Category Archives: 3D Printers

Sketchup Tutorial LESSON 3: Printing Sketchup Designs on a 3D Printer

In this video lesson we describe how to print designs from Sketchup on a 3D printer.  Key thing is you need to go to the sketchup Extension Warehouse, under the window tab in scketchup. Then you need to search for and install the .STL Export extension. With this extension, you can export your design file as an .stl file. Then you can load the .stl file into your slicer software to generate the gcode for the printer. I found that it is very straightforward to go from sketchup to the 3D printer.

Sketchup Tutorial LESSON 2: Simple Introduction to Sketchup 3D Objects

In this video we continue our instruction on how to design in Sketchup 3D CAD Software. In this lesson, we take our first look at creating 3D objects in Sketchup. We do this by looking at a variety of ways to create a simple 3D cube. The key concept in using CAD software is to be deliberate and careful to mindfully set the position and dimension of an object when it is created.

This series of lessons is centered around simple 3D design for the intention of printing on a 3D printer. Our printer of choice is the Raise3D N2 printer, which can be purchased HERE.

Sketchup Tutorial LESSON 1: Simple Introduction to Sketchup for Begineers

Those of us who come from an electronics background often find 3D CAD software confusing beyond description. All of our intuition when it comes to drawing or sketching does not seem to work in CAD programs. I think there are several reasons for that. First, as electronic folks, I think we fundamentally think in two dimensions. Hence our intuition in drawing or sketching is probably based on simple programs like powerpoint or draw. To learn how to properly use a 3D design package like sketchup we need to start by forgetting everything we think we know about drawing and to start with a clean slate.

The video above will step you through how to learn some of the simple basics of sketchup. The thing to  realize is that with a CAD program like sketchup, you must be very mindful of your design pallet.  In a program like powerpoint, it more or less guesses whether you are trying to draw, move or resize.  In CAD software, you must explicitly tell it what you want to do by clicking on a tool in the pallet. Hence things that you are accustomed to doing in one step now take two steps. Once you realize this, life gets a lot easier.  The second key thing to realize is that in a sketching program you typically just eyeball in position and dimension, and create objects by more or less eyeball and freehand. In CAD software you must develop the habit and discipline of deliberately setting location and dimension when you create an object. It is very easy to place and size things when you create them, but sometimes much harder to do this later.

Hence the key to using CAD software is to be mindful of using the tool pallet, and to be mindful of carefully setting position and dimension when an object is created.

I am going through these lessons on CAD to try and help you learn how to design things for 3D printers. Far too many owners of 3D printers just download design files from the WEB and never develop any design skill themselves. In this series I hope you learn to both design and make your designs on a 3D printer.

My first try at 3D printing was a nightmare. I got the Makerbot Replicator II and it was a disaster. It never worked properly and really broke my heart. More recently I have been working with Raide3D printers and have been very impressed. If you are interested in a 3D printer, I really recommend Raise 35. You can order there entry level one here:

Or their top of the line one here:

Hope you will consider one of these printers, and hope you will follow along in this new series of tutorials on Sketchup and 3D printing.

Review of Raise3D N2 3D Printer

As most of you know I teach high school engineering classes. While our main focus is on electronics, circuits and microcontrollers, we also dabble in other engineering areas. A few years ago I wanted to expand more into the mechanical domain. We ended up getting burned really bad by purchasing a Makerbot Replicator 3D printer. Bases on how bad that went, I have been very cautious about dipping my toe back into the 3D printer arena. Being a sucker for bleeding edge technology, I did bite the bullet and purchase another 3D printer last week. After a whole lot of research I got the Raise3D N2 plus printer. I have it up and running, and the bottom line is that I believe this printer is a real winner, and is ready for prime time. My full review is in the video below:

To incorporate new technology into the classroom, the technology must be mature enough that you can count on it to work. If you are teaching a class on mechanical design, and the printer is down for weeks on end, the class becomes restless, and you have a pretty big problem on your hands. That is what happened when we got the Makerbot. The good news is that the Raise3D printer appears to be rock solid, and reliable enough to use in the classroom. I will be posting more tutorials and howto’s on this printer in the future, but for now, I will say I am impressed with everything I have seen in this printer. If you are interested in a rock solid 3D printer, I recommend the Raise3D, available at the link HERE. This is for the top of the line model which I have. Yes, it is a little on the pricy side, but like I say in the video, there is nothing more expensive than a cheap 3D printer. In my mind the Raise3D is worth every cent.