So far all I’ve printed on my 3D printer is objects I’ve downloaded from the internet. The whole point of having a 3D printer is to make your own creations come to life. To do that you have to have some way to make a drawing and turn it into a file that the 3D printer can understand — or more precisely something that your slicer can parse.
For beginners I saw two different approaches that looked like they would be easy. The first was using an online service called Tinkercad, the second was to use Sketchup.
My goal was to create a 3D replica of the logo for Ben’s Workshop. After creating an account for Tinkercad and firing up the program in my browser, I just couldn’t see anyway to build my logo with the tools they had available. so I fired up Sketchup on the laptop and followed instructions on this website.
The Sketchup route wasn’t without it’s problems. I you aren’t careful when you are extruding shapes in Sketchup, you don’t create solids you create open shells. To fix this easily you need the paid version of Sketchup. There is a way to fix it in the free version, but I ended up just redoing the model the right way. Even then the final version still threw errors when I ran it through the slicer, but it printed fine anyway.
I really do think Sketchup is the most powerful and easiest way to create models. And taking the time to learn it will pay off in the end, especially if I can transfer my Sketchup skills to making woodworking plans. I’m going to have to do some more research.