How to smooth out a part for 3d printing


I designed a quad copter frame that I intend on having 3d printed. when designing it in sketch up I used the default settings for the arcs but now I dont think when printed the arcs have enough segments to give it a smooth finish. is there a way I can smooth it out without redesigning the whole part?


The geometry doesn’t look too complicated, you should recreate that part. Can you share that model here?


Unfortunately, not in general without redrawing at least some of the arcs.

From a technical perspective, there are two kinds of objects that SketchUp uses to represent non-straight lines: Curves and ArcCurves. Both are actually sequences of Edges joined end-to-end. The difference is that an ArcCurve (a circle or arc section of a circle) has some attached metadata that “remembers” the planar circle from which it was derived. If you select an ArcCurve, you can increase the number of segments in the entity info window and SketchUp will generate a new sequence of edges for it. But once it is converted to a simple Curve, this is no longer possible because the necessary mathematical information is lost. Alas, great many SketchUp operations that join other Edges with a vertex in an ArcCurve may result in it becoming a simple Curve. You can select individual arcs in your model to see whether this has happened.


Don’t neglect post print smoothing. Depends on material you are using. I ask dukejazz about what folks are doing on rms errors of print surfaces. I’ll PM info to you if can figure how.
One tip rms or smoothing of prints can be done by acid-tone wetting or sand papering or reheating outside surface.
BTW in what he sent was tuts by Shapeway on ploy reduction but if you can decimate you should be able to interpoltate surface also. It would be helpful if model was built such you could separate out the exterior so one would not have to worry about inside=> by use of components? Where having model or partial would help.


I’ve used the plugin Artisan to subdivide my low-poly model to export a file for printing then Undo the subdivision for retain the low-poly model encase I want to further refine it. A copy of the subdivided model could be added to the file too.


Artisan is great indeed! I’ve learned to design at “superscale”, that is, making a doghouse the size of the Great Pyramid, and then before I decide to go printing I make a copy downscaled to the real size I want my part to be.

I keep successive dated backups of my designs in case I do something stupid.


I think Artisan is not the tool of choice in this case.


Quite possibly, but what do you suggest then, Cotty?


This was my suggestion:


Ah, sorry, I thought you were going to suggest a more adequate alternate for Artisan.