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Sketchup V AutoCAD 3D

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I’m relatively new to the amazing world of 3D printing and having used this forum for some very real printer issues (now happily resolved) and found this forum very helpful I thought I throw out for some guidance. Im now getting very familiar with the Ultimaker but I wanted to use this forum of experts for some specific guidance to help me get even more from my Ultimaker.

Im an AutoCAD (construction design) veteran and have developed all 3D models to date within the CAD suite. I’m also well versed in Sketchup but we’re on the verge (as a business) of migrating to REVIT. We need this for its BIM properties but I was wondering if this community had any suggestions on THE best 3D printer modelling suite?

Also what would people recommend for protecting the printer bed? Im using masking tape but leaves a moulding effect on all models base and this seems like a very good place to start with ‘improving the quality of my models’ goal.

Many thanks



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The best tool depends on the job and what you are used to. But SketchUp isn't the best tool for 3D printing, it's one of the worse actually, as it has a tendency to add internal faces and holes around the model.

I'm playing around a bit in SpaceClaim, which I really like. And most likely cheaper then AutoCAD :p (still expensive tough)


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Hi Jimmy D

I'm an in-house architectural model maker and I use various programmes to achieve the end result in MY work line. I have used MicroStation for years and I am most comfortable with that but here at work drawings are produced in AutoCAD ( could never get on with it!) so I use both programmes to resolve issues switching and saving between the two then using Rhino to refine and save as .stl for printing.

The architects are starting to use Revit here too and we did try to export directly as a .stl but we had issues with what was required for printing and what Revit produced, so I had to redraw it in Rhino. Admittedly we've only tried this once and I'm sure there is a resolve but because of time we can't expect every architect to be trained in the ways of drawing for 3D printing so for the moment it's easier and quicker for them to send their stuff as .dwg to me and I work the magic with AutoCAD, MicroStation, Rhino and Cura to produce the parts I need for my models.

As Daid says it's what works for you and what achieves the best results for you.



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Some people love openSCAD. lol! Mouseaholics hate it of course as there is no mouse needed. Once you've used openSCAD you realize that everything has advantages and disadvantages. The two that seem to come up the most as far as I can tell as very good CAD packages are Solidworks and Blender. For two totally different uses. I haven't used either. If you are designing sculpted animals you probably want Blender. If you are designing mechanical parts, probably Solidworks. If you are an architect you should watch this Blender video:

This video is amazing. All in blender and then 3d printed architecture:


More from viralta:




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No, no no!

I do not totally agree!


Being a big fan of Blender, knowing that we can work in meters, centimeters or millimeters, we can very well do mechanics.


The proof in picture?



I must confessed that initially the interface is more than confusing. For me, is just as SolidWorks. Since I can not install SolidWorks on Win7, it does not start, I have only Catia. I did not find anything slicer correctly Catia. This is not a serious problem, I have Blender.


In any friendships.



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I'm using only Sketchup for 3d printing for a year now.All the inside faces and holes issues I'm avoiding by a http://www.susolid.com plugin.Also the common issue of reversed faces is covered now with this plugin.Sometimes I have to import other models in Sketchup to fix the issues to be checked and corrected for 3d printing.


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