3D printing text and graphics

Hi to the forum. I have a new 3D printer and would like to print custom electronics enclosures. As a test I downloaded an earbud box from Thingiverse and printed it out. The box and lid print separately with the lid of the box down. I want to put text and graphics on the lid. If I use raised text and graphics they will have to print first and the solid part of the lid will print above them. This will require a lot of infill to support the lid and bridge the spaces between the text and graphics. I don’t want to mix infill with the text and graphics. I thought a solution to this would be to fill the spaces between the letters and graphics with a grid that would provide a texture that would be a part of the design and support the box lid itself for printing.

So my question is how to fill the spaces around the text snd graphics with a simple grid in Sketchup? This could be a texture? If I run a frame around the top of the lid, put my text and graphics within this frame, I could select the frame outline, text and graphics and somehow exclude them from a grid overlay. Maybe.

I have been watching a lot of Sketchup videos on You Tube. Just great information there. I found the editable 3D text extension by Thom Thom. It works great for the raised text on the lid. Haven’t found anything on generating a grid and wrapping it around other objects.

Anyone have a reference to a web resource that describes doing this?

What if you turn the lid over so the inside of the lid prints first and the text is on top?

You can model the grid like anything else in SketchUp. Seeing the model you’re working with would be a big help to give you more direction.

Not a texture in the usual SketchUp sense of using an image as a texture. You would need to create actual geometry for this.

If you upload the SketchUp model, it’ll be easier to give you exact directions.

I have included a quick sketch of the problem ( not to any scale ). The letters on the box lid are raised. The most efficient way to print this is with the letters down. If I print the lid with the letters up as shown in the file the inside of the lid would have to be filled with an infill pattern since the 3D printer can’t span that distance without supports. Same problem with printing it with the letters down. There is too much space between the letters for the hot plastic filament to span without support. The solution would be a nice grid that acts as support for the printing process but is still a part of the design. So I would like to fill all the space within the raised edge around the outside of the top of the lid with a nice grid pattern the same height as the letters. I am not sure how to do this. I could make up grid geometry in one corner. How would I get Sketchup to fill the space within the boundary edge without overriding the letters?


Box lid with text.skp (1.76 MB)

Hi. That is just a quick sketch not intended to be printable. The ribs you added run over the letters. I would like to protect the letters somehow so the pattern stops and starts leaving the letters unaffected. Can you think of any way to do this?

Did n0t say if you had set up the 3D printing in mm or not . . And have you got Slic3r and Repetier-Host yet . . Both are needed to run the 3D printer . . I use the Prusa Version of Slic3r and have both 1.6.2 and 2.0.3 Versions of Repetier-Host on my Desktop . . . . Did you get a lot of the Extention installed like the Export to STL and The Inspector

I’m running Cura for the slicer. Have a few extensions like Cleanup and Solid Inspector. All works well. Sketchup Make outputs STL files. Hope to do photogrammetry with Zephyr and Meshlab. Got a few files made up but need a better lighting setup for the small engine parts I want to print. Zephyr lets me run the 3D model through Sketchup for tuning up. Amazing software these days.


Does your slicer software allow you to alter the infill at all? I would first see if it is possible to choose infill pattern and scale that looks nice and leave it at that.

Yes Cura allows you to choose infill levels. That is a thought. Not sure what would happen to the text and graphics but worth a try.

I can’t help but think that this is a common issue. Printing raised patterns and text must be done a lot. I wonder what the normal trick is.


Normally you would either orient the print differently, or make the portion with text a complete separate piece that is then inserted/glued to the main part after printing.

I thought about that. Make up a universal plate with all the info on it that could be applied to my various box sizes. Might try it. Kind of cheating though. I thought about doing that in Sketchup. Make up one object all set up the way I want as a component and apply it to different projects. Still have to figure out how to print it.