Importing STL files into SketchUp

Coffee place for all the Uppers. Discuss about UP techniques, sharing ideas and tips. Coffee is on the house. :)
Post Reply
User avatar
Lawrence
Posts: 268
Joined: Wed May 16, 2012 12:24 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Importing STL files into SketchUp

Post by Lawrence » Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:59 am

Hi Uppers
This is a handy tip for anyone who uses Google SketchUp.
I have tried a great little Plugin for Sketchup that imports an STL into SketchUp as an editable model.
You can download the plugin from here:
https://sites.google.com/site/jimfoltz/ ... ects=0&d=1
See below:
Screenshot1.png
Screenshot1.png (130.41 KiB) Viewed 24833 times
Once downloaded you will need to save it in the Plugin folder within Google Sketchup application, like below:
Screenshot2.png
Screenshot2.png (60.56 KiB) Viewed 24833 times
When you start SketchUp, go to Files, Import, and select STL IMPORTER (*.stl) by Jim Folz
Screenshot3.png
Screenshot3.png (41.22 KiB) Viewed 24833 times
You should now have loaded a fully editable model into the workspace.

Another tip:
I have tried a "Save as STL file" pluigin in Sketchup, but it was not very successful.
So, After you save you Sketchup file (which is not recognised by Up! software), simply open your Sketchup file into Autodesk 123D, then save as an STL file that can be opened in Up! software.
Regards
Lawrence

DytHlt
Posts: 63
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:30 pm

Re: Importing STL files into SketchUp

Post by DytHlt » Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:20 am

http://www.sketchup.com/intl/en/downloa ... ml#cadspan
This is what I use, it will import and export .STL files, as well as a couple other useful features for making manifold objects.
The one minor thing is when importing models, it assumes the model was created on the inch scale, so once you import a model, it will be too large. But this is easily fixed by highlighting the entire model and right click and select "make group." Then select the group, click the scale tool, then click on one of the corners of the group. Now just type .03937008 and hit enter. This will scale it back to mm size.
CADspan
Last updated: April 2010
The power of CADspan is the geometry resurfacer - a new approach to file preparation for 3D printing. Rather than assume that the input data has been created with a solid modeling program and the file might need repair, repositioning, slicing or scaling, CADspan simply takes the approach that what you see on your screen looks like a model that should be printable. The CADspan engine uses your geometry to perform a virtual 'shrink-wrap' and outputs an entirely new STL file that describes the exterior of your CAD file. This new STL file is a single, solid object, ready to 3D print. The plugin also provides several tools to ease the process of preparing a model for 3D printing:
-Resurfacer: Shrink wrap a model into one continuous, solid mesh
-STL Import/Export
-3D Print Visualization Style: A visual style that highlights problem areas in a model
-Layerize tool: Easily move all geometry within components and groups to a layer
-Smooth/Unsmooth: Toggle smoothing on a model's rounded geometry
-Free Version for personal use and small applications

User avatar
Lawrence
Posts: 268
Joined: Wed May 16, 2012 12:24 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Importing STL files into SketchUp

Post by Lawrence » Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:31 am

Hi
I understand what you mean about size problems. Using me method, the model loads into Up smaller than was designed, so needs to be resized back up to its original size. A bit of fiddling about, but works fine.
Regards
Lawrence

mr6k
Posts: 327
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:47 am

Re: Importing STL files into SketchUp

Post by mr6k » Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:15 am

hi lawrence,
i found the stl import plugin ok, but, there were many stl files that i a have printed from thinginverse that the plugin would not convert to use in sketchup

it is fine with files i have generated in sketchup, and some from thinginverse, which i guess, may also have been created in thinginverse, however other stls , when trying to import, do nothing, or sketchup asks for a selection of part to be made, when no selection is available

or am i doing something wrong?

cheers and a pending Happy New Year to all

peter

User avatar
Lawrence
Posts: 268
Joined: Wed May 16, 2012 12:24 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Importing STL files into SketchUp

