Modeling tips for 3d printing of chess board (was Orbit strange!)

Hi! I’ve been working on a model, nothing too big and no actual components (it’s a chess board). But suddenly I can’t orbit anymore. When I click orbit (either mouse wheel or just regular mouse button), my focus shifts to an empty canvas. Also, front view and side view etc don;t work. Only top view. Yes, i’ve set camera to perspective…

What’s interesting is when I open another model, I can just orbit as usual. So, it’s really something in the model that I made. It took me almost a day, though, so I don’t fancy doing it all over again…

Also, when I try to copy the group into a new empty model, that doesn’t work, and again orbit doesn’t work…

Share the .skp file with us so we can see what you’ve got going on. I suspect you have something placed at a great distance from the rest of the model.

Please correct your profile. The version should be SketchUp 2022 (I’m guessing from what you did put in.). Operating System should be a version of Windows or Mac, and “Card” does not identify the graphics card.

Schaakbord beton 3d print - diepte.skp (1.5 MB)
Hi Dave,
Thanks! This is my model. I also made a video for you.

I’ve never seen a single group this large. Look at the dimensions here. This is in meters. You’ve managed to get at least something in the group more than half way across the solar system from the chess board.

There were 49 entities way out away from the chessboard. I fixed it for you.
Schaakbord beton 3d print - fixed.skp (1.5 MB)

By the way, you should turn off Length Snapping n Model Info>Units. And set Display Precision higher.


That can’t be correct, my model shows everything in mm… With the total width of the board being 318mm…

It is correct. I changed the units to Meters before getting those dimensions. You’re only measuring the chessboard, not the entire size of the group.

Thank you for fixing though, but now it is indeed in metres… Is there a way to get it back to mm?

Ah i see… Thanks!

You can change the units in the same place I suggested turning off the Length Snapping. Here it is with units in millimeters and showing that the chessboard is the size you set in the fixed model.

Schaakbord beton 3d print - fixed.skp (1.5 MB)

I cleaned up your model a bit and made the thing a solid component in case you really want to 3D print it… Are you planning to make this for real? However you make it, you’re likely to have issues with some of those little cylinders around the border like the two indicated here.

Schaakbord beton 3d print - solid.skp (1.5 MB)

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Oh wow, that’s so nice of you… thanks! (How would I learn to do such things? :wink: ). Yes i’m actually planning on printing it. It is based on this chessboard here:
I think the little cilinders don;t really stick out, but you do see the circles, though…

But they do stick out!

Yes in my model they do. In the photo’s of the original product (see the link i sent) they don’t. But there are cilinders visible. You see? So I wanted to mimick that. But if you have different ideas of how to achieve that…?

Chessboard original circles and cilinders visible

Also, any tips on how I can learn to be better at SU? I just taught myself via YouTube video’s but I’m sure I’m pretty much beginner, as you can probably tell from my model ;-). Maybe a course you would recommend?

There are free self-paced courses at


Sorry. I got called away with an online student. Looks like @Anssi has you sorted, though.

Did you model this entirely in SketchUp yourself? Or did you start from some file you downloaded?

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That’s okay! Uhm no i modelled it entirely myself.

Usually I design interiors in SketchUp, but I don’t have experience with designing products and/or furniture in SU yet. I would like to start learning so that I can put out professional 3D models for products such as this, as I have a 3D printer at my disposal. :slight_smile:


Modeling different things is a great way to learn to use SketchUp.

FWIW, here are a couple of things I might consider doing if I were modeling this chessboard for 3D printing.

First, I would plan to make the perimeter groove slightly wider than the other grooces so you can have full cylinders instead of only about two-thirds of the cylinders.

I would suggest doing your modeling in meters instead of millimeters. Export the .stl at Meters and import into the slicer as millimeters. It should be the right size.

Since there’s a lot of repetition in this model I think I would model segments of it as solid components and then use Move/Copy to copy them. Leave them as seaparate components. The slicer software will still treat it as a single object. Leaving them as separate components also makes it simpler to make edits later. I didn’t do it for this example but I would probably divide the border into smaller sections as well.

Here is an example.

You can see that the outside groove is slightly wider than the other grooves. Maybe it should be even wider. You can also see the edges of the segmenents of the model here.

Screenshot - 12_15_2023 , 10_16_34 AM
One of those components shown selected. Note the dimensions are in meters.

That one component exported as .stl and opened in the slicer. Dimensions are shown correctly in millimeters.

And the whole thing and then exported and opened in the slicer.

It would be a simple matter of finishing the ungrooved squares and copying the components to make the rest of the chessboard squares. And then complete the perimeter.

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Thanks, Dave! Those are some handy tips. I’ve never used slicer before so I’ll be sure to check it out. Other than that I feel that I’m still taking a long time doing things that should be, seemingly, quite easy. Such as divide my bord into building pieces like you showed here. Did you build it again from scratch or did you copy from the model we already had?