3D Printing - What basics should I know


Hi All, I know NOTHING about the interaction between Sketchup Pro and the world of 3D printers? I just jumped in an ordered the lowest price 3D printer I thought might create “decent” parts/models. I’m not expecting much, just the learning how the steps fit together? Sketchup > .STL output > ? > Somehow feed to printer ? (Create G-code > Slicer program?). Do need to learn C++ or Ruby? I figure playing and learning with EVERYTHING that is involved in the process steps from Sketchup to Finished output, I can learn in the next few years “What it’s all About”. And then move up to create “quality things” with one of those higher end machines…someday. If I would attempt that now I would surly drowned.
(If it matters I bought a Monoprice Makers Select V2 Machine. Going to experament with PETG filament from the get-go, after watching another dozen or so more youtube videos). Any advice GREATLY! appreciated, so I don’t spend unavailable time learning things not needed.
Thanks, Matte


(Moved to the SketchUp > 3D Printing category.)


Thanks Dan, didn’t know about this 3D Printer Category! Thanks for moving it,from doing that I found a few Threads that I cut and pasted for reading to get a better understanding of what I got myself into! Can’t wait! Thanks Again!



I’m in much the same place. I bought a cheap dual extruder 3D printer kit that had good reviews.

As to your questions:

  1. STL Output - yes, you have to get your model out of SketchUp as an .stl file.
  2. Slicer - Your .stl file is input to the Slicer. This is where you control a lot about your print run including: Fill% for solid parts of your model, Fill pattern, use of supports, use of rafts (a mesh printed UNDER your model for easy release from the build plate), skirts, layer height, extruder and build plate temperatures, motion speed - basically all the necessary details. Your slicer outputs a gcode file - which is human readable as it is simply a text file.
  3. Loading onto your printer: Generally, there are 3 options: A) Transfer your gcode file to an SD card - most printers have an SD card reader - then use the printer’s control panel to run the gcode. B) Connect your computer via USB to the printer and use one of many programs on your computer to both control the printer and send the gcode file to the printer. C) Get an Octoprint Starter Kit. What is it? It’s a Raspberry PI loaded with the Octopi software (3D Printer control software - and a lot more). It gives you wired and wireless network connectivity (and ?bluetooth?). Connect in a web browser and control your printer from anywhere on your local network (and with a little browser configuration saffy, from anywhere on the Internet!)

After a few rounds of loading method A, I got tired of transferring the SD card - plus the printer’s built in control panel is clumsy. So I went to loading method B - and quickly got tired of undocking my laptop from my nice office setup, carrying it into the shop where my 3D printer resides, then not being able to do work in the office while my parts are printing, so I went with loading method C - and I love it!

Many bonus to the Octoprint method:

  • There is a built in slicer, so it can save you the slicer step. However, it’s limited in it’s options compared to other slicers you can get for free.
  • It takes plug-ins - and there’s a much more full featured slicer that just came out as a plug-in.
  • You can get touch screen displays to give you a printer control panel that is far more robust and easy to use than any control panel supplied with a printer.
  • Add a webcam and you can both monitor your printer remotely in real time AND create time-lapse videos of your parts being printed!

Hope this helps!


Thanks for your thoughts, it really helps alot !!! I think I will look into your Version C option. I heard also that if you setup your input/slicer/print tasks into on of those Raspberry Pi devices, it frees up your personal computer for other things and Pi device is all you have to leave running?
Thanks again for your time and advice.




Funny you should ask! We just did this video last week!


• Extension Warehouse : SketchUp STL
• Extension Warehouse : CleanUp³
• Extension Warehouse : Solid Inspector²

• STL Viewer : netfabb
• STL Viewer : EasyViewStl

• 3D HUBS : What is 3D Printing
• 3D HUBS : 3D Printer Guide


Thank you! I bookmarked and downloaded into my 3D printer research folder, can’t wail to look it over tonight!!!


Also starting out on 3D adventure -

Some warnings / tips I have come across

1] have an electrical fire extinguisher nearby
2] have a plan in case of fire
3] Don’t print unattended
4] Found UHU glue stick good to get PLA to stick to an unheated plate

Printed a townhouse model at 1:300 successfully but still learning lots about all the variables that influence printing



Sounds like there is a story in there, somewhere… Issues that I have yet to experience!


Ohhh, I am not speaking from experience

just a lot of reading on forums and others experiences of DIY 3D printers and their advice



This topic was automatically closed 91 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.