Please Help! STL export to MakerBot 3D printing errors


I’ve completed a great kitchen redesign over several weeks with Sketchup. When I try to export STL to MakerBot 3D printer though the 3D print is full of superfluous triangles in the middle of the print that are not visible in the Sketchup drawing. I have in the past been able to fix this by removing superfluous lines and reversing surfaces but this is not helping now and it is a major pain. I’d be hugely grateful of any suggestions please for excising superfluous connections that appear when STL file is imported to MakerBot. Thank you


Is your file a solid before you export the .STL file?

Can you upload the source SketchUp file?


Thanks Aaron for your reply and suggestions. I am a sketchup beginner…can you explain please how to make the drawing a solid? It is not a solid, it is a series of vector lines that look solid according to view option. I will also upload the sketchup file today. Thanks again. Dan


Kitchen take 17 7 July 2017 - Copy.skp (240.9 KB)
Here is the file, thanks for your help.


You’ve got a number of problems. Reversed faces (exposed blue sides), some walls and floor have no thickness, internal faces where the columns meet the beam…

Also note that edges have no thickness so the lines you’ve drawn for the range top and the ovens will not print.


I tried to select all and convert to solid but received an error message


By what process did you try that?

Your model needs a bunch of manual work and it’ll never be solid as long as you have parts with no thickness.


Many thanks Dave for your analysis and comments. I am a Sketchup beginner, can you help please with what I have to do to fix the problems you’ve identified. I know how to reverse faces but don’t know what I have to do to fix zero thickness issues. Thanks


I used CTRL A to select all then tried to use the UNION tool to convert to solid but receive error messages with that and even if I’m only selecting a shelf or smaller object


I don’t have time to go through it all right at the moment but if you would start with a floor that has thickness and draw the plan on that, you would be a long way to fixing your problems.

Union does not create solids from nothing. It is used to combine multiple solids into a single solid.


Thank you Dave. I am very confused about surfaces…I tried to select and remove some of the lines at the bottom of the model but then I lost my walls in the model. I tried to select and Push/Pull the elements at the bottom of the model but this did not give me a solid base it just pulled down the bottom surface to give an empty pan rather than an extruded solid.How did you select everything but the floor, then extrude the floor to give it solid thickness then extrude the rest? Sorry for my ignorance! Dan


Another new concern is that on trying to accommodate a sketchup update that the sketchup software offered to me, on trying to install this update I received a virus warning message from windows and the update was not installed (see jpg attached for file I was unable to install)!


I have tried to accommodate your advice, fixing reversed surfaces and drawing a solid floor (after much trial and error). I have uploaded the new effort and will also try STL export again. ThanksKitchen take 19 15 July 2017 - solid foundation.skp (249.6 KB)


OK. So you gave the floor a bit of thickness but now you’ve created some internal faces and some other problem. At this point I would strongly suggest you abandon this model and start from scratch. Begin as I suggested above.


Thanks for the advice. I went back to an early version before the problems manifested and was able to build from there with a thicker floor as you suggested. All was looking good but then as I added more I again encountered some problems with gaps and spurious triangles (see attached). Things work ok for a while but then the dreaded triangles start appearing…! I would be very grateful for your further advice please. Kitchen another new start 2 on19 July 2017.skp (201.4 KB)


I am trying to make the connection with the 3 d print issue and the 7 19 model.? They are different issues to my thought process. Could you clarify what your ultimate plans are for you effort??. The artifacts you see in the 7 19 model IMHO is issues with you not properly using the Su inference engine but, then you have the issue it is not acceptable for a number of structural reasons if your thoughts are using it for real life use or even for talking points depending who.
Suggest you use the text tool and check some of the x,y,z coplanarity of some of your lines and you will find there are small errors I am sure realted to inference engine use above. This results in losing surfaces when some lines are deleted and should not.
I did a check on stray lines( there are 22) and you have a few suggest you use the stray line plugin you can find here
I assume you will have some load bearing walls but having the column in the middle of the island is not good??


It’s getting better. There are quite a few edges on surfaces that can be deleted and there’s a reversed face that needs to be corrected.

And there are a bunch of internal edges and faces that need to be cleaned up. I show some of them selected here.


Thank you very much for your thorough review and feedback. The reason for all the edges on surfaces is because the surfaces disappear when I delete the seemingly superfluous edges…?!
I will try the corrections you suggest.
I was not successful trying to turn the model or even elements into solids…how do you do this?
Thanks again.


Thanks for your review and comments. The objective is to come up with kitchen redesigns with 3D printing to visualize designs better and explore/evaluate variants. The reiterating problem is failure to export and print 3D models that resemble what appears on screen in SU. I do have the issue of badly connecting surfaces which it increasingly seems are due to use of the surface push/pull tool which perhaps does not always move pefectly orthogonally to original surfaces?
I am a SU beginner so all guidance gratefully received.
And yes, the column is a problem we will review with a structural engineer.


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