How to make a dome with SketchUp for 3D printing

December 31, 2015

How to make a dome with SketchUp for 3D printing

Ever tried to make a dome in SketchUp as a solid object for 3D printing? It took me ages to work out and I’ll show you how to do it.

One of my products (Deter Gent) has a long knob with a dome on the end, a bit like a extra long volume knob! I soon discovered that SketchUp is not the ideal tool for domes & spheres, and there is limited information on how to do this. But it is possible.

Ok, let's get started:

  1. Draw a circle on the XY horizontal axis using the Z axis as the centre (this will make it easier to align the arc you need to draw below)
  2. Select the tool ‘Push / Pull’ and click and drag from the top of the circle to create 40mm high cylinder (it can be any height)
  3. Now you need to create an arc on the top surface of the cylinder that will form a vertical semi-circle, that looks like a bucket handle

  4. Select the tool ‘2 Point Arc’, and click on the edge of the top of the cylinder and drag through the centre across to the exact opposite edge and click. While holding the mouse down move to the vertical blue Z axis line and hover slowly up & down the line until you see ‘Half circle’ appear near the tip of the arc tool. When ‘Half circle' appears let go of the mouse button. Your cylinder should look like it has a bucket handle on it!
  5. Now you need to make a complete enclosed semi-circle.To do this - select the ‘Line’ tool, click on one end of the arc (on the surface edge of the cylinder) and draw a line to the other end of the arc across the surface of the cylinder (this should enclose the semi-circle shape).
  6. Now you need to cut the semi-circle in half to make a quarter-circle shape - Draw a line from the middle of the bottom line of the semi-circle (on the cylinder surface) to the top of the arc.
  7. Select the ‘Eraser’ tool and delete one of the curves of the semi-circle; then delete the stray line of the semi-circle on the surface of the cylinder.

  8. To create the dome select the tool ‘Follow me’ and click on the corner of the quarter-circle and follow the surface edge of the cylinder right around to the starting point to create the dome. This part is super fiddly and you’ll need to experiment a lot! But it will work.

  9. You should now have a dome attached to the top of a cylinder which will be a solid object (ready from printing)

You can download my SketchUp model in the 3D Warehouse

And here is the 3D printed knob with dome:






Also in Blog

Bad mouthing Barbie
Bad mouthing Barbie

June 07, 2016 0 Comments

I asked my 5 and half year old daughter 'What does Barbie do?', she replied 'Barbie wears nice clothes and gets married’. Well, I've been bad mouthing Barbie for a while now and it's beginning to work.

View full article →

Operating at a loss
Operating at a loss

June 01, 2016 0 Comments

It recently occurred to me that the burgeoning online gift industry could actually solve some of the world's small to medium size problems.

View full article →

Online shopping - then and now
Online shopping - then and now

May 05, 2016 0 Comments

Once upon a time online shopping was new and full of promise. It has mutated into a global beast, that looks nothing like the bastard child of the early 2000s.

View full article →