Basic 3D Design

(with SketchUp)

by Matt Thomas

Build.STL - Jan. 2017

Basic types of 3D design

  • Wireframe
  • Surface
  • Solid

Most modern design applications have variations on all three types and are often expressed as display options.


All modeling software center around the cartesian coordinates system often notated as X, Y and Z.
Sometimes these same axes are represented with the colors red, green and blue.

The coordinate system can be represented using your hand to orient your mind to the appropriate axis.
I personally use my left hand with the middle finger representing X, index finger representing Y and thumb representing Z.

SketchUp 2017



  • 3D printer support requires extension
  • Surfaced based modeling
  • Solid modeling - Pro version only ($675)

Drawing Demo

Small Case for Adafruit HUZZAH ESP8266 IoT Sensor

Recommended Extensions

  • SketchUp STL - Import/export STL files for 3D printing
  • Solid Inspector 2 - Expose issues in your surface model
  • Popular Alternatives

    Autodesk Fusion 360
    Long ancestory of design products in AutoCAD
    Free Startup License

    Unlimited storage for public projects
    Created by the same people that created Solidworks
    Real-time collaboration, version control built-in





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