SketchUp is a software for 3D modeling, animation and georeferencing with a focus on architectural applications. The software is designed around simple tools for creating and modifying shapes by sketching transformable shapes. It also provides access to a very large community-contributed warehouse or library of 3D models. It was purchased in 2012 by the company Trimble.
In order to use SketchUp for 3D printing, first download and install the STL extension to be able to export .STL files.
There are many excellent online resources for learning SketchUp. Following are a few key resources:
- Official SketchUp video tutorials
- A guide explaining watertightness and things to watch out for when using SketchUp for 3D printing
Facilitation plan for introducing SketchUp
- Interface (menu, tools, workplane)
- Changing the viewpoint (orbit, pan, zoom)
- Sketching lines (pencil, shape, arc), snap and alignment to the three axes (red, blue, green)
- Sequence for creating specific measurements (e.g., rectangle measuring 5 x 10 cm)
- Push/pull tool
- Deleting faces (e.g., from a rectangle) and re-creating the face with the pencil tool
- Offset tool for making windows
- Move and rotate tools (holding the shift-key to lock transformation to an axis)
- Measure tool and creating guides for sketching
- Make sure to draw attention to the need for models to be watertight (demonstrate what this is and how to fix it)