Sketchup: Free 3D Modeling Software
SketchUp is an interactive 3D modelling software originally introduced in 2000 by the startup company @Last Software and later acquired and largely popularized by Google in 2006. Currently own by Trimble Navigation it is available in both the freeware version, SketchUp Make for personal use, and the paid version including additional features, SketchUp Pro. Since the beginning its development has been strongly focused on its ease of use and fast learning curve.
Sculpteo logo 3D model made with Sketchup
Meant to be an accessible 3D modelling software for a wide range of applications such as mechanical engineering, architecture, interior design and many more, SketchUp has been a popular option for newcomers to 3D modeling. It offers a graphic interactive interface with most of it tools always visible by default on the several toolbars and menus.
It also supports extensions that allow faster modelling or additional features for specific application fields with almost 400 available at the SketchUp Extension Warehouse including advanced texture editors, design optimizers for 3D printing, the possibility to export STL files or even directly upload your design to Sculpteo.
SketchUp's native file format is SKP although it is possible to handle, import and export multiple 2D and 3D file formats in the Pro version. As its name implies, this version also offers a series of advanced tools oriented for the professional user, including construction drawings, creation of animated videos and solid modeling tools (boolean operations like intersection, subtraction, etc) among others.
At Sculpteo you can 3D print your SketchUp designs directly by saving them as a SketchUp version 8 file or exporting them as a Collada DAE file.
If you want to start modeling with SketchUp now or you just want to learn all the tricks to use SketchUp for 3D printing you can check our SketchUp tutorial. Using SketchUp it can be a bit tricky sometimes to output a printable file, so you may want to download our Fix Your Files for 3D Printing eBook too.