For 3D printing, how do I get objects to snap to the print floor?


#1

I’m a total newbie to Sketchup and 3D printing, so I apologize for my abject ignorance. I was designing four objects to print, but I had a terrible time getting them aligned perfectly with the floor so that the printer wouldn’t attempt to print in midair, or chop off the bottom. In fact, one of the pieces kept jumping above or below the zero plane.
How do I get objects to rest on the floor consistently?


#2

Easiest way I’ve found is to make a big rectangle at floor level. Select the edges and the face and make them a group or component.

Then when you are moving things around, Sketchup will tend to want to locate stuff on that face. The inference will be “On face in group.”

Once you are done, you can hide or delete the big rectangle.


#3

Thanks Steven!

I’m a little comforted that it wasn’t an obvious setting that I’d overlooked.

That sounds like a great technique!


#4

If you want to move objects to the ground plane you can start to move with the move tool then let go of the mouse and type [,0] and hit enter and the object will move down to the z plane.


#5

Now Box has a simple solution above but one thing to bear in mind is that there is no need to get your parts on the “floor” of SketchUp before you export them.

If you export multiple parts at once their relationship to each other is important but not their relationship to anything in the SketchUp work area. They can be exported while 20 feet above the ‘floor’ in the SU work area. The only dimension that really comes through to the STL file is DOWN. (“the enemy gate is always down”) So if you do want to export parts as a group you do need to get all of their bottoms aligned. I do that with the move command and grab a lower corner then line up the bottom sides. (although I am going to modify that adding Box’s technique!)

Now with all that said, I generally do not export parts together as I may well want to print them with different settings. Particularly shell thickness and fill percentage. Depending on other factors I may also want to dink with the filament temps and head speeds as well so I almost always export parts separately.

Now, if you export them separately and import them one by one, regardless of how they are oriented in space to each other in SketchUp they will be all “down side” and flat on the print area of your software. The “Down” side in SU will be on the print bed when you load it. Even that is not too critical as it so easy peasy to rearrange parts in the slicer software.

Then you just load all four parts into slicer software one by one. (If you do NOT want to vary your print settings per part.)

With all of that said, I use Cura slicer software and it has a big “Lay Flat” button which can come in handy!


#6

So what printer/slicer software are you using?


#7

In addition to all that @Robajohn said, most 3d printing houses do some analysis on your models before printing. They will typically select which direction in your model is “down” so as minimize any additional support structures that will be added to your model that have to be removed after printing.


#8

I’m using the FLUX Studio that came with my FLUX Delta printer. It has a built-in slicer.