3D Printing with SketchUp

3D Printing with SketchUp
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Table of Contents
Sample Chapters
  • Learn how to design beautiful architectural models that will print on any 3D printer
  • Packed with clearly illustrated examples to show you just how to design for 3D printing
  • Discover the essential extensions and companion programs for 3D printing your models

Book Details

Language : English
Paperback : 136 pages [ 235mm x 191mm ]
Release Date : May 2014
ISBN : 1783284579
ISBN 13 : 9781783284573
Author(s) : Marcus Ritland
Topics and Technologies : All Books, Open Source

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Concepts Every 3D Printing Designer Needs to Know
Chapter 2: Setting Up SketchUp for 3D Printing
Chapter 3: From 2D Drawing to 3D Model
Chapter 4: Understanding Model Resolution
Chapter 5: Using Existing Models
Chapter 6: Designing a Phone Cradle
Chapter 7: Importing Terrain and Printing in Color
Chapter 8: Modeling Architecture for 3D Printing
Appendix: Resources for Your 3D Printing Success
  • Chapter 1: Concepts Every 3D Printing Designer Needs to Know
    • A short background of 3D printing
      • The 3D printing process
        • Printing support material
    • Own a printer or use a print service?
    • Making the most of 3D printing
      • Designing for prototypes versus finished products
    • Avoiding the pitfalls of 3D printing
    • Choosing a 3D modeling program
    • Summary
  • Chapter 2: Setting Up SketchUp for 3D Printing
    • Downloading and installing SketchUp
      • The SketchUp interface
    • Setting up a template for fast modeling and troubleshooting
      • Using the 3D printer's build volume component
      • Model units of measurement
      • Saving our template as the default template
      • Using other styles
    • Setting up toolbars
      • Minimizing dialog boxes
    • Installing and using extensions
      • Installing more extensions
    • A quick exercise
      • Importing .STL files
    • Summary
  • Chapter 3: From 2D Drawing to 3D Model
    • Starting from a quick sketch
    • Designing for ease of printing
    • Modeling in SketchUp from a sketch
      • Keeping a historical timeline of changes speeds iteration
      • Exporting the model and printing
      • Importing vector artwork
      • Changing the scale of the part
      • A bonus tip – the 45-degree overhang rule for filament printers
      • Making the design your own
    • Summary
  • Chapter 4: Understanding Model Resolution
    • Wall thickness
    • Modeling a vase
      • Creating a profile
      • Avoiding missing faces by scaling up your model
      • Creating wall thickness
      • Understanding noncircular circles
      • Making the magic happen with the Follow Me tool
        • A bonus tip for desktop extrusion printers
      • Combining solids with the Outer Shell tool
        • Bonus – more methods to create wall thickness
    • Summary
  • Chapter 5: Using Existing Models
    • Leveraging SketchUp components to save time
      • Saving a model as a Component
    • Online 3D model repositories
      • Thingiverse
      • 3D Warehouse
      • GrabCAD
    • Case study – modifying a GoPro wrench
    • Summary
  • Chapter 6: Designing a Phone Cradle
    • Getting started with a 2D sketch
      • Getting to the third dimension
      • Adding details to make the model interesting
      • Using the 3D Text tool
      • Mirroring symmetrical models
      • Combining groups with the Outer Shell tool
      • Cutting a slot for the cord
      • Orienting faces for a perfect model
      • Exporting the model for printing
    • Testing the printed model
      • Developing an improved design
      • Copying and scaling groups to create a complex shape
      • Finishing up and printing the new model
      • Testing the second iteration
    • Summary
  • Chapter 7: Importing Terrain and Printing in Color
    • Working with the Google Earth terrain
    • Printing models with color
      • Textures versus solid colors
      • Working with solid colors in SketchUp
      • Working with textures in SketchUp
      • Exporting the model for color printing
    • Summary
  • Chapter 8: Modeling Architecture for 3D Printing
    • Using SketchUp for 3D printing versus rendering
    • Case study – 3D printing a model designed for rendering
      • Examining the original model
      • Planning the model
      • Using groups and layers to organize the model
      • Creating a standard wall thickness
      • Editing wall panels to add details
        • Adding the window grills
        • Adding interior walls
        • Modeling the roof
      • Orienting the parts for printing
      • Printing the model and bonus commentary
    • Preparing the model for full color printing
    • Orienting the parts for printing
    • Printing from i.materialise
    • Printing from Shapeways
    • The full-color printed cabin
    • Summary
  • Appendix: Resources for Your 3D Printing Success
    • Troubleshooting nonsolid models
    • SketchUp extensions
      • Where to find extensions online
      • Extensions and plugins mentioned in the book
      • More useful extensions
    • SketchUp training
    • Companion programs for 3D printing
    • 3D model repositories
    • 3D print services
      • Industrial services with a shop platform
      • Crowdsourced print services
    • Contact me

Marcus Ritland

Marcus Ritland is a designer and 3D printing consultant at his small business, Denali 3D Design. Since 2008, he has used SketchUp for architectural rendering services, learning it and helping others well enough to be chosen as "Top SketchUcator" of the SketchUcation forums. After learning about 3D printing through an online contest, he incorporated it into his business, selling 3D-printed goods online and helping other small business owners leverage the technology.

He has also volunteered at a local makerspace, teaching SketchUp classes and leading 3D-printing meetups. He is currently on a quest to eliminate design-for-3Dprinting illiteracy. When he's not push-pulling a model into shape, he can be found shooting photos and enjoying nature.

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Sample chapters

You can view our sample chapters and prefaces of this title on PacktLib or download sample chapters in PDF format.

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What you will learn from this book

  • Understand how 3D printing works, and why you may need to design your model differently for different printing processes
  • Discover tips to make the modelling process easier, extensions to help you work faster, and how to make any model printable
  • Find online models and expedite the modelling process by working from an existing modelAdapt architectural models built for rendering into full-color 3D printable models
  • Import terrain data from Google Earth to SketchUp and work with terrain data to make it printable

In Detail

As 3D printing is becoming more accessible, it is important for designers and architects to know how to utilize the technology. SketchUp is a popular 3D modelling tool and is among the easiest programs to work with as a beginner. Whether printing on your desktop, or outsourcing to a commercial 3D print service, this is a skill you'll want in your portfolio.

Starting with an overview of 3D printing technologies, you will learn how to design SketchUp models for 3D printing, set up a template for 3D printing, explore the specific requirements for a 3D printable model, and look at the essential SketchUp extensions for 3D printing. You will start by printing a simple 3D model, progress to importing images that can be used to make 3D models, and move on to tweaking the model for specific 3D printers.
This book delves into the most important concepts for designing 3D printable models, from wall thickness and modelling solids, to using available models and adapting them to your needs.

You will also learn where to access, and more importantly, how to adapt existing 3D models available online for your own use. Finally, this book will show how it’s possible to use Google Earth terrain and modify existing architectural SketchUp models before printing.


This book teaches practical techniques using real-world case studies to help you design models that print right the first time.

Who this book is for

If you are familiar with SketchUp and want to print the models you’ve designed, then this book is ideal for you. You don’t need any experience in 3D printing; however, SketchUp beginners will require a companion book or video training series to teach them the basic SketchUp skills.

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