Newbie Question: SketchUp Make and 3D printing

I looked but I’m no wiser.
Situation: Installed SketchUp Make Ver.17.2.2555 (64bit); designed my part. got the STL extension, exported STL.

  1. will that STL extension remain when the Pro trial expires?
  2. since I design everything in millimeter, can that be exported like that? Somewhere I came across a post that the workaround is designing in meters, really??

Thanks for any help.



You can export in millimeters. The reason for working in meters is not for the export. It’s because SketchUp won’t make tiny, sub-millimeter faces. Working in meters allows smaller faces to be created so that you can make “solid” groups/components which are required if they are to be 3D printable.

Please complete your profile.

There are applications that you can use to lay out what you are going to 3D print, and to add supports, rafts, and other bits. Here are two that are free, and are very good:

Ultimaker Cura

Autodesk Meshmixer

Both of them can change the scale of your models. So, if you worked in meters to help SketchUp create small faces, you could use one of those programs to scale the model back down to the size you want to print at. Both programs can import and export STL.

Thanks Dave!

Profile and intro done!:wink:

OK I’ll design in meters going forward. However is there an easy routine to convert that part done in millimeters to meters?



You can measure one known dimension on the part using the Tape Measure tool. Make sure to click at an end point on each end. Then type the distance in meters and hit Enter.

What scale is your model railroad?

Thanks Colin!

I purchased a Monoprice Select Mini, ETA is Sept 3rd. and I guess the learning will start in earnest.
Build format is small (120x120x120mm), but large enough to do a lot of parts that are on the " list".



Thanks Dave,

Very simple! :sunglasses:

It’s a garden railway modeled after the Swiss Rhaetian Railway (1m Narrowgauge); our scale is 1:22.5 Running on 45mm track gauge, by some called G-scale.

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Slightly confused: I select the “circle” shape and what I get is a triangle!?! What’s that about?

Thank you!

Sounds like maybe you set the number of sides to 3. Select the Circle tool and look at the Measurements window. By default it should be 24. You can change the number by typing a new one before starting the tool. Don’t click in the Measurements window, though.

Thanks Dave,

Got it!
Next are the cones



Cones as covers on top of the smoke stacks.

Ah… wood burners?

One way would be to start with a cylinder for the stack. Use Push/Pull with Ctrl (Option on Mac) to extrude a little extra, then the Move tool on a cardinal point on the edge of the circle to increase the diameter. Then Push/Pull and Move again on a cardinal point.

Alternatively, you could draw a section of the stack and a circle for a path and use Follow Me.

Thanks Dave,

Very nice instructions Easy to follow!

Actually it isn’t a wood burner, but some other gizmo as part of a track-weighscale.


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Hi Dave,

Slowly but surely!

What’s so difficult? Just over a year ago I required cranial surgery to drain bilateral brain bleeds (fell off a ladder but was lucky!).
Anyway, retaining routines isn’t as easy as it was in my younger days. But since I’m stubborn I persevere .

Thanks for your help!


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Next problem.
I read your post regarding precise positioning i.e there is no nudge feature.
How would/should I position a group of objects at the precise intersection of three guidelines?

Using the Move tool, grab the “group of objects” by the point that will correspond to the intersection of the guide lines and move the cursor to that intersection. Click to release it.

Still struggling with precise positioning of the conical top to the cylindrical stack. x,y and z values of top of stack to be same as bottom of cone.
I just don’t get it. :roll_eyes::unamused: despite trying variations that “should be self-aligning”!:face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Thanks for the help


TrackScale011.skp (58.0 KB)

One thing that is causing you problems is that you aren’t dragging out the radii for circles on axis. The stacks are off axis a bit. If you redraw the parts with their radii on axis, you can then align the parts using their vertices.

You would find it easier, I think, if you would draw a profile of the stack with the rain shield on it and use Follow Me

Thanks Dave, I’ll give that a try right away


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