Making replacement parts with SketchUp is so easy!

Making replacement parts with SketchUp is so easy!

I recently had the need to replace a broken knob on our dryer and instead of tracking down the original replacement part, I 3D printed the knob from a SketchUp model I made in a few minutes. Check out my blog post and see how I did it: https://alexschreyer.net/sketchup/dryer-fix-made-easy-3d-printing/...
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Making Everything 3D-Printable

Making Everything 3D-Printable

One of the hardest tasks with 3D printing with SketchUp is often making something that has not been modeled properly 3D printable. This means that whatever geometry you are given needs to be turned into a "watertight" or "manifold" solid. In SketchUp there are a bunch of extensions that help with this task (namely Solid Inspector and Solid Solver). But even they can't automatically fix a model like the one shown in the 3D viewer and images below. Fortunately for us, SketchUp and iMaterialize just announced a solution that is baked into 3D Warehouse. As you can see, this model is an intersection of three shapes (made without using SketchUp's Intersect tool), where I removed two faces and introduced a small triangular hole in one of the faces. I then uploaded this model to the 3D Warehouse the usual way (File > 3D Warehouse > Share Model...) and made sure the checkbox at the bottom was checked. After a few seconds, I was able to download an...
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Turn Yourself into a Vase with SketchUp! (Making Rotational Portrait Sculptures from Silhouettes for 3D Printing)

Turn Yourself into a Vase with SketchUp! (Making Rotational Portrait Sculptures from Silhouettes for 3D Printing)

You likely have seen the effect before: An image like the one above shows some shapes that look like vases. After a little while, however, you notice that the curved shapes that define the vases are actually faces - or more specific: the negative silhouette of the faces. As it turns out, this can easily be accomplished in SketchUp. Turning these shapes into real objects is also pretty simple these days as long as you have access to a 3D printer, a CNC lathe or can browse the web, where you can order 3D printed objects from any of the vendors that I list on this page. Follow these steps to turn yourself into a vase: 1. Take a good silhouette picture. Then import it into SketchUp. For this first step, we will be using a technique similar to the one that I employed for the tree cutout component in Chapter 5. 2. On the exploded picture, trace the outline of the silhouette....
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Unwrapping a double-curved shell

Unwrapping a double-curved shell

As you saw in example 4.6 in the book, unfolding a developable surface in SketchUp is very easy using the Unfold plugin. What do you do then, if you have a doubly-curved shape, such as the one shown above (from chapter 6)? Obviously, you can't just "flatten" it without distorting it (take the Mercator projection of world maps for an example of how unwrapping a sphere can lead to significant distortions). In this case, it might be a good strategy to unfold the surface in strips using the same technique described in example 4.6. This gives you the ability to cut the surface into separate parts that can then be assembled using gluing, welding etc. The image below illustrates how this looks after flattening. As you may have noticed, I also added some glue tabs using the Glue Tabs plugin (see chapter 4 for details). In order to make this work, you may need to turn on hidden geometry display (in...
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