SketchUpdate | News & Updates

SketchUpdate | News & Updates

Prepping for Printing: From 3D Warehouse to 3D Printer

Don’t you just hate it when you download a sweet looking model from 3D Warehouse and your plans to print it out on your 3D printer are thwarted when you find that the model is not a solid? What do you do when you need to get an extruded PLA copy of the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah Hotel in Dubai, and you need it now?

Don’t panic! Fortunately, I needed a printable scaled version of the US Capitol Building, and recorded the process of transforming the unprintable into a manifold solid (manifold is a fancy term for a solid group)!


The original is a great looking model, no doubt, but it needs some serious attention before it can be 3D printed. Things like single surfaces (only solid shapes can be printed), nested components, and details far too small to print can be found throughout the model. We can get a great 3D print out of this model, but we need to roll-up our sleeves first.

While it may seem like a daunting task to get all of the geometry cleaned up and converted to a solid ready-to-print, group, the process can be broken down into a series of simple steps. The video below uses the magic of high speed to show you the entire process in just a few minutes!

The original Google Geo Model of the U.S. Capitol.

Ed. Note: In the video I reference two extremely helpful extensions; CleanUp3 and Solid Inspector2. Both are well worth checking out for anyone interested in 3D printing.

Aaron Dietzen

When not supporting the sales team as a sales engineer, Aaron spends his free time designing things in SketchUp. That's it. That's all he does... oh, and he likes backpacking, skiing, drawing, painting, sculpting, and spending time with his family!