Can I Make STL Files With SketchUp?

Can I Make STL Files With SketchUp?

SketchUp is a popular 3D modeling software used by professionals and beginners alike. It offers a user-friendly interface and powerful tools that allow you to create stunning 3D models. However, one question that often arises is whether SketchUp can be used to create STL files.

The Basics of STL Files

STL stands for StereoLithography, which is a file format commonly used in 3D printing. An STL file contains information about the geometry of a 3D object, such as its vertices, edges, and faces. It is widely supported by 3D printers and slicing software, making it an essential format for anyone involved in the world of 3D printing.

SketchUp’s Export Options

By default, SketchUp does not have an option to directly export models as STL files. However, there are several workarounds available that allow you to convert your SketchUp models into STL format.

Plugin: SketchUp to STL

The easiest way to export your SketchUp models as STL files is by using a plugin called “SketchUp to STL.” This plugin adds the necessary functionality to SketchUp and allows you to directly export your models in the desired format.

  • Step 1: Open SketchUp and go to the “Window” menu.
  • Step 2: Select “Extension Warehouse” from the dropdown menu.
  • Step 3: Search for “SketchUp to STL” in the Extension Warehouse.
  • Step 4: Click on the “Install” button next to the plugin.
  • Step 5: Once installed, you will find the “Export STL” option under the “File” menu.
  • Step 6: Select the desired options and click on “Export” to save your model as an STL file.

Alternative Methods

If you prefer not to use plugins, there are alternative methods available to convert SketchUp models into STL format. One common approach is to export your model as a different file format, such as OBJ or DAE, and then use external software to convert it to STL.

This method involves an additional step but can still be effective:

  1. Step 1: Export your SketchUp model as an OBJ or DAE file by going to the “File” menu and selecting the appropriate format.
  2. Step 2: Use a third-party software like MeshLab or Autodesk Meshmixer to import the exported file and export it in STL format.

Tips for Successful Conversion

When converting your SketchUp models into STL files, keep these tips in mind for a successful conversion:

  • Avoid Overlapping Geometry: Ensure that all faces in your model are properly connected and do not overlap. Overlapping geometry can result in errors during conversion.
  • Clean Up Your Model: Remove any unnecessary geometry or hidden elements that may interfere with the conversion process.
  • Avoid Complex Geometry: Simplify your model if it contains complex curves or intricate details. Such geometry can cause issues during conversion or printing.


While SketchUp does not have native support for exporting STL files, you can easily overcome this limitation by using plugins or alternative methods. Whether you choose to use the “SketchUp to STL” plugin or convert your models through external software, you can confidently create and export 3D models in STL format from SketchUp.

Remember to pay attention to the tips provided to ensure a smooth and successful conversion process. With the right approach, you can unleash the full potential of SketchUp for 3D printing and bring your designs to life.