So I know sketchup gets a lot of ■■■■ in the 3d printing community but I was wondering if it’s really just a matter of people trying to surpass its inherent limitations to that purpose. For example, if I’m trying to make a model for a boardgame box insert which will be more or less completely rectangular, will sketchup be able to make a model that works? Is it only with added detail that sketchup becomes a problem? Or will and stl made with sketchup require repair no matter what? Thanks!
The vast majority of complaints about using SketchUp for 3D printing are due to its well-known (mis)handling of very small details. The universal answer is to model at a larger size (e.g. use meters as if they are mm), export stl, and tell the slicer software that the stl is in mm. Since stl is does not itself contain a specification of units, the slicer only knows what you tell it.
I’ve been using SketchUp for 3D printing for more than six years. If you understand how it represents geometry and enclosed volumes, there’s never a problem. As @slbaumgartner mentioned, some of the issues are caused by the "tiny edge"problem, but this is easily added into the workflow.
Is it easy to create complex solids? Yes and no. Pay attention to how SketchUp works and make sure it’s doing what you think it is … it’s not automatic like in some other programs.
As the others have indicated, SketchUp is totally capable of making good and even detailed models for 3D printing but like any tool, you have to learn how to use it properly. Once you do, you can make extremely elaborate models for printing that won’t require any repair at the STL stage. If you want to see examples of models that need no additional work for printing, I can show you some. Here’s one I did this evening to wet your whistle.
The SketchUp model
From the slicer:
So the simple answer to anyone who has problems using SU for 3d printing, there is a fault in the chair.
I will add my voice to the chorus and say that SU is excellent for virtually all of my printing work except for high poly organic, and even then I often construct some components in SU for import into something else for compositing.