My reasoning for doing so, mainly, its free. Second, it's pretty user intuitive. The learning curve for Sketchup was the least steep at least when compared to the other applications I was looking at (OpenSCAD, Inventor, Pro-E, Solidworks, etc. to name a few). It was the only program where I could jump into right away and create objects rather instantly. With the combination of the 2 previously mentioned reasons, it allows me to show people how to use it relatively easy as well. I could go on and on with reasons, but those are my main reasons.
|RepRap Mendel created in Sketchup|
- skp_to_dxf.rb: this allows you to export your .skp file into a .stl or .dxf file.
- drawhelix13.rb: this allows you to draw a helix, pretty useful for making threaded holes or even screws.
- JimsSTLimporter.rb: this allows you to import .stl files to work with in the Sketchup enviroment.
- wafer.rb: this allows you to create object which you can then generate g-code for your CNC machine. Will def come in handy when I get my CNC router up and running (keep telling myself it'll be soon)
These are the basic plug-ins you'll need to work with 3D files you download or create yourself.
If you are unsure how to load plug-ins for Sketchup, here is a quick how to:
Download the said files,
for Windows extract if you have to and copy and paste them into:
C:\Program Files\Google\Google SketchUp 8\Plugins
for Mac OS X:
User/Library/Application Support/Google Sketchup/
When you reach the Sketchup folder, you will have to create you own folder, name it "Plugins". No drag/drop/copy your downloaded files into you newly created file.
If you have any issues with the plug-in, it might because you are using the later version of Sketchup, which might not be compatible with the plug-in. I personally keep the most recent and the previous version around to be safe.
Although doing some more complex/ornate object in sketchup might take other applications, its great for most things. OpenSCAD is probably the next 3D modeling application I'll choose to tackle.