Architectural model rendered in Google's SketchUp. Source: FHKE/Flickr.com
Architectural model rendered in Google's SketchUp. Source: FHKE/Flickr.com

SketchUp is one of the world’s most popular 3D modeling programs. In this simple tutorial, we’ll walk you through the process to turn your SketchUp designs into a 3D printed object on The Cube.

SketchUp 3D Modeling Software

We won’t be getting into how SketchUp works here. There are many helpful tutorials, paid and free, available at the SketchUp site. You can also find informative videos on YouTube and, of course, here at www.WhiteClouds.com.

To begin, we will walk through the steps necessary to export your SketchUp design as an STL file. This file type is the universal standard with 3D printers. SketchUp, however, does not currently support the export of these file types by itself. You’ll need to download and install an extension which we will walk you through right now.

The extension is a free download and has worked well for us here. It is created, approved and recommended by the SketchUp team. We have only had good experiences with it.

Follow these steps to download and install the extension:

1)      You will need a Google email account to access the download.

2)      Click the red link at the top right of this webpage marked either “Sign In” or “Download”. You must be signed in to download. After downloading, save the file to a practical location, like your desktop or a SketchUp folder you know the path to.

3)      Open SketchUp

4)      Click Window > Preferences > Extensions > Install Extension

5)      Browse to the .rbz file you downloaded. Select the file and click Open.

6)      A window will open asking if you’re sure you want to install this plugin. Click Yes.

7)      In the File menu, you should now see the link Export STL.

You can now easily Add the .stl file in Cubify Client and print your creation.

For more information on printing a project from The Cube's Client software, see our article titled "HOW TO: Use Cubify's Client Software".