My first attempt to get something 3D printed. Need some help

I’m trying to model a Corsair watercooling elbow pipe using Sketchup. Once done, a friend with a 3d printer will print it out for me. I measured the broken pipe and got to work. Model looked quite accurate so exported it as a .stl and send it to my friend. He said it only produced a mess in the printer. He then tried to help out in prusa slicer(or something similar) but eventually gave up.

I guess there are many problems and at least 2 of them are that I couldn’t manage to “fill” all empty space. So the pipe seems to have hollow walls, which ofcourse will never hold up. I can’t figure out how to fill them. The second is that I’ve problably done things in a wrong way so it looks good at a glance but it has been produced using the wrong method.

Before I wrote this post I read some posts and realized I’m not the only one running into problems like this. I spend so many hours just making the model so I really hope there is a chance it can be fixed.
So what do you guys think?

AutoSave_Corsair elbow pipe with o-rings.skp (437.1 KB)

A lot of reversed faces the red ones) and some over lapping faces. You can see the Z-fighting on the top there. Excessive nesting which just makes cleanup more difficult.

I was going to try to fix it but I think it would be easier to redraw it correctly instead.

Is the near tube supposed to be off-center as you have it modeled?

-Reversed faces
-Overlapping faces
I’ll do a search on that so I learn what it is and try not to do it again.

Regarding the tube that is off center, no it doesn’t matter. The box is a something I just did because I couldn’t manage to get the two pipes to “mate” in my first attempt shown here: Corsair elbow pipe with o-rings_v3.skp (381.1 KB)
That version actually look a lot more like the original pipe but was too hard for me. So, I figured I make a simple box for the pipes to connect to a flat surface. I guess I got sloppy and missed the alignment on one pipe.

To sum up, “easier to redraw it correctly”. Is there an easy way to explain How I should do it correctly? Sorry if it is a stupid question.

AutoSave_Corsair elbow pipe with o-rings.stl (125.8 KB)
I zipped this out based on your model.

Do you have a photo of what it should really look like?

Modeling it correctly involves working through the model in a logical way and avoiding creating geometry problems You could use Follow Me to do the tube sections although I didn’t in this case. Part of this involves learning to use the basic tools

I started with the cube, drew circle on the sides and put them out with Push/Pull. The smaller diamter portions on the left were created by drawing a smaller radius circle and extruding it out. Then I copied a lot of that geometry to make the rest. On the right the same basic process was used.

I did center the tubes so their meeting inside the cube would be easier to make work correctly.


Here’s another version without the cube. Slightly more involved to make. The key thing is that you need to learn to use the tools. Don’t just dive in the deep end.

AutoSave_Corsair elbow pipe with o-rings 2.stl (356.3 KB)

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I can’t believe it… did you make a new version from scratch in 7 minutes?! I spent 3 hours for the first version. Very impressive and thank you! I took a photo of the original(broken) part.

Well, I just started with the first one I modeled and modified it. It wouldn’t be that difficult to model the one in your photo but I suspect this latest one with the bent elbow would have fewer stress risers and might be stronger.


You are absolutely right. I think it will probably be stronger and better looking as well :slight_smile: Thank you Dave. I really appreciate your help. To a total stranger for no reason. I really should put some more time into Sketchup and learn it properly. I’ll send it to my friend. Now I even considering buying one of those printers myself :slight_smile:


Happy if it helped.

I’d be interested to see a picture of the printed thing when you get it.

I’ll warn you. Having your own 3D printer create a vortex you’ll get sucked into. :smiley:

It’s a good idea. When you really get familiar with the tools you start to see how to model objects well before you touch the mouse and you’ll have a clear idea of how to get where you are going. Makes the process easier, faster, and more enjoyable.

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Absolutely! I’ll make sure to post it here. I have glanced at 3d printers for several years but always found them to produce too visible layers for my taste. Now I understand there is a new type called SLA(resin) which caught my attention. Should produce very high quality models. I actually just found one second hand, called Peopoly Moai. Looks very promising.

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7 minutes!?
Did you brew up a coffee before you started? :grinning:

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No. It’s late enough I did go get a beer, though. :smiley:

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SLA is not “new” - it being the first method of 3D printing invented, and a Moai is possibly the most difficult place to begin experimenting with 3D printing, and certainly not if you intend to produce mechanical items. Start off with a lot of reading (not adds for printers), then probably fdm - layer lines and all.

Aha. Thanks for the advice. Will read some more regarding choice of printer then.

Learn to love layer lines.
At 0.2 mm I turn filament into landfill in half the time. :grin:


The “slicer” that turns the .stl into gcode is also rather important. It must generate code that the printer understands!

Hi Dave,
I have been playing with Sketchup for a few years and recently bought a 3D printer. Is there some place / someone that I can contact to get some instruction (or even a good reference book - I have Sketchup for Dummies and would like to go deeper)?
Being self taught, I am realizing more and more that I need someone to help fill in the gaps.

You might start with

What is it that you want to be able to model?

What version of SketchUp are you using? Please complete your forum profile.

My primary interest is in modeling furniture. I have a pretty good woodshop, for a hobbyist, and have started printing out scale models of my pieces so I can get a better sense of what they look like from different perspectives. (Basicaly, I let them sit on a shelf for awhile and then go back to see what i would change)
Most recently, I modeled and printed some prototypes of board game pieces for a cousin of mine who wants to bring the game to market in the next year or so.
I have Sketchup 2021 Pro version.
I’ll go and complete my profile.

Thanks again!

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Send me a private message (click on my name) and we can talk when I get out of my meeting. Furniture and woodworking projects are a key area where I use Sketchup.