Fix Solids and Real Sections Plugins

SketchUcation user, Belgian architect, and now SketchUp plugin author GWydouw has release 2 new plugins for SketchUp.

Fix Solids

This Plugin try to fix problems with groups that suppose to be solids but don't show up like a solid in SU.

fixSolid fix the following problems:
* heal missing faces
* remove single edges
* remove separate faces
* remove edges between coplanar faces
* remove innerfaces
* remove all edges with only 1 face connected (RISKY FIX)

Real Sections

Do you want to create real sections with different materials through your SketchUp models?

Downloads : [ FixSolids | RealSection ]

Related plugins:  Section Cut Face | Solid Inspector

How To Download and Install SketchUp Plugins

Updated Dec 26, 2010

What are Plugins

Beginning with version 4, SketchUp has shipped with an embedded Ruby-language interpreter allowing anyone to write Ruby scripts which can automate, extend, and customize SketchUp.

Why Use Plugins

Plugins can save time, and allow SketchUp modelers to do things that are difficult to achieve otherwise.

Where to Find Plugins

There is no central place to find SketchUp plugins. Many people have contributed plugins, which are hosted at sites across the Internet.

  • - the site of the original plugins guys, Todd and Rick offering many free and paid plugins, support forum, and custom plugins services.
  • Ruby Library Depot - Didier Bur's plugins archive. Many older plugins not available elsewhere.

How to Download Plugins

Plugins are distributed in several forms:
  • Ruby scripts (.rb extension)
  • Compressed archives (.zip or .rar)
  • Installable executable file (.exe or .msi)
In theory, downloading any file should be as easy as left-clicking on its link. In my experience, it is not always that easy.

The most reliable way to download plugins to right-click on their link, then select "Save link as" or "Save Target as" (depending on your browser.) You may be prompted by the browser for a location to which to save the file. Save the file to a convenient location.

How to Install Plugins

For single-file Ruby (.rb) plugins, installing just means moving the file to SketchUp's Plugins folder.

There seem to be more problems when the plugin is a .zip archive which consists of multiple files. The important point is that folders and sub-folders within the .zip archive must be preserved when extracting. When using WinZip, for example, there is an option to "use folders" which must be checked in order to preserve the folders when extracted.

When a plugin comes as a .zip archive, it is common that its contents consist of a single Ruby script and its associated support folder:

In a case like this, both the .rb file and its associated folder would be put in the Plugins folder.
There may also be further sub-folders under the main folder - again, the key is that all folders and sub-folders be kept when extracting from the .zip archive.

How to Find the Plugins Folder

The location of the Plugins folder in SketchUp is dependent on the version of SketchUp installed, and the  operating system in use.

The most reliable way to find the Plugins folder is to ask SketchUp. With SketchUp running, open the Ruby Console from the Windows menu. In the Ruby Console's  input box (lower white box), type or cut&paste in the following code:

SketchUp 8 Ruby Console on Windows XP

SketchUp 7 Ruby Console on Mac OSX

If correct, you should see something similar to the above image; which is telling me my Plugins folder is located:

C:/Program Files/Google/Google SketchUp 8/plugins

This is the location to which you will move or copy the plugin files; whether they be a single .rb file, or a unzipped file and folder.

Once the file(s) are moved, you will need to close then start SketchUp again.

Where Are The Plugins In SketchUp?

In short, plugins can appear in any of several places.

  • Plugins can use any of the top-level menus: File, Edit, View, Camera, Draw, Tools, Windows, Plugins, and Help.
  • Plugins can create sub-menus in any of the aforementioned top-level menus.
  • Plugins can also create right-click, or context menus that only appear when the appropriate type of entities are right-clicked using the mouse.
  • Plugins can also create Toolbars in which case the plugin's Toolbar name would be visible in the View/Toolbars menu.
  • Finally, plugins may use the Extension feature. Extensions can be enabled or disabled when first installed, so you should check the Preferences/Extensions dialog window for disabled extensions.

How Can I Find Out Exactly Where A Plugin Will Appear?

Open the plugin file in a text editor (such as Notepad.exe), and look for code concerning the creation of menus and toolbars. Typically this code occurs near the top, or more likely at the bottom of a script.

Corrections and feedback on this article are appreciated.

Shaderlight for SketchUp Contest

"1stprize: $150 Amazon voucher, a copy of Shaderlight Pro for SketchUp, a copy of SketchUp Pro and a Shaderlight 2GB USB wristband.

2ndprize: $50 Amazon voucher and a copy of Shaderlight Pro for SketchUp and a Shaderlight 2GB USB wristband.

3rdprize: a copy of Shaderlight Pro for SketchUp and a Shaderlight 2GB USB wristband.

The top three images will also take pride of place on our homepage in January for the world to see (and for you to show off to your friends!)

To enter, simply send your finished Shaderlight render, orignal SketchUp scene along with your contact details to . If you've not downloaded your free copy of Shaderlight yet, you can get access to the full range of features and unlimited resolution free for 14 days. If you're feeling really creative you can even enter more than one image."

