3D printer compatibility from models in Sketchup

The models from my landscape and buildings will be used for Art and Historical displays for a Musuem project. I’m using a 3D printer to be part of the process. Is the 3D printer compatible with Skechup program to be able to print out 3D forms? The materials such as paper mâché by Artists and sculpture will be used to develop a closer outline from the 3D prints in the last part of the process. Thanks for any advise.

The 3D printer doesn’t care about which software was used to create the model. As long as you have a watertight model the exported .stl file will work fine with your slicer software.

There are strategies you can use in your modeling process to create better models for printing but that’s not a compatibility thing. You should get @TheOnlyAaron’s book.


I recently purchased a 3D printer from Makerbot, and a little more expensive than a regular printer, but a lot larger machine. Several vendors, a more prominent one in Kansas and popular sells them for a company outside the U.S. They did say it should connect. And I’m far from the step of printing anything yet, since my models are in numerous files and a lot of development still needs to be done, before the 3D print phase is reached. Then of course, will be the professional Artists and Sculptures who will help in the final phase. I certain the “MakerBot” brand is reliable, but needed to confirm with someone in the Sketchup support end. Enclosed are a few of partially completed models, but only a very small sample that will go into the Musuem. The exhibits I hope to be will be on a very small scale, in order to fit into a museum since it has to accommodate some parts of a city in Europe for historical and art beauty of the 1970s and early 1980s era.

MakerBot makes good printers and you should find them to be dependable. I bought a Creatlity CR-M4 a few months ago. It’s been very good with my SketchUp models.

As far as working in SketchUp you have to make sure you are creating what SketchUp calls solid objects (groups and components). They will be considered manifold or watertight which is required of the .stl file for printing. To be printable thee components/groups must have no stray edges, holes, or internal faces. All faces have to be oriented correctly with the back faces toward the print media and the front faces toward air. If your models are clean and properly created you should have no problem.


Thanks, I’m looking forward to this great goal if the Museum is successful, and I should have plenty of exposure it is, and for the public to see. I was a little confused how the “faces” on the objects in the model should be oriented in which direction. That is how each side of the buildings or houses have to face?

Yes. Faces in SketchUp have a front and a back. The default front face color is white and the default back is blue-gray. Before you start applying materials to your models you need to first ensure that all faces are correctly oriented.

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Yes, I remember that the outside faces are normally supposed to be the lighter color and insides are an off-white. And it does make sense why the objects (groups and components ) have to be perfectly sealed especially in the 3D print for it to print.

It is worth noting that you use the words Compatible and Connect, technically neither is relevant.
The sketchup software and the printer never directly talk to each other, it’s not like Office connecting to a printer and printing directly from Word or Excel.
Sketchup has the ability to export .stl files. They are one of the common files used by 3D Printer software.
So you export from Sketchup and open in Makerbot then print.


Thanks, its more clear now ! It makes sense why it would print out a better end product since they are using files that are in common.