I got a life size model of a signaling post (trains) where I scale it down to 1/87 model (in SketchUp). When I send the model to my 3D printer (with Cura 2.4) some parts of the model are lost in translation even when their dimensions exceed the printer minimal dimension of 0.7 mm.

Is this a known problem of Cura or is something else at hand?


You will indeed have difficulties with scaling a model to the point that individual components become smaller than the tolerances of your printer.

It is more likely a problem with your model, having been created in SketchUp. If you use an online model repair service, it will almost certainly return an indication that the model was flawed. Unfortunately, those repair services are not a good choice for repairing a SketchUp model, as the fail points are usually beyond the capability of the software.

Another option would be to load the model into MeshMixer and use Analysis/Inspector to reveal the flaws, but again, the automatic repair feature would likely destroy the model.

Even a program as simplistic as TinkerCAD will do a better job of creating a 3D printable model.

Consider to begin learning a different, perhaps more challenging program such as OpenSCAD or Solvespace, or even more challenging than those, Fusion 360. All of the above are free, while Fusion 360 has the requirement of non-commercial/hobbyist use to remain free.

  • $\begingroup$ If he's lucky, loading into MeshMixer, enlarging by 300%, selecting re-mesh option(s) might produce a better,if smoothed object. $\endgroup$ Jun 22 '17 at 14:26

I don't think Cura is really the problem.

I have heard a lot of comments that Sketchup often produces stl files that do no slice well (do to geometry errors). Scaling the model (especially by a huge factor like 1/87 is going to exacerbate that problem.

There are several things you can do to reduce the problem. Here is an article on how to 3D Printing with SketchUp Itt has some really good pointers. Remember that if you are scaling down, the minimums it mentioned will need to be much larger to account for the scaling.

You could also try using MeshMixer to fix and scale the stl file before importing it into Cura.

As @fred_dot_u indicated, the better option would be to move from Sketchup to a CAD program that works better with 3D printing. I use Fustion360 (and so does my 15yo son who learned it really quickly from YouTube videos.

If you decide to go that route, here is an article on how to Import your Sketchup Model into Fusion 360.


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