[ Shaderlight for SketchUp contest ]

Plugin: Follow This


This plugin allows you to use a path  inside a Group  for a Follow Me operation on a Face outside the Group.

This plugin is at the stage where it works in simple situations, but may not be reliable or stable. Use with caution.


Update 2010-Dec (small change)

  • Valid Faces are highlighted as the mouse is moved  over them.
  • Changed filename (see note at end of post.)


  • Open a Group for editing, and right-click a Face.
  • Select Follow This from the context menu.
  • The Group will close. 
  • Move the mouse over a Face you want to extrude, then select it using the right mouse button.

To install, right-click the link below and select "Save As" to save the file to your computer. Move the file into your SketchUp Plugins folder, and restart Sketchup

  • Download plugin: jf_follow_this.rb <-- Right-click, and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As"
  • Once saved, move or copy the file to your SketchUp Plugins folder.
  • The "Follow This" item will appear when right-clicking a Face.
  • Note: This file should replace any file named follow_this1.rb (if installed.)

SU Podium Render V2 Upgrade Pricing Ending Soon

We have held the SU Podium V2 upgrade price to $28.95 (USD) for three months and thousands have upgraded. Thank you. But, the introduction upgrade price will end with the New Year, on January 1, 2011. You can upgrade any version of SU Podium 1.x so long as you have a valid 1.x serial number. Click here to upgrade at $28.95

Free V2 evaluation is available. [ SU Podium V2 ]

Sphere Tool

Update 2010 Dec, 13 (Internal version 1.4)
  • Menu: Draw/SphereTool
  • Code cleanup, and generally tried to make it behave like a native SU Tool.
  • Press the Tab key to switch between draw by radius and draw by diameter.
  • Fixed clipping on tool startup.
  • Added line thickness when inference locked.
  • Made VCB and Statusbar texts consistent, accurate.
Due to inconsistent file names for past versions, this file (jf_spheretool.rb) is meant to replace any of the following files in the Plugins folder:
  • spheretool.rb
  • spheretool1.1.rb
  • spheretool1.3.rb
  • jf_spheretool.rb
  • (You get the idea.)
Download jf_spheretool.rb

Here's a quick tool for drawing spheres. It creates a Sphere option under the Draw menu.

Download the script and move it into your Plugins directory.

A group is created to hold the sphere. You can enter the number of segments you would like to use. It defaults to 24. Even-numbered segments work best, odd one cause unpredictable results.

Spheres are drawn with the poles along the Z axis.

Regular Polygon Keyframe Animation Plugin

Regular Polygon has published a keyframe animation for SketchUp version 7 & 8, Free or Pro.

Main Features include:
  • Keyframes are easily added, deleted, renamed, and reordered.
  • Any group or component can be animated.
  • Animated groups (components) can be nested.
  • Animated groups (components) can be nested inside of non-animated groups (components).
  • Animated groups (components) are interpolated between keyframes by translation or rotation.
  • The interpolation lasts for the entire keyframe transition time.
  • Keyframes can have independent transition times.
  • Keyframes can have independent delay times.
  • The keyframes can be converted to a slideshow of ordinary (non-animated) scenes, called tweens.
  • The number of tweens depends on the frame rate you set.
  • The tween slideshow can be exported to an AVI movie, or to image files (PNG, JPEG, TIF, or BMP)

Keyframe Animation is a commercial Plugin with an introductory price of just under $20. The download is a full-featured, 10-day evaluation.

Plugin: Simple Shell

Simple Shell creates an inner or outer shell by copying and scaling a Group or Surface around its center of geometry. It works best with symmetrical objects.

To make a shell,

* Select a single Group or surface.
* Select JF Simple Shell from the Plugins menu.

A Dialog will prompt for the wall thickness.

The Faces of the shell will be reversed from the original's. Use a negative thickness to make an outer shell.

Download jf_simple_shell.rb

Driving Dimensions 1.4 Update for 8

LEDAS has released version 1.4 of their Driving Dimensions plugin for SketchUp. The update is focused on SketchUp version 8 compatibility.

Driving Dimensions adds parametric ability to SketchUp by allowing users to set and update contraints through SketchUp's Dimensions.

Read the official press release: LEDAS Improves Google SketchUp 8 with Driving Dimensions 1.4

2Bot CNC ModelMaker

I thought this machine was interesting, since it says it is compatible with KMZ files produced by Google SketchUp.

The 2BOT ModelMaker is a turn-key solution for creating physical 3D models from 3D data. The system includes hardware, software, and material. Your 3D data needs to be loaded into the 2BOT software, called 2BOT Studio, which "is compatible with many different file formats including DWG, DXF, Google SketchUp KMZ, STL, and USGS FLT files."

(I couldn't find a price, or a description of the material.)

[ ]

'Digital Job Site' Blog - Fine Homebuilding SketchUp Blog

FineHomebuilding has recently entered the Sketch-U-verse with a blog they call the "Digital Job Site" about...

how builders, remodelers, and architects use the free 3-D modeling software Google SketchUp to design projects and present them to clients.

