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IndustryArena Forum > CAD Software > Uncategorised CAD Discussion > Sketchup 7 Pro to CNC workflow
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011

    Sketchup 7 Pro to CNC workflow

    Hello all,

    I was wondering if any Sketchup pro users out there could provide any insight as to how you manage your Sketchup to DXF workflow in order to get quotes and files to your CNC shop.

    The way I imagine things are done is a little tedious and was hoping there are easier ways. I'm pretty new to CNC technologies (and Sketchup really), but Im very eager to learn best practices. I've drawn out my model in 3D in Sketchup using components and have been able to export a (very) rough cutlist as a reference for materials I need to order. Now I want to export each component to scale in 2D as a vector file so I can lay them out in sheets in Adobe Illustrator and export there as a DXF file.

    Can anyone give me some insight on their Sketchup to CNC workflow if it is different from mine? (Which I'm sure it is! ).

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    wow, not a lot of sketchup users in here I guess!

    I was able to get some accurate (yet 100ths of mm off) drawings out in 2D in dxf format and the tedious workflow (for those who have these apps and are struggling as well may benefit from) goes like this:

    1. copy /paste the component you want to export in a new comp on the origin (for clarity during export)
    2. Turn off Camera >Perspective
    3. Turn on Camera > Parallel Projection
    4. Face the object using Camera > Standard Views (will likely be Top or Right view depending on the orientation of your object).
    5. Make sure your entire component is in the viewing window.
    6. Choose File > Export > 2D Graphic (AutoCAD 2004 setting @ Full scale work alright for me).
    7. Rejoice.

    Extra Steps that I did in Illustrator that probably could have been done in Sketchup
    8. Create a comp that is your sheet size (1220 x 2440 for instance).
    9. Open up your DFX files and paste them into your new comp, arranging them on the sheet as you see fit (aka how they will be cut), leaving tolerances for the cutting blade (I've been told 10mm is sufficient).
    10. Make sure you join all your paths as they tend to be single lines when coming out of Sketchup, at least from illustrators perspective.

    I'm SURE there must be a better workflow than this. Anyone?

  3. #3
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    I'm SURE there must be a better workflow than this. Anyone?
    Don't use Sketchup.

    Not a big fan of Sketchup for 2D drawings, although it's not too bad if exporting .stl files.

    If all you need is 2D .dxf files, then a 2D CAD program will be many times faster. You're 6 steps would be reduced to 1, save as. Also, the lack of true circles and arcs in sketchup is a major issue for me.

    UCCNC 2017 Screenset

    Mach3 2010 Screenset

    JointCAM - CNC Dovetails & Box Joints

    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Hi ger, thanks for the reply.

    I agree that Sketchup seems almost too easy to use sometimes to be all that accurate. This is probably one of the reason why I ended up choosing it over it's competitors.

    I like being able to do quick accurate drawings in Sketchup because it helps me calculate cutting lists and visualise what the final project will look like, but even cutting lists are quite tedious and clunky in Sketchup. If my final output is likely to be physical (ie, output for CNC or made into a cutting list for production), is there a better application that you would recommend?

    Seems like most use SolidWorks, Rhino, or AutoCAD. My issue there is that I'm on a mac (and most of those seem to have quite a steep learning curve).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Quote Originally Posted by ktz View Post
    Hi ger, thanks for the reply.

    ...My issue there is that I'm on a mac (and most of those seem to have quite a steep learning curve).
    Try ViaCAD or Shark here Home
    All versions are available for both PC and Mac.


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