No all 3D models are 3D printable. Preparing a model for 3D printing can be a little tricky. Following guidelines will help you to design a proper model for 3D printing. 

Overhangs and Supports:

3D models are 3 dimension objects. Some parts may be in the air so called overhangs. It is required to have supports (extra material from the ground) during 3D printing. With supports, it takes longer time to print and will waste filament s. It is a good idea to design for support-less models. Following  shows cases of overhangs which should be considered during design phase.

Y – gentle overhangs: the change is gradual. A 45-degree overhang is safe


H – bridging:

  1. something supporting it on either side,
  2. may be able to bridge the gap,
  3. must be caution too complex or contains parts that will print in mid-air,
  4. it may not succeed
  5. slicing software usually generates supports under the horizontal bar


T – orientation: surely run into problems without supports


Wall thickness:

3D prints must be a part of a three-dimensional shape with a thickness.  There is a minimum size for what a 3D printer can print. Thickness is closely related to  printer you uses. Generial, it is not success if thickness is too lower.

Left side does not have thinkness even it is a 3D dimension but not 3D printable.



A printable model is solid/manifold model. It must not feature any holes in its surface(Water tight). In SketchUp Make, you can see that if group the entities. Non-solid models are models with missing or having extra surfaces/edge, and having internal overlapping.

solid model, it is 3D printable.


Non-solid models, need to fix!



We just pointed out common issues you should take care when design a 3D printable model. More reading can lead you more familiarity to this matter. Followings are recommended for reading.

  1. The book for beginner - 3D Printing with SketchUp 
  2. The book for advanced Technique - Google SketchUp Cookbook
  3. Tutorials in i.materialise website
  4. 9 Important 3D Printing Concepts Everyone Should Know
  5. Working with STL files in SketchUp for 3D printing