Troubles with Sketchup for 3D printer




I just downloaded Sketchup Make last Sunday, because I have finally come up with a serious need for 3D printing. I saw opinions that although the design interface was exceptionally intuitive, the program was iffy for exporting STL files. I do love the design interface, but I’ve encountered two problems on my first effort.

1, The person who is making my first 3D print said a higher density would be better. I assume that means the same thing as mesh, and I see no way at all to set the mesh for an STL file in Sketchup.

  1. My project is just a flat rectangular panel with rectangular and circular holes. So I position a circle or rectangle on the top face, and use Push/Pull to bore the hole. But sometimes the hole just goes to the back surface, and sometimes it pushes right on through, resulting in a cylinder extending out the back side of the panel… I’ve found no way to avoid that problem.

Any answers to these questions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for taking an interest,

John Doner


To make pushpull stop at the opposite face you need to find something visible on that face (an edge or the face itself) and click when the inference engine shows a snap on that something. Otherwise pushpull has no way to know that you didn’t intend to extrude the cylinder beyond the far face.

The converse can also occur: if there is adjoining geometry shy of where you wanted to go, pushpull may tell you that “offset is limited” to that distance. You can usually do a second pushpull on the final face to continue. You can also override this by clicking ctrl (alt/option on mac) before starting the extrusion. That will create a new face at the start of the extrusion and may leave some extra geometry that you need to erase afterward, but it will continue past the adjacent stuff.


Here is some irony, I only have a few months in SU and I don’t know what “mesh” is however when someone says “density” in relation to a 3D print my first thought is “Fill” and wall thickness which are parameters from your slicing software and nothing to do with Drawing it.

I use Cura as a slicer so other software may have other terms but here is what the parameters I think you are talking about look like in Cura.

If you set fill to 100% you will create a batman shape that is a solid piece of plastic. If you set fill to 0 you will create the Easter equivalent of a hollow chocolate bunny but a its a hollow plastic batman! :wink:

Shell thickness is just that. Assuming you are going Easter batman style then shell is how thick the batman walls are.
Shell thickness should always be a multiple of your nozzle diameter. I have a .5 nozzle so a 2mm shell is four passes of the print head. I almost always do 1mm shells though.

So, full circle, when someone says to me “high density” I would set fill between 20 to 35%. I rarely go over 30 and one time I went 50 and I will never do it again.

BTW, no other parameter will affect your print time as much as fill rate. On that note, since first prints often uncover an error of some kind keep your layer height high and your fill rate low for fast prints. Think of “draft” mode on old printers. After a draft or two then go for the quality (assuming you need it)

Hope this helps.


Thanks, folks, I now have a range of things to try that I didn’t know before. Climbing both the Sketchup and 3d printing learning curve at once is a real chore.


Oh, you have not even gotten TO the curve yet! LOL! But we are here for ya! :wink: