Importing a DXF from Inkscape and push/pulling it


I’ve read several threads on this forum seem to be about what I’m trying to do, but I must be missing something obvious as I can’t make those instructions work.I have a simple flat drawing from Inkscape that I typically use for laser cutting. I want to make it in a 3D printer instead. I exported the Inkscape drawing as a DXF and imported it into Sketchup Make 2017.

The drawing is a rectangle with several inner circles and rectangle that should be “cut out” of the final shape.

Where I’m running into trouble is subtracting these inner shapes from the outer rectangle. Can someone help me with this point and explain the process?

I’ve attached a copy of my DXF, so people can see what I’m trying to do.


scott.dxf (13.9 KB)



How are you importing the DXF into Make?

How are you creating the required faces? I would trace an edge of the rectangle and then select all and Intersect Faces.

Please complete your profile with accurate information about the operating system version and your graphics card. That info can be useful in helping you out.



Thanks Dave, I used File:Import.

I’ll go ahead and work through your example now. This looks very helpful!




Interesting. Make doesn’t offer CAD imports. Maybe you’re using the Pro trial.



The one I downloaded came from here, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the pro version:

So following your GIF, I’ve got to the point where you selected all of the internal shapes, then you do something and they all turn white – what is that something?




Make starts out as a Pro trial. After the trial is over the CAD file imports won’t be available.

Hit the Delete key to get rid of the faces and open up the holes.



Ugh. I must not be doing what you’re doing. When I hit the delete key on one of the circles, it just goes away. It doesn’t turn white.

Here’s what I’m doing:

  1. Import DXF

  2. Click drawing and select “edit component”

  3. Use line tool across the leftmost edge of the drawing. The full rectangle turns kind of a bluish color.

  4. Switch to arrow tool, draw a selection box around everything.

  5. Right click --> intersect faces --> with model.

  6. Double click circle, it hilights blue. Hit Delete. The circle disappears from the drawing. No hole. Just gone.



Here’s your problem. Double clicking on the face of the circle selects the face and the edge of the circle. When you hit Delete, you’re deleting both. Single click on the face of the circle so you only select the face.



Wonderful! I think you’ve solved it!

When I single-clicked, it didn’t look to me like it was selecting anything, so I’ve been double-clicking. Now that I’m single clicking, I have been able to delete the circles.




Another hopefully quick question… Now that I’ve pulled the object, how can I move it around? If I click it and then use the move tool, I only end up moving a single face (which then skews the object). Drawing a selection box will get the whole thing, but also has a habit of grabbing other chunks of other objects that happen to overlap the selection box.



Upload the SKP file now so we can see where you’ve got your model. And be specific about what it is you are trying to move.



Depending on your monitor and back surface color, the selection highlight can be subtle. I too sometimes struggle to see what is selected.



The best answer would be to make it a component so that you can easily select and move it as a unit.



Restarting the program resolved the problem with lack of selection hilight. I’m not sure what was up with it, but as I played with the program more, it was clear that it was not hilighting single clicks at all, even though it was actually selecting things.

Making it into a component sounds like the right thing to do. I will try that.

I also found-that triple-clicking would select the whole thing.

Now, a couple more questions:

  1. I wanted to set the Z-height to a specific value. I found the way to do this to be a little confusing. If I hilighted the (un-pulled) object, and hit p and then typed a number, the number I typed seemed to be ignored. If found that if I manually pulled it to some random value, then I pulled it again I could type a number, though this resulted in the object being moved to below the y-axis. I ended up having to enter a negative number. Was I doing something wrong and/or was there an easier way to set the height to a specific amount?

  2. My goal with this is to make a 3D printed enclosure, from 2D drawings that I used to laser cut and then glue together. So I have a total of six sides, five of which I would glue together, and the sixth that would be a cover. So what I want to do in Sketchup is to take the five pieces that would have been glued together and place them adjacent to each other and “union”: them into one a case that I can print.

2a) Are there tools that I can use to automatically align the pieces together?

2b) Do I need to “union” them in some way so that when I go to 3D print it knows the these pieces I placed together are one object?

I realize this will be a lot clearer if I had some models I could show. I’m working on getting them all imported now.



Okay, I think I’ve made progress with my question (2). I was able to pick a point on the corner of one object and align it to the corner of another object. My SKP is attached.

My question at this point would be, am I done? If I 3D print this does it print as one continuous object? or is it still five objects placed closely together?


scott2.skp (1.3 MB)



Building the model from scratch in SketchUp is faster, easier and more accurate.
Skip the unnecessary tasks of drawing the parts in Inkscape, exporting and importing into SketchUp.

See the progression of steps in modeling the part in this model file:
scott2_Demo.skp (439.3 KB)



It could be printed as it is but I agree with Geo that you could have done it faster and more cleanly by modeling it from scratch in SketchUp.

Out of curiosity, how critical are these dimensions? Do you expect to be able to get that kind of precision from the printer?



Close, but your model, scott2.skp, has some errors.

Unnecessary Edges
Erase unnecessary Edges as you’re building the model.

Misaligned Geometry

Overlapping Geometry
Here, the Components overlap each other.

Misuse of Layers and Materials
My guess is this came in with the DXF from Inkscape.
All raw geometry lives on the Default Layer0 … always.

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Dave, I think the printer will be able to handle the level of precision I need. I’ve already added some slop around where components fit to accommodate imperfections and the differences between laser cutting and printing.

Geo, the next time I do this, I may attempt to do it directly in sketchup. This time, I already had the inkscape models from when I was laser cutting. I would like to learn about this (I’ll look at your demo file). In pretty proficient with quickly aligning and transforming parts with inkscape, I’m probably going to have a learning curve with sketchup.

Geo, is there a way you generated that error report, or were these just common errors you knew to look for?




Investing, say, 30 minutes in learning SU would have saved considerable time on this project.

Spend an afternoon here and you’ll be well ahead of the learning curve.

There’s no magic error report button.
Every year we (the Sages and many other helpful members) interrogate hundreds of problem models.