3D Solids for Beginners

Hello there, I am a newbie amongst both SketchUp & 3D printing, I am looking to combine my Model I am building with the build size capabilities of the printer I am most interested in and so my project looks a bit like a puzzle. Having to design a light fixture that allows for good heat distribution while not leaving many opportunities for sad little buggies to fly into the device

After spending a couple hours here and there for the past couplea weeks I had learned a fair bit in the SketchUp pro sample period and later moved on to the free web app.

In the past day or so I’ve noticed my objects may not be solids

I am looking into buying the SketchUp Shop version, to allow me to continue to work online & enable many of the 3D tools I’ve been researching about, that’ll save me a lot of time when it comes to having to redo the project (if need be)

Though I am interested in ways of fixing the work that’s already been done, thanks for reading :smiley: Any & all help will be greatly appreciated, be it on 3D printing advice, making objects solid and/or using SketchUp Shop (Can plug-ins be added to the web browser?)


The web version doesn’t make use of plugins possible. You’ll need a desktop version of SketchUp.

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Is this to use for commercial purposes? If so, you need a Pro licence, and I too like @Wo3Dan would recommend a desktop version, not Shop, so you can use plugins.

If only for a hobby, with no commercial usage, you could use the older but still free and very functional Sketchup Make 2017, from https://www.sketchup.com/download/all.

It does NOT have Solid Tools, nor some of the import/export options of Pro or Shop, but you can always perform solid operations using Intersect faces and manual cleanup, and check for solidity with the free plugin Solid Inspector2.

Make does includes Outer shell but not any of the other solid tools. (Checked in Make 2014 - I don’t have Make 2017, only Pro).

For 3D printing, you do know, I hope, about SU’s limitations with using small edges, such as can be created using FollowMe in models sized in small numbers of mm? And how to use the Dave method? Scale up a copy of your component, edit the scaled up copy, then delete it. The edits will be present, scaled down to normal size, in the original real size component.

SU will merge or ignore points created closer than 0.001 inch apart and while it won’t create short edges or form faces from them, it can use and save scaled down short edges.

Hope that helps.

Hey there @john_mcclenahan , thanks for the advice.

When it comes to SU limitations of using small edges, I’ve converted the .001" into mm 0.0254mm & I’ve only briefly read about it besides your explanation. Imagine I use a solid cylinder to subtract from a solid square prism

How small of a cylinder can I use? How’s a radius of 1/8" / 3.175mm & do you have any video guides recommendations (or potential keywords to search in order to understand the scale editing to accommodate this limitation)


Have a look here.

Alright, thanks. I tried youtubing the Dave method
I am more of a visual learner and being able to see in video definitely helps over simply reading text.

From my understanding there is a difficulty around the .001" point, what does that mean with circles? Since they have no edges

Why does this make it bigger and scale down system work exactly? So I simply design in meters or feet instead and right click edit and change every line, or will changing once make the difference needed to scale the whole project