More Solid Joins in SketchUp


I’ve commented before on grouping “solids” and just positioning them where needed and not bothering to explode/intersect them prior to 3D printing. However, I have been doing this using an on-line vendor that accepts DAE files and I was never sure if the same logic would hold for STL files using a MakerBot 3D printer.

Here’s my test scenario … I created a torus using a couple of circles and the follow-me tool. I grouped this and then created a cylinder which I made into a component and then replicated it 11 times:

I exported the widget as a DAE file and then used MeshLab to import/export the widget into an STL file:

I don’t have a MakerBot, but I downloaded their Desktop application and used it to import the STL file:

Depending on the size, I sometimes get a warning and an offer to automatically convert it from inches to millimeters. Otherwise I can manually do this:

Preparing the model for printing gives this result:

Moving down through the layers shows the hexagonal cells that are used to fill the inside and save material:

It’s interesting to note that the DAE files are output in inches regardless of the units you are using for the model. In older versions, the export included a units specifier for inches, but 2015 Make doesn’t include one at all. This is possibly due to the fact that STL files are unitless as well. Since the MakerBot uses millimetric dimensions, it sees one inch as one millimeter … scaling the STL file by 25.4 fixes this.


have you tried it with the community stl plugin hosted at gitHub and the Extension Warehouse?


You also can get a print-ready STL file by uploading a model to the 3D Warehouse.


You can use TIGs solidsolver in this case to get a solid component for the direct STL-Export (link for @john_drivenupthewall’s sugestion) …


Will not outer shell produce a suitable solid?


This seems to work regardless of which STL exporter I use. In addition to MeshLab, I also tested it with ThomThom’s STL plugin as well as uploading it to the 3D Warehouse and then downloading the STL file. With the extension plugin, I like the ability to select the units upon export so that the STL file has the appropriately sized dimensions.

Just a couple of more garage sales and maybe I’ll be able to buy my own printer :wink:

[edited} BTW, I used a 100-segment circle-path to create the torus with a second 50-segment circle. The cylinder component was made with a 50-segment circle as well. The MaketBot slicer didn’t seem to take noticeably longer to run than before (even at 0.1 mm resolution).