Remove all interior geometry - I just want the external surfaces of a model turned into a 3D model

A noop question related to working with 3D models:

I imported a model from SolidWorks and it appears to be a combination of 3D and 2D geometry, including a great deal of internal 3d detail. It is an airplane with the seat… in the cockpit and a very thin surface for the canopy. I’d like to 3D print the model, but the slicer ignores the canopy data and prints the seat… Is there a way to just get the ‘outer shell’? The SketchUp outer shell command doesn’t seem to work, since I am selecting more than just solids. I tried to use some Ruby to just select the solids but that didn’t seem to work well either.

Any ideas on how to tackle this (even if I have to resort to Blender or some other tools).

some pictures of the model in SketchUp and with a cross section.

Can you post some images or the model so we can see better?

I added links to the original post

If it was me I would cut the model in half vertically with an intersecting plane, delete the internal structure manually (and also clean up the mesh a bit), copy, paste in place the half, flip it and re-attach to make a solid again.

One problem is that the mesh is not symmetrical so it will not cut well in half without some editing. If you have Blender, user the Decimate modifier to simplify the mesh before opening it again in SketchUp.

Ed: if you just want the front section of an F35 (looks similar) there are a few on the warehouse that are in better shape. They also have cockpits but the models are component’s like this one I just tested, you could clean it up pretty handy and print it.


arent the faces reversed ?

Yes on this example but it would be pretty quick to reverse, plus the offending sections seem to be in individual components too.

I was wondering if having the normals reversed might be the issue with his printer

Ahh yes I see, I did not see reverse faces in the screenshot but then he may not be on that viewport!

Well I was able to get something printable by starting with a different model, but it still bothers me that I couldn’t figure out how to fix the original model.

Did you try my tip to simplify the mesh in blender, cut it in half and gut the inside before stitching the halves back up?

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