Creating Kinect mount in SketchUp and preparing for 3D printing

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Step 1: Choose a 3D CAD software - SketchUp Sketchup logo.png

Use a 3D CAD software such as SketchUp or Autocad 360 to design a model of the Kinect mount. SketchUp software has a simple user interface and making 3D objects is also simple and straight-forward.

The basic shape tools required to create 3D models in SketchUp are illustrated in the picture below.

SketchUp tools.png

Step 2: Create the 3D model using the basic tools.

Complex structures can be made in multiple steps by using the basic tools. Follow the simple tutorial below on how to create an interesting 3D structure.

SketchUp quick tutorial.png

Now, let's add an interesting shape to the model by using a combination of shapes and push/push tools. SketchUp quick tutorial -1.png

You may want to visit for detailed tutorials on how to make 3D models in SketchUp. After exploiting the power of combining the functions of the basic tools, our design in SketchUp looks like the following (in mm scale).

Kinect mount SketchUp.png

Step 3: Prepare the STL file for the model

The 3D model needs to be converted into an STL(STereoLithography) file format to be 3D printed. The STL file describes the simple geometric structure of to-be-printed objects to the 3D printer. The 3D model must be a closed solid component for it to be convertible to STL format. In SketchUp, a 3D model consists of several surfaces that are shapes and lines by themselves, so make sure that there are no gaps/holes between surfaces. Select everything that makes up the model, go to Edit>Make Component, name the component in the new dial up box and click Create to turn the selection into a component.

Make a component.png

Download and install the plugin called SketchUp STL Sketchup to stl.png , which is available in the SketchUp Extension Warehouse, to convert the component into STL. Select the component and go to File>Export STL.

Sketchup to stl screenshot.png 

The STL files can be viewed using an STL viewer application such as OpenSTL.

Step 4: Ready to 3D print

We used the Makerbot Replicator. It comes with its own software called Makerbot desktop. In the application, import the STL file of the models and export as a special print file for the printer.

Makerbot print file preparation.png

After the print file is prepared, you can click on Preview to view the layers that the 3D printer will print over time. Click on Export to export as a .makerbot file. The Makerbot Replicator will use this file to print the 3D model.

Makerbot export.png

Makerbot export preview.png

Now, just print and wait!

Here are the images of our printed parts assembled as a Kinect mount.

3D printed kinect mount.png