Print Life-sized Patterns With Sketchup: Making Prototypes With Sketchup



Introduction: Print Life-sized Patterns With Sketchup: Making Prototypes With Sketchup

About: 19 year old hobbyiest and future EE.

This is an unusual twist from my electronics! Have you ever wanted to test something for size? Now you can actually get your hands on just about anything and feel it size-wise now! You could print a grandfather clock, and see if it would fit high-wise in your room etc. . .

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Step 1: Selecting a Model

Obviously, you need to find a model. I've decided to print out a gun. I will be making a FAMAS. But before we get designing, we need to know a little bit about the gun first. 

Step 1. Go to Google images and find a suitable image of the model of you choice that is flat, and traceable. See the first picture for a reference.
Step 2. Go to wikipedia and type up the name of your object/model. On the right-hand corner is the information. See second picture for reference. What we are trying to do is to find the length of the object. The FAMAS was 29.8", so I just rounded it off to 30", or 2' 6".

Step 2: Modeling!

Now I used Google Sketchup, because it is free and Mac and Pc users and use it, so if you don't already have Sketchup, download here

You have to now draw out the shape of your model.

See the video on the steps to printing it to scale. Here's a basic overview.
  • Change the camera to parallel projection
  • Go to Document settings and change the 'in Drawing' and in 'Model' both to one inch. 
For more information see

Watch this video for some tips on modeling, and don't forget to put on 720p and watch in full screen.
You would use all these techniques for any objects that you wish to print. You could print a grandfather clock, and see if it would fit high-wise in your room etc. . .

Step 3: Printing and Cutting

The first picture is a GIF. Wait until you see the black screen and the text, Printing Tips. Then begin watching. This will show you some tips about printing. You can also see them attached to this step. 

After you setup your model in Sketchup, print it. I suggest you print on thick card stock. It's much easier to work with, easier to trace with, and it lasts longer. When you are done printing cut out all the pieces. Arrange and tape.

Step 4: Prototypes?

From here you can use this pattern on pretty much anything. Lay your model on your material (plywood, cardboard, foamboard) and using one of those really inky ball-point pens trace your gun onto the material. For cardboard and foamboard, you can use a razor to cut out the model, and with plywood a jigsaw or coping saw would be perfect.

Step 5: What For?

Well the reason why I made this instructable was mainly for learning how to print to scale in Sketchup. After your patterns are printed, your options are unlimited.

What I made it for was for my laser tag guns. What I'm going to do is to place the pattern on 1/4 inch plywood, and cut out with a jig saw, then sand and tidy up. After that I will repeat on a second layer. Placing all my laser tag electronics inside, I'll use bolts and spacers to connect the two sides together. 

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