boards, am I allowed to do it at the lab?

Peace, Love, Empathy

Alexander Max Rowsell

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