Sketchup Make vs. 123D Make for 3D printing - which is best?



Disaster. The model that I exported into OBJ format (in order to 3D print it), contains errors.

This is no doubt heresy, but I have been advised to use 123D Design (==> 123D Make) instead of Sketchup Make, as a result.

My local hackspace/makerspace has some 3D printers. However when I exported my model to OBJ format, ready for 3D printing (using MakerBot ??) it was clear that there were errors in my model, despite the fact that Sketchup accepted my model as being ‘solid’.

I have been advised by staff at my local hackspace that I would get better results using 123D Design /123D Make (from Autodesk) which like Sketchup Make is also free. The my Sketchup model also contains some ‘structural’ errors (my bad) so I may as well re-build from scratch in any case. If pushed I could possibly spend something on software ($100/year max) but I have very little money to spend on software so both being free (“freeware”?) is a distinct advantage.

  • Can anyone tell me how 123D Design / 123D Make compares with Sketchup Make for 3D Printing?
  • What are the pros & cons?

I am a relatively slow learning and I value my own time, so choosing the best tools is important to get right…




I’ve been using SketchUp for a variety of 3D printing projects for the last 3 years (over 100 models uploaded to Shapeways). I think it is very suitable to 3D printing as long as you observe some simple rules. If you decide to use 123D Design, do so … whatever works best for you. However, like SketchUp, there is a learning curve and you will need to follow the same simple rules or your model will not be acceptable for printing with that software as well.

First of all, I’m curious why you chose to export it as an OBJ file and not an STL file. If you have not installed the plugin, it’s available here. If exporting the STL file still produces errors, perhaps you can share your model here so you can get some help with it. Personally, I wouldn’t be so quick to abandon SketchUp without first learning why it fails in meeting your needs.


OK thanks.

If you want the truth there are just too many things about Sketchup that cause me to cuss and swear "G*d I hate sketchup!)

e.g. It turns out the I had both Sketchup 2015 AND Sketchup 2016 on my laptop computer. However for some bizarre reason when I type “Sketchup” into Windows (8.1 x64) Start Button search box the ONLY one the came up is the 2015 version. It took me a LONG time to work this out because the two version are not properly named with 2015 or 2016 in the title. So I now don’t really know WHICH version I was using when I did the export.

e.g. If most people are using STL not OBJ, then why don’t we get STL as standard. If OBJ has bugs then fix them. Or abandon STL. Either way, nobody at the local hackspace told me about STL. They just asked what export formats can you do. And the only one that overlapped with his software was OBJ. Now it turns out that STL is probably better. Fine by why waste my time with OBJ if it has bugs (??) and is less widely used.

Also irritating is trying to install the extension. If I download the file and run using Sketchup it fails. So in the end I had to find out the name of your link, search for that name from Window ==> Extension Warehouse ==> search for “Sketchup STL” (there are 400 results that come up but luckily it turns out to be the first of them - but I had to CHECK that fact…)

Don’t get me wrong - I have received a lot of help from this community and I am extremely grateful… but that doesn’t stop me from finding Sketchup - between moments of sublime brilliance - DEEPLY frustrating!

Maybe I am just a perfectionist / complainer. Anyhow with regret, I am now going to try 123D Design and see if I like it any better.


By having the STL exporter as an extension, it can be updated independently of program updates. It’s on GitHub for the greater SU community to update and develop.

“Bugs” could be from the way the model was created in SU. We don’t know as no SKP file was shared for examination.

If you upload the model to the 3D Warehouse, there is an option to convert the model to STL format.

Start menu program titles can be edited…