Converting SKP to STL Files: How to Do That and Why?

Learn how to convert SKP files to STL and how to open SKP files from this guide!
Marilyn Grant
Marilyn Grant
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Julie Flores
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Last updated: September 11, 2023
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Given the ease of use, SketchUp is one of the most popular 3D design software options in the market, especially when it comes to creating architectural models. The SKP file system it uses, however, may be a potential issue for users since not many 3D printer models will accept it. Nevertheless, this is an issue you can easily solve by converting the file system for your 3D models from SKP to STL, which are files that work with just about any 3D printer available in the market. There are multiple methods to handle the conversion, and you can pick one depending on factors such as file size, how much you’re willing to spend, conversion duration, security, and more.

Why Would You Need to Convert SKP to STL?

Converting SKP to STL Files: How to Do That and Why?

As mentioned above, SKP files are native to the Sketchup 3D design software. Sketchup has a couple of advantages that make it fairly popular. For example, it’s one of the easiest apps to use for 3D designs, making it usable for beginners. There’s also the free trial option.

Nevertheless, the biggest downside is its incompatibility with multiple 3D printers, therefore, necessitating that you convert the output files to a different format. In this case, the STL file format is the most suitable since these files are widely supported by 3D printers.

According to the Library of Congress Trusted Source STL (STereoLithography) File Format Family Format Description for STL_family — an openly documented plain text format for describing an object as a triangular mesh, i.e., as a representation of a 3-dimensional surface geometry in triangular facets. , STL(STereoLithography) files describe the surface of a 3D model as a triangular mesh. It’s also sometimes referred to as Standard Triangle Language or Standard Tessellation Language.

Almost any 3D printer you can think of, whether it’s priced under $2000 or is more expensive, supports STL files, although they may also work with other file types. This includes even beginner 3D printers, which you’ll likely be using if it’s your first time using Sketchup.

Notably, users recommend the Creality Ender 3 as a beginner 3D printer model since it comes with advanced extruder technology, is easy to assemble, and has resume printing functionality when the power goes out. It’s also compatible with three different file types, including STL.

If you’re not a newbie to 3D printing, users recommend the Creality Ender 3 Pro. It comes with a removable build surface plate that makes it easier to remove your prints, in addition to a branded power supply that ensures electrical stability while printing.

Nevertheless, the takeaway is simple. Your workflow will go much easier once you’re done with Sketchup if you can convert the resulting file into the STL file format.

How to Convert SKP to STL

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all option for converting your SKP files to STL. There are a few conversion options you can take, but as you can guess, they all have varying benefits. We look into the details of each in the sections below.

1. With AnyConv Online Converter

Converting SKP to STL Files: How to Do That and Why?

The AnyConv online converter is likely the option that many Sketchup users will flock to. AnyConv is a Germany-based company that provides the AnyConv online converter for free. As implied by the name, it converts a lot more than SKP files to STL. In fact, it can work with hundreds of different file formats as well.

The file formats are placed into different categories, including images, documents, audio, CAD, font, archive, Ebook, mesh, and video.

Since it’s an online converter, you need an active internet connection to get the file types you want. This allows you to offload any computing tasks to the AnyConv servers, and as such, your PC doesn’t need to be high-spec to do the conversion.

No software download or installation is required pre-conversion. You can just log onto AnyConv, upload the files and click the convert button. After that, you download the output file and use it in your 3D slicer before printing. Easy as that.

The AnyConv system is fast, efficient, and just about anyone can use it. There is nonetheless one caveat in the file sizes you can work with. If you’re using your 3D printer for miniatures and other small 3D models, it should be just fine since the files are likely not that big.

AnyConv doesn’t accept file sizes larger than 100MB, making it unusable for larger Sketchup projects. While this is a con, you have to note that it’s an improvement from the previous 50MB size limit. As such, it seems that AnyConv’s efficiency will grow over time. However, anyone currently looking to convert 100MB+ Sketchup files may need to look at other options.

The positives, on the other hand, are certainly impressive. As mentioned above, the online converter is fast, especially for smaller files. Additionally, the output STL file you get is high quality, especially if the file you uploaded was equally as good. Third, it doesn’t need high-end computer specs to function, so you needn’t worry about your PC’s RAM, processor, or for that matter, storage. After all, there aren’t any downloads or installations required.

Lastly, AnyConv takes your file security very seriously, and there are a couple of ways the app ensures your data isn’t stolen. One, the link for any STL file output by the converter is unique. Consequently, there’s no risk of anyone else downloading your files by accident.

Two, the converter keeps your files and uploads private, and finally, the uploads are deleted after conversion.

2. With Sketchucation

Sketchucation is an education app that caters to Sketchup users. That said, there are multiple aspects to the app, although the most impressive is the community you get. There are currently over 500,000 Sketchup users on Sketchucation, and you can liaise with them on just about anything about the app.

If you’re just starting out in the 3D design world, Sketchucation can be a huge help. You get the opportunity to upload your designs, have others in the community critique them as well as give you design pointers.

Ultimately this can help you be more effective at your designs. Additionally, you get access to over 800 Sketchup extensions and hundreds of models, styles, and materials, all of which you don’t have to pay for.

There are, however, some services you’ll need to pay for. For instance, if you want the help of an expert for a particular model you’re creating, you can outsource qualified personnel from the Sketchucation community.

Nevertheless, for the purpose of converting your SKP files to STL, all you need to do is download the right plug-in or extension from the Sketchucation plug-in store. That said, you do need to be a part of the community to gain access to these plug-ins.

