Have access to a 3D printer and an image you want to print but no way to get it into fruition?
I'm going to show you how to take a 2D logo and make it into a 3D one using SketchUp.
Step 1: SketchUp and Plugins
If you already haven't you need to download Sketchup from http://www.sketchup.com.
From there you will need to download a plugin called SketchUp STL from this site http://extensions.sketchup.com/en/content/sketchup-stl.
To install this plugin launch SketchUp and open the SketchUp Preferences. In that side bar there is an Extensions option. Click on that and choose the Install Extension Button. It may ask you if you trust this plug-in. Choose yes.
Step 2: Now We Are Ready to Get Started!
Now we need to import your image.
This works best if you are using a JPG or TIFF extension.
Choose File -> Import
Choose your image.
Step 3: Start Creating the 3D File
After you have your logo imported, the next step is to trace the logo using the line and arc tools.
This is a long and tedious process. Don't give up hope, your almost there!
Step 4: Checking for Holes
After you have everything traced, if you did it properly you should see that some of the spaces filled in. If they did not you may have a hole somewhere. You may have to look a little close to find it.
One trick I found that helps is drawing a line between the part that is supposed to be filled in. If it doesn't fill both sides you have a hole.
Step 5: 2D to 3D in SketchUp
At this point you can remove the image from SketchUp. Now we have a drawn out 2D graphic.
Use this Push/Pull tool to raise/lower parts of your image.
You can even add a base if you wish by making a square under your drawing.
I made these as a medallion for a few friends that were leaving our HackerSpace.
Step 6: Making a STL File
Your almost ready to print!
Choose File -> Export STL
Choose yes when it asks to export the entire module.
Depending on the complexity, we now need to repair the file with NetFabb.
Upload your file to http://cloud.netfabb.com. They will repair the file for you. After a few minutes you should receive an email with a download link to the repaired file.
Step 7: Congratulations!
You now have a working STL file!
Send your file to http://www.shapeways.com or to your 3D Printer!