Sketchup rarely exports usable STLs for 3D printing

Pleaee take a look why this model (and actually ALL MY MODELS so far intended for 3D printing) cannot be exported to STL in order to get solid object ready to 3D print.
thermostat (13.5 MB)
The object to be exported is a nice solid, as Solid Inspector² can confirm it.

If SketchUp cosistently isn’t able to export usable STLs for 3D printing this software is nothing but useless for me.

Using legally paid SketchUp Pro, latest version (23.1.340, 64 bit).

Note: The model is that big because I need precision on circular shapes so I made everything in inches instead of millimeters. So the exported STL should be considered to have units in millimeters (to have a size around 52 mm). This shouldn’t have to affect the exporting capabilities of SketchUp.

My guess is the guides you have in the model.
Go Edit menu/Delete Guides
You will notice the bounding box now fits the group.

Welcomed remark, there indeed were hidden guides, but still no changes for export. Same garbage.

(NOTE: I check the exported STL sanity by importing it back, then Solid Inspector²)

If you are importing it back at the mm size it is probably breaking in the import.
I exported your file and have no issues with it in Cura.

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So, the short answer is: don’t bother with re-importing in Sketch-Up for sanity check, rather to import directly in Elegoo (or Ultimaker) Cura and check there whether there are errors or not?

Well, Yes.
Sketchup often struggles with tiny faces when you import things at a relatively small size, particularly when you have used so many segments.
If you import your stl back into sketch as metres it will probably be ok, but it seems a bit pointless when you really only need it to work in the printer software.

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@kesztio ,
I never re-import an .STL in SketchUp to check (again) if it is solid! Just make sure it is a solid before exporting to .STL and you’ll be good to go…
BTW: I have a custom template for 3D printing, it’s set in meters and I model in meters if they were millimeters. Thanks to @DaveR for his advice on this technique!


Nearly everything I design in SU is for 3d printing.
One of the best tools to make an object watertight is Prusa slicer/Super slicer, right click and fix through Netfabb. This will, 99% of the time fix any errors.
If an object is not a solid in SU don’t fuss about with it, as normally the slicer will fix it.
Not the best practice but it works.

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I’ve never had any problem making manifold components in SketchUp. My general practice is to do so even if I’m not planning to 3D print the model. Solid components/groups are cleaner and most often easier to work with than non-manifold ones. While the slicer might be able to fix issues with the mesh I prefer to make sure the slicer doesn’t need to do that in the first place. I posted an image in another thread yesterday that includes some small M6x1.0 flat head screws. They were modeled without any problem in SketchUp and they work just fine.

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DaveR, I know I should make it perfect in SU but sometimes the model gets a bit complicated and errors crop up. Just to prove how good Netfabb is.
I design human figures in MakeHuman, pose them in Blender and export as STL to Superslicer. I can get thousands and thousands of errors, give it a clean-up and hey presto it will be a printable STL figure.


After fix

I wasn’t telling you how you should model, especially in other applications. I was only stating how I model in SketchUp. My post was directed mainly to the OP who is evidently not modeling human figures.

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I 100% agree DaveR,
I just used it as an extreme example and not to worry too much if it is not solid when you export the STL from SU. As a newbie my drawings are getting better and one day I might get an error free one.


Automatic solid repair programs sometimes have to guess how to repair things and their solution may not always be what you want!! Maybe not a big problem with human figures but could be very problematic when you want to print things that have to be precise and/or have to fit together…
You can see this when you use Solid Inspector2. Some problems can be solved automatically because there is only 1 solution. In case there are more possible solutions SI2 will not repair it and leaves the discission to you!!

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That figure was just an example. I do model in 1/76 scale and print rivets down to .2 mm. Precision is key to my models.
What I was trying to get across was, even if SU says it is not a solid it is not guaranteed to fail.
100% agree to model with no errors but if you find it is not solid, bung it in the slicer and repair it. If it fails, go back to SU and find where you went wrong.