3. With Convertcadfiles Converter

Convertcadfiles is another online tool that you can use. It shares a couple of similarities with the AnyConv online converter. For one, you have to upload your SKP files online so they can be converted. Also, the app deletes the original uploaded SKP file immediately after it’s converted. The download link, however, may take a while before it can be deleted. So how does Convertcadfiles work?

There’s the free trial and the paid version. Unfortunately, you won’t get many opportunities to try the app. However, if you’re satisfied with the first conversion, you can choose to pay and get access to more conversions.

With the trial, you go to the conversion page of the app, select the file you intend to convert, and then choose the output format. Of course, in this case, it’s SKP to STL, although there are a couple of other outputs formats such as PDF, OBJ, and 3DS available.

OBJ files, according to File Format Trusted Source OBJ File Format OBJ files are used by Wavefront’s Advanced Visualizer application to define and store the geometric objects. , are usually the product of 3D modeling using other computer-aided design software options. OBJ files also make the transmission of geometric data much easier. As for the 3DS file format, it contains a lot of information according to File Info Trusted Source 3DS File Extension - What is a .3ds file and how do I open it? Learn about .3DS files and view a list of programs that open them. . This includes bitmap references, viewpoint configurations, material attributes, mesh data, and more.

Once the output file extension is selected, you enter your email, leave the voucher code section as is and click “Convert file.” You will receive an email with the link to the file once the conversion is done, and you can then download it.

Notably, you have to be timely with your download, as two weeks after conversion, your files and the links are deleted. The resulting STL file is given as a zip file to make it faster to download.

Once you’ve decided that Convertcadfiles is the solution for you, there are three paid options to pick from. The five conversions, ten conversions, or fifty conversions options. The first two basically cost one euro or about 1.16 dollars under current exchange rates per conversion, while the fifty conversions alternative costs 0.8 EUR.

Lastly, it has a 50MB limit on the file sizes you can upload for conversion.

4. With Autoconverter

Converting SKP to STL Files: How to Do That and Why?

If you’d rather have a permanent solution for your conversion issues on your computer, then Autoconverter is the way to go. It only takes about 37MB of storage space on your computer pre-installation. Nevertheless, you don’t expect it to take up a lot of your ROM even after installation.

The conversion tool is currently on version 1.7 and receives regular updates that you might have to download, but it’s easy to use. However, there may be some bugs and app malfunction that you’ll have to deal with. That said, issues are likely to be resolved with future updates.

The app focuses primarily on 3D file formats, including STEP, IGES, BREP, OFF, STL, 3DS, OBJ, PLY, 3DM, SKP, and DAE. Notably, it is compatible with Windows operating systems but won’t work for Linux or macOS.

As such, if your PC uses one of these operating systems, you’ll need to rely on the other conversion methods mentioned above and below.

5. With Cadmonster

As for Cadmonster, it works differently compared to other converters mentioned. In fact, it’s not actually a file converter but a service that helps users reconstruct 3D models from various sources and then output the file in whichever format they want. Nevertheless, you can also contract Cadmonster’s services to convert your SKP model to an STL file as well.

Cadmonster is currently run by three individuals, namely Rodion Kozlov, the CEO, Aleksandr Sytchenko, the CTO, and Mikhail Muravev, the project manager. They all have extensive experience in computer-aided design, industrial design, 3D modeling, and more. This is why they can recreate 3D models from something as seemingly small as a napkin drawing.

Ultimately, Cadmonster also works a lot like the Convertcadfiles online converter. You select the type of file you’ll upload as well as the output file type you expect. You’ll then upload the SKP file and enter your email address. You can even include any components that might help during the conversion or give directions on any extra services you might need with regard to the file.

Finally, you press the start button and wait for results.

How to Open SKP files?

As mentioned above, SKP files are 3D models created by Sketchup, a 3D modeling software for your computer. As such, if you have the Sketchup app on your desktop, you can open and even modify SKP files as you see fit.

If you’re not interested in modifying SKP files and just want to see the 3D model, then The Trimble Sketchup Viewer is the program you want to download. Its functionality is limited, but it will open all SKP files on your computer or phone as it’s also compatible with iOS and Android.

Notably, the Trimble Sketchup viewer is a paid app, and so you might have to part with some cash to use it. Other CAD programs that can open SKP files include IMSI TurboCAD Pro, Okino Computer Graphics PolyTrans, and ACCA Edificius for windows.

The IMSI TurboCAD Deluxe works for Mac computers, and if you want to look at SKP files online, the Trimble 3D warehouse is your best bet. Trimble apps are more compatible since Trimble owns the Sketchup app.

Final Thoughts

Sketchup is really a one-of-a-kind 3D modeling app with regards to ease of use. You can even use it for free for most non-commercial projects. However, file incompatibility is still something you have to deal with, especially if you’re producing 3D models with your designs. As shown above, it’s not all that challenging to convert SKP files to STL. We’ve even listed a variety of options for the conversion that you can use at your convenience.


STL (STereoLithography) File Format Family
Format Description for STL_family — an openly documented plain text format for describing an object as a triangular mesh, i.e., as a representation of a 3-dimensional surface geometry in triangular facets.
OBJ File Format
OBJ files are used by Wavefront’s Advanced Visualizer application to define and store the geometric objects. 
3DS File Extension - What is a .3ds file and how do I open it?
Learn about .3DS files and view a list of programs that open them.
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