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Sketchup V.s CAD


Pablo Ferral

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Pablo Ferral

What's wrong with Sketchup anyway?

 

I don't use Sketchup, but many of the designers at my company do.

 

I get the impression that my colleagues think I am down on Sketchup because I am the CAD manager and I use a 'Proper' CAD package.

 

People seem to love or hate Sketchup, but I'd like to hear some objective constructive criticism from you.

 

What is Sketchup good for? What is it not good for? Have you managed to work Sketchup into your design to manufacture process?

 

Great stuff, thanks in advance for your thoughts,

 

Paul

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There's nothing "wrong" with Sketchup per se. It's just a different tool that's all. I'd use SU for presentations but not for fabrication drawings. The proper tool for the proper job is a phrase to live/work by.

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Pablo Ferral

Hi ReMark.

 

Thanks for the reply. So - at what point do you move from presentation to fabrication drawings?

 

Do you have a process for this at your company, or is it a personal decision?

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Once I get the OK from management then I make the switch. We're using the same approach with regards to our second site. All the preliminary work is being done in SketchUp. Just a bunch of pretty pictures.

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It really depends on what you are going to us SketchUp (SU) for. SU was made for the architectural field. It has evolved into a very robust 3D program. It is not meant to be an AutoCAD replacement, a SolidWorks/Inventor replacement nor a BIM replacement. It can however be inserted into various workflows and used as just another tool to get the job done.

Nothing wrong with banging out a quick idea in SketchUp to convey design intent. Much like one would do with a sketch on paper. You then migrate this idea to the correct tool to develop that idea.

 

One way I use to use SU was back with a home builder I worked for. We would start with a floor plan in AutoCAD. We would then take this and start making the 3D model in SU. We would work out the roof heights, slopes, trim and other details until we had the finished design. I would then export the elevations from the SU model back into AutoCAD for the detailed elevation views on the permit sets. I also used the model for marketing uses.

 

SU is just another tool. One can never have too many tools ;) All of the 3D images in my gallery were created in SU - link.

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tzframpton
Once I get the OK from management then I make the switch.
So you are doing double the work? Why not do your preliminary stuff in AutoCAD too? That way you're half done and you just keep on truckin' along.
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Pablo Ferral

Hi tzframpton.

 

This is the $100 Question! I accept that SU is a good tool for iterating through design options, but at what point to do you jump off the wagon? We use our 2D and 3D geometry to generate G-code. If one of our designers fully details his idea in Sketchup, the CAD teams only purpose is to re-draw the design in a different CAD package for documentation and CNC! This doesn't seem like a good use of time :(

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tzframpton
This doesn't seem like a good use of time.
Exactly. Want to know why that is? Because you can conceptualize just as easily (if not more easily) in programs like Inventor. That's what fully parametric design software is all about - from concept to fabrication, in one pass. Even have design options, etc. all within the same model.

 

When you ask yourself why people like SU, it's because it's easy. And it's free. But I just don't understand why some people think SU is needed when you use certain CAD applications, such as Inventor. Once you know the program it's just as easy, relatively speaking. Plus, when using Inventor, you can work out early-on issues that might be missed in SU. I wonder how many times you conceptualize something in SU, only for the design team to later say "this won't work" or "we need to change that". I bet it's happened.

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For this situation, mechanical design, I am inclined to agree. There are countless other examples that just might be suited for SU. Just saying ;)

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tzframpton

SketchUp is awesome, if that's where it starts and ends. Soon as you "must" go to another platform... this at least warrants the question of whether this is truly needed or not. Since I am in the AEC industry, and I am efficient with Revit, there is simply no way I see any need to ever use SU first, then wrap up in Revit. Makes no sense whatsoever. If I were AutoCAD only, then yes, SU would be a great app to pair with.

 

It ultimately depends on circumstances.

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So you are doing double the work? Why not do your preliminary stuff in AutoCAD too? That way you're half done and you just keep on truckin' along.

Simply because management changes their mind as often as the wipers on my car change sides in a rainstorm. For a quick "rendition" of the building-flavor-of-the-day SU can't be beat.

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I bet to differ. ;)

 

Bro, I know y̶o̶u̶ ̶a̶r̶e̶ ̶a̶ you are THE Revit wiz but I think you might be wrong on this one. No way on God's green earth will a SU model EVER contain all the data and information that a Revit model will, even with SU now writing to IFC files but SU is d@mn fast ;)

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tzframpton

Lol... just trust me Sean. You don't have to agree with me and I'm perfectly okay with that, but I stand firmly by my point and for good reason. 8)

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Revit/SketchUp race!!!!!!! ;) In all seriousness I am sure, again in certain situations, that you are correct.

 

It ultimately depends on circumstances.

 

I see SU as the hammer and Revit as the jack hammer. If I have just a few nails to drive I can leave the jack hammer on the truck. Now when I have a concrete pad to bust up I go get the big gun.

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tzframpton
I see SU as the hammer and Revit as the jack hammer. If I have just a few nails to drive I can leave the jack hammer on the truck. Now when I have a concrete pad to bust up I go get the big gun.
This is a great analogy actually.
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