I have a file I want to print, but the problem is that the dimensions that came with the model are just too big to print. I used the Tape Measure Tool on SketchUp, and it came in at a whooping 5.56 meters. Is there a way to split the big model into smaller, printable sized models that can be reassembled after printing?

Thanks Again


SketchUp is likely to not work well for you if your objective is to create a printable STL file in pieces. You would want to determine initially that the un-segmented model is manifold and 3d printer ready. Once that is determined, consider using an alternate program for your chop-up actions.

You do not specify the size of the printer you intend to use, but that is obviously a factor in the segmentation of the model.

I have some experience with Meshmixer, which has an edit feature named "plane cut" which will do as you require. The plane is placed on the model and the options are selected to keep both pieces after the slice is performed.

For a huge model of the type you describe, one would hope you have access to a printer with a one meter print bed or larger, although such printers are rare and of course, expensive.

My printer has a 200 x 300 mm build plate, up to 200 mm high, which would entail substantial segmenting.

If your model is mostly a shell, your segments would have to have wall thickness. It would be best accomplished, again in Meshmixer, by using the hollow or shell features. Those are a bit more challenging to understand, but there are plenty of videos and tutorials specific to creating hollow shells from a solid model. Once the shell is created, segments would be managed easily enough.

I suggested that your segments would "have to have" wall thickness, but it isn't a requirement. Solid segments would be like bricks and you may have a large number of rectangular solids that compose your model. Lego models are difficult or impossible to create with only an outer shell, so the interiors are often solid bricks, but 3d printers are a bit more flexible. Not using solid interiors would save money, of course.

I envision a jigsaw puzzle in three dimensions. Taking a nearly six meter dimension and chopping it into 20 slices multiplied by width and height means a carton of 3d puzzle pieces.

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  • $\begingroup$ I am planning to use a 200mmx200mmx200mm printer. It is a shell. I will meshmixer, havent heard of it but heres to trying! Thanks for your answer $\endgroup$ – GipsyD Sep 12 '16 at 13:04
  • $\begingroup$ Another caution. If your SketchUp model is currently a shell with wall thickness, use the Meshmixer Analysis/Inspector button to check for faults prior to chopping it up. If you start with a model with failure points, you will likely have them when you have the individual pieces. Also, a feature within Meshmixer is that when you've sliced the model, each individual slice gets a unique name identifier, which you can rename for convenient identification later. Use File, preferences, File, Export to set $\endgroup$ – fred_dot_u Sep 12 '16 at 13:33
  • $\begingroup$ Dude. You are just amazing. Meshmixer is exactly what I am looking for. Thank you so much! $\endgroup$ – GipsyD Sep 12 '16 at 13:38
  • $\begingroup$ Use File, Preferences, File, Export, to set the export feature to "Selection only" to ensure that each export is one part rather than the entire collection. If you view this video: youtube.com/watch?v=l4RCLuUwETU you'll find that Angus of Maker's Muse has a great understanding of the program, and directly addresses your need at the 3:40 point. It might be useful to watch the entire thing if time permits, as he offers many tips. He speaks quickly, but the pause button is handy for that! The Object Browser should appear. If not, it's in the View menu. Please post your results. $\endgroup$ – fred_dot_u Sep 12 '16 at 13:43
  • $\begingroup$ How do you measure the distance between two points in Meshmixer? $\endgroup$ – GipsyD Sep 13 '16 at 9:27

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