College of Arts & Letters

AL Student Lab Documentation


Creating a print ready 3D model in Sketchup

Sketchup is an easy to use 3D modeling program featuring intuitive controls and a handy warehouse of 3D object to import from.
This page describes the process of exporting the model to make it ready for 3D printing. It assumes you built the model following the best practices described in the 3D Build documentation.

Features of Sketchup models

Sketchup models can be colorized using the solid color selections and textures from the materials panel. Edge lines and non 3d text will not print out since they do not have any depth.

Export to 3DS format

Be sure your sketchup file name does not have any spaces in it or any symbol that would cause a problem with DOS filenames such as slashes or periods.

  1. Select Export → 3D Model from the File menu
  2. Choose 3DS File (.3ds) from the Format Menu
  3. Click the OPTIONS button and verify the following settings
    1. Export - Should be Full Hierarchy if you want to export the entire model. (You could use this to limit objects to send to the 3D Printer)
    2. Export only current selection - Unchecked
    3. Export two-sided faces - Unchecked
    4. Export Standalone edges - Unchecked
    5. Export Texture Maps - Should be checked if you use any color in your model.
    6. Use “Color by layer” materials - Unchecked
    7. Generate Cameras from pages - Unchecked
    8. Units - Model Units
  4. Click OK when your options are set
  5. Click EXPORT to save your model. If any textures are used in the model they will also be exported in the same directory as the *.3DS file.