'Digital Job Site' Blog - Fine Homebuilding

Stand-Alone FBX Converter

If you need to work with FBX files and don't have an Autodesk product, then this stand-alone converter may be useful. It doesn't directly support SketchUp files, so an intermediate format will be needed.

Transfer project data from one application to another quickly and easily with the FBX Converter. This utility lets you convert OBJ, DXF™, and 3DS files to and from the FBX format.

The converter supports COLLADA, although it is not mentioned in Autodesk's description.

Downloads for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

[ FBX Converter ]

SketchUp Graphing Plugin

Update: 2010 December 05, a cold and snowy Sunday morning.
  • Add function to Layer (allows Color By Layer)
  • Add Function to Group
  • Users can enter X range and X step values

Equation Grapher is a free plugin for Google SketchUp.

Activate the plugin in the menu: Plugins/JF Graph Eq

A dialog will ask for the X Range and X step value to plot the function through.

The Function dialog will prompt you to enter the function to graph. The function must be valid Ruby language statement. (see also: Ruby Math module.) Use paranthesis to force order of operations, or whenever there is doubt in the order in which operations might occur.


To display the plots in color, open the Layers dialog and select Color By Layer in the fly-out menu. Then, select Edge color by material in the Styles/Edge Settings dialog.


Download the file attachment below. Move the file to your SketchUp Plugin folder, and restart SketchUp. The file is meant to replace the file named eq_grapher.rb (if you have it also.)

Download: jf_eq_grapher.rb.

Pointools Plugin for SketchUp

Pointools has unveiled a Plug-in for Google SketchUp in time for the European LiDAR Mapping Forum, Autodesk University and SPAR Europe. The new Pointools Plug-in for SketchUp streamlines scan-to-model workflows for all SketchUp and SketchUp Pro users by enabling reuse of the largest point cloud models, and by providing a first-of-a-kind solution to create 3D city models from mobile scan data.

[ via Pointools ]

Plugin Links on

So my latest idea is to use the social bookmarking site to organize all the sketchup plugins. I created a new account and plan on using it only for SketchUp plugins (or very closely related) links.

Delicious has some features that I hope will make it easier to discover the best, most useful, and interesting SketchUp plugins available. By using a few well-chosen tags and tag bundles, it should be possible to build a quality SketchUp plugins link database.

I'm just getting started adding links, but my best estimate is there are now over 1,000 individual plugins available for SketchUp.  I want to encourage community participation in order to make the list as useful and complete as possible. If you have a delicious account and would like to help please send your plugins links to my account, or add me to your network. If not, you can still browse the bookmarks and hopefully discover something new.

Questions, comments, and ideas are welcomed. I'm particularly interested in hearing about tags to use as "Major Categories" in organizing the links. What makes sense to you? What is the minimum number of major categories that are needed to organize all plugins? 

[ pluginsblog's delicious bookmarks ]
I just thought I'd show a picture of a SketchUp model I had 3D Printed a few months ago from The model was made with a greeble plugin and is a 1 inch cube.

We are the Borg. Resistance is Futile.

gModeller: energy analysis plugin for Google SketchUp

Derek wrote in to tell us that the plugin formerly known as the Greenspace LiveEnergy Modeller has been improved and is now called gModeller.

From the greenspacelive site:

gModeller is an energy analysis plugin for Google SketchUp. Based on the gbXML standard for designing resource efficient buildings and specifying associated equipment, gModeller enables the building designer to decorate 3D SketchUp building models with gbXML surfaces and openings, to identify and label gbXML spaces, and to import and export gbXML models.

As a result of using gModeller, Google SketchUp becomes an intelligent solution for low carbon building design. Models can be quickly exported to gEnergyEPC for energy analysis and certification.

[ gModeller ]

SU Podium V2 Trial Released - Public Beta 0.50 Win/Mac

A new version of SU Podium V2 has been released - Beta .50 Trial for Win/ Mac. This V2 Beta version is open to all. There are no requirements to download. Start evaluating, using and producing beautiful, high quality images from your SketchUp models with this new SU Podium version.

This Beta trial version will expire on September 15, 2010. We expect to release the full version of V2.0 on or before August 31, 2010. Purchase Podium 1.7.3 now for $179 and upgrade at no charge to V2 (save $29).

The trial version has one major limitation - rendered image resolution size will not exceed the SketchUp viewport size.

Unlike previous SU Podium V2 betas, there is no requirements to download this trial beta. You do not need a Podium 1.X license to use this trial beta.

Click Here to read about what's new in V2 Beta. Download is here.

Visit the V2 gallery for the latest renders.

Fredo' s Curvloft (Beta) Update

Fredo has released an update to his Curviloft Loft and Skinning plugin for SketchUp . This brings the version up to 1.0c. Although still not out of beta, it offers some new features and bug-fixes over the previous beta:

Curviloft 