Sketchup tutorial: Prepare your model for 3D Printing with Sketchup

This tutorial was created for SketchUp 3D modeling software users and will focus on its use in 3D printing.

In this tutorial, we will provide a brief overview of modeling best practices. We will show you the main pitfalls to avoid and solutions you can use to resolve them. After reading the tutorial, you will be able to:

Then, you will be able to upload your 3D file on our website and 3D print it!


Developed by Trimble, SketchUp is 3D software for everyone. It is one of the most-widely used 3D-modeling software, used both in schools and in the workplace. It is surface modeling software with which you are able to manipulate faces and edges. One of the reasons for its success is that it has simple, intuitive modeling tools, with an easy-to-use user interface. This 3D design software can be used both by people wishing to use 3D printing, by interior designers, by design modelers, by architects and students for architecture design or by engineers for product design. 

You do not have to be an expert user of SketchUp to take this tutorial. Intended for beginners and professionals alike, independently from their skill level, this tutorial will simply give you a good foundation, to begin with, and create your 3D objects. It is, in fact, complicated to modify a poorly designed model in SketchUp. For this reason, we will give you some practices and quick tips for optimum 3D file creation to ensure successful 3D printing after designing your models in Sketchup. We will introduce you to the main design tools in Sketchup, how to deal with shapes in Sketchup, how to optimize file size in this 3D modeling program, and how to make the most of the essential Sketchup plugins to get the best user experience. You will become the next Sketchup modeling champion thanks to our essential training!

To learn about modeling with SketchUp, please refer to SketchUp’s learning center. In addition, you can consult Jean-Luc Clauss’ book, 3D Printing with SketchUp or his training video Modeling an Object for 3D Printing to start 3D printing with SketchUp on the right foot You will also find many Sketchup tutorials on Youtube.

This 3D modeling software tutorial was created based on the 2015 version of the software (Windows version). All of the operations described can also be performed on the Mac version of the software. Furthermore, you do not need Sketchup Pro, the professional and paid version of SketchUp software to create models for 3D printing. However, this version does provide you with additional tools (such as importing and exporting other documents) to optimize your modeling.

To download SketchUp, please refer to the developer’s website, you will install Sketchup in a few minutes: http://www.sketchup.com/fr/download/all.

For further information, you can also learn Sketchup with our online video tutorial. This video contains useful Sketchup tips. Getting started will be easy thanks to our introduction to the features of Sketchup, step by step. The design tools of this 3D modeling software won't have any secrets for you anymore thanks to these tips and tricks!