Post by Lawrence » Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:57 am

Hi Peter
Re:
mr6k wrote:i found the stl import plugin ok, but, there were many stl files that i a have printed from thinginverse that the plugin would not convert to use in sketchup
I expected that there will likely be STLs that the Plugin won't open, but, if it opens some then we have one of a useful set of tools at our disposal.
The tool offered by DytHlt is another option.
Hopefully this is only the start of a dialogue that gives us a variety of tools that will make our 3D modelling tasks more efficient.
The big advantage for those STL files that will load is that unlike the standard STL file import within Sketchup that imports the model as a solid object, the Jim Foltz version imports STL models as polygons that can be altered, added to or deleted.
I am looking forward to far more learned 3D modellers to offer other plugins and other useful tips that make our 3D modelling easier and better.
Regards
Lawrence

DytHlt
Posts: 63
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:30 pm

Re: Importing STL files into SketchUp

Post by DytHlt » Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:03 pm

I honestly have never had a problem importing or exporting STLs using the Openscad plugin.
When importing, it will import on the inches scale, so if the model was built on the MM scale it is too large, but just follow the steps I mentioned earlier and your good to go. When exporting, it uses whatever scale you have selected in Sketchup, so no need to scale up or down inside the UP program if you use MM in scketchup (which you should be, :P).

As far as importing as polygons rather than a solid object, I think your problem is grouping. if you click on the solid object so it is selected, then right click on it and choose "explode" you will find that you can now modify the object. Or if you don't want to explode it, and keep it a solid object, right click on it and choose "edit group" (or just double click on it) and you can now modify the model within that group, simply click on an open area of the window to close the group. I'll take a couple pics of what I mean and show you.

Currently, this model is a group.
Image

I selected it and clicked explode, now this model is no longer a group, and can be edited freely. If you choose "edit group" you can do exactly that, edit the stuff inside the group while still keeping it as a group. As you get used to using groups, you'll see why this is useful.
Image

To scale the model, I first make it a group, then click on the scale tool, and then click on one of the corners.
Image

This model was downloaded from Thingiverse (drew's) as an .STL and imported using openscad. It is made up of several different groups, and can not be edited in this format. So I select all, and then right click and explode.
Image

Now the model can easily be modified.
Image


Using groups, this was MUCH easier to create, because I could make a piece, then turn it into a group, and start the next piece using the first as a template, but still keeping all pieces separate.
Image

User avatar
Lawrence
Posts: 268
Joined: Wed May 16, 2012 12:24 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Importing STL files into SketchUp

Post by Lawrence » Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:01 am

Hi DytHlt
Thank you.
I was not aware of the explode function. That will make things even easier.
I am sure there are many out there like me who struggle with 3D modelling who will find this very helpful.
Regards
Lawrence

DytHlt
Posts: 63
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:30 pm

Re: Importing STL files into SketchUp

Post by DytHlt » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:05 am

Your welcome, experiment with groups, once you get the hang of it, you'll be using all the time. :)
Also, a good thing to note, you can copy/paste groups as well. I use that feature a lot too.

Marcus
Posts: 526
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:58 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Importing STL files into SketchUp

Post by Marcus » Mon Dec 31, 2012 10:21 am

I use groups and Components a lot.
Be aware that scaling groups negatively will result in inverted faces when exporting to STL.
For example if you model a head, and copy the ear to the other side, scaling/flipping it on one axis.
This can be resolved by breaking apart and regrouping them.
This process can be automatized; http://sketchucation.com/forums/viewtop ... 23&t=44312

pp3dp.nl
Posts: 252
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:18 pm
Location: Holland/The Netherlands

Re: Importing STL files into SketchUp

Post by pp3dp.nl » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:28 pm

I had the mm and inch problem in SketchUp too but found something that works for me. When importing an STL I always click on options, mm, OK and then it works.

Perez Turner
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:28 am

Re: Importing STL files into SketchUp

Post by Perez Turner » Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:47 am

What type of software is best for SketchUp? I am newbie and searching best and easily boot able software to SketchUp plans.

Post Reply