Introduction: How to Model a Keychain Using Google SketchUp for 3D Printing

In this tutorial you will learn how to create a keychain that can be easily uploaded to the popular online 3D printing service . Before we get started there are few things you will need to download.

  1. Download and install a copy of Google SketchUp from
  1. The keychain that we create will have the image of the world on it.  You can download a copy of the image from (select download tab and click world_map.png) or you can use your own image. The image used is shown below (Figure 1-1).

Step 1: Importing the Map Image

From the Google SketchUp menu bar select Camera --> Standard Views -->Top (Figure 1-2). You will be constructing your model on the x and y plain.

The keychain will be in the shape of a rectangle with curved corners on the edge.

  1. Select the Rectangle Tool and click in the center axis and type 50mm, 28.2mm and then hit enter on your keyboard (Figure 1-3). This creates a rectangle with a width of 50 mm and height of 28.2 mm.
Next we import the image in Figure 1-1 and place it on top of the rectangle.

1.      From the menu bar select File --> Import. The Import dialog box appears. Select the map image to import and on the right select “Use as texture” then select Open (Figure 1-4).

The image is attached to your cursor. Click once on the bottom left of the rectangle and a second time on the upper right of the rectangle (Figure 1-5).

Step 2: Aligning the Image

Notice that the image is not exactly in the center of the rectangle. To center the image right click on the rectangle from the drop down menu select Texture --> Position (Figure 1-6).

For colored pins appear on each corner of the image. Using the Pan tool click and drag the image so that it is in the center of the rectangle (Figure 1-7).

Right click on the image and select Done (Figure 1-8).

Using the Rectangle tool create 2mmx2mm squares on each corner of the map (Figure 1-9).

Step 3: Smoothing the Corners

Using the Arc tool click on the corners of the square and type .5. This will create an arc with a radius of .5 (Figure 1-10).

Then delete the lines that define the square and outer surface (Figure 1-11).

Repeat the same process for the other 3 corners of the rectangle (Figure 1-12).

Now we draw hole for the key ring. Draw 2 lines 3 mm in length from the bottom left corner of the model (Figure 1-13a). Then draw a circle with a radius of 1mm (Figure1-13b). 

Delete the lines and inner surface of the circle (Figure 1-14).

Step 4: Tracing the Map

Using the Line tool trace the countries on the surface of the rectangle. Below I have traced the country Australia and deleted the inner surface that defines the country (Figure 1-15).

Using the Push/Pull tool click on the surface of the rectangle and type 2mm (Figure 1-16). 

Select ctrl-z to undo the extrusion and now trace the other countries in the image. Delete the inner surfaces of the country and then extrude it by 2mm (Figure 1-17).

Step 5: 3D Printing Keychain

Select File --> Export --> 3D Model.  The Export Model dialog box appears. From Export type select Export type: Collada File and then give your model a name and click Export (Figure 1-18).

Go to and login to upload your model. Upload the .dae file you exported and order a copy of the model. Here is what the model looks like after 3D printing (Figure 1-19).

To learn more about developing models for 3D printing using Google SketchUp check out “Beginning Google SketchUp for 3D Printing.” at


dscott4 made it!(author)2011-10-10

I would love to see it added to the 3D print group I have just started


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