How to Import and Edit STL Files in Sketchup

Featured Image_How to Import and Edit STL Files

STL files are a common file type that contains information about 3D geometries. In this tutorial, we’ll go over how to import and edit STL files in Sketchup!

Before you get started, you’ll want to download these plugins:

CleanUp3

Eneroth Face Creator

Import STL Files

Pick a File to Download. If you already have an STL file you want to use, that’s great! If you’re looking for some inspiration, or just want a file to practice with, check out Thingverse. Click on the “explore” tab and select “things.” From here, you can use the dropdown in the top left corner to explore “popular” or “newest” models. Once you find a model you like, select it and click on “thing files” under the image. Select which file you want to download and save it to your computer.

File > Import. Before you can edit an STL file, you need to import it into Sketchup. Open Sketchup. Navigate to “file” and select “import.” In the bottom right drop down menu select “STL.” Click on the file you want to use and select “import.”

import model to edit STL files

Edit STL Files

CleanUp. You’ll notice after you import your file that there may be a lot of unnecessary geometry. You could use the eraser tool to get rid of each line, but there is a plugin you can install to make this much easier! You can find the CleanUp3 plugin here. Once you have that installed, hit “ctrl” + “A” and click on the model to select all. Go to the extensions dropdown and select “CleanUp3” > “clean.”

cleanup and edit STL files

A new window will pop up with a few settings to select. Make sure the scope section is set to “selected.” Uncheck “purge unused” in the “optimizations” section. In the “materials” section, select “ignore attributes.” In the “coplanar faces” section, select “merge coplanar faces” and “ignore UV.” Finally, in the “edges” section make sure “repair split edges” and “erase stray edges” are checked. When you are done, click the “cleanup” button at the bottom.

Extensions > Eneroth Face Creator. You may notice some faces are missing after you imported the model. You can use this plugin to easily fix that! Select all of the incomplete faces and click on “Eneroth Face Creator” from the “extensions” dropdown. After running the plugin you’ll notice that there are faces where all of the openings were! You could draw lines to close off all of the faces, but this is a much faster method! Just select the faces a little bit at a time until you have the entire model filled in.

select open faces to edit STL files
edit STL files to close faces

Scale Faces. After you import a model, you may want to edit STL files to be a bit more customized. For example, we can shrink or enlarge some of the openings in this model to give it more variety. Select all of the interior faces of one of the openings. Hit “S” to open the scale tool. Drag the corner to make the opening larger or smaller. You can use the same method to change the rest of the openings or just keep one of them different!

scale and edit STL files

Now that you know the simple steps to edit STL files, you can import new models and customize each one for your unique projects. What other Sketchup tips do you want to learn? Let us know in the comments!

Happy Hacking!

26 Comments

  1. hamzakhan17826 May 19, 2019 at 7:16 am #

    Ok sure, I will follow your steps before going to do exams. I hope your article will help me more.

  2. karlmistos May 14, 2019 at 10:41 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this. I’ll definitely share this with my classmates at de la salle zobel.

  3. classboat01 October 17, 2018 at 7:37 am #

    Hello there and thanks for your information, I have certainly picked up allot new info from right your post. You are also provided information about best tips for exam,Which is very helpful to me and other people also.

  4. mikemoreno September 5, 2018 at 3:48 am #

    thank you very much, verry helpfull…

  5. jogesh12345 August 14, 2018 at 1:55 am #

    Very effective and informative article.Thanks for sharing such an important tutorial.

  6. FLMIMA August 11, 2018 at 9:20 pm #

    Really helpful website

  7. Rumi July 15, 2018 at 7:16 am #

    I feel very grateful that I read this. It is very helpful and very informative and I really learned a lot from it.

  8. RJennings April 28, 2018 at 6:12 pm #

    Thank you for this website. The practice questions are helpful.

  9. Scott March 22, 2018 at 1:50 pm #

    Taking this test on Saturday. Last 4.0 exam to complete for the trio, then on to 5.0. This site is my go-to place when organizing what materials I’ll be studying

  10. shozab January 30, 2018 at 2:22 pm #

    Hi , very good article.

    thanks for sharing, keep up the good work

  11. dyba January 27, 2018 at 1:08 am #

    Good advice. Best of luck to all!

  12. KendraShirley January 16, 2018 at 4:04 pm #

    This is my favorite site for practicing for my tests! Great advise and super helpful.

  13. reximagetrim January 16, 2018 at 10:37 am #

    Nice post to read. A complete guide that can help all of us.

  14. tylerstockholm December 17, 2017 at 9:37 pm #

    Nice one… very helpful! Thanks!!!

  15. Aartiwalvekar November 21, 2017 at 8:56 am #

    Nice post

  16. Aartiwalvekar October 9, 2017 at 9:45 pm #

    Great post!

  17. Tony August 30, 2017 at 7:07 am #

    In the NCARB ARE 5.0 handbook they reference Fundamentals of Building Construction: Materials and Methods in both of their example questions for cost estimating. Unfortunately there isn’t a specific chapter on cost estimating, it’s woven throughout the content.

  18. Spencer August 30, 2017 at 1:15 am #

    What is the best reference for cost estimating for PDD.

  19. Amy July 26, 2017 at 3:24 pm #

    Thanks! Great advice

  20. Tony June 29, 2017 at 7:23 am #

    Deciduous trees should only be used for shade (especially in temperate climates). Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the fall and will have little protection against wind in the winter when it is most needed. Likewise, the leafless trees allow solar heat gain in the winter when it is desired, and shade in the summer.

    Coniferous trees are only to be used to block wind and views. Since they don’t lose their needles, they work great for these two items year-round.

  21. Shahid Logan June 28, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

    Hello. My name is Shahid. This comment is for anyone who would like to reply. On the Siteplanning test. To block the wind, can you use a Deciduous tree or must you use a Coniferous tree?

  22. Mike January 4, 2017 at 11:04 am #

    Hi Tony,

    I need to take 5.0 PPD & PDD. Do you plan on posting notes such as “Caroline’s Notes” that you had posted for the various 4.0 exams for either of those sections? I found those notes to be some of the best resources in studying for the 4.0 sections. If so any idea when? Thanks

  23. Stephen October 17, 2016 at 9:30 pm #

    Hi Tony,
    Any updates on the SS exam ? If there’s an expected release date ? Thanks

  24. DesignerHacks October 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

    Paige,

    We are releasing practice exams for the SS exam later this fall.

    Best,
    Tony

  25. Paige October 4, 2016 at 11:34 am #

    Will you have SS questions on here at some point?

  26. Daniel September 9, 2016 at 8:47 am #

    Great post, very helpful with the lists of suggested materials, I just passed CDs in July and am taking PPP in November so I definitely needed the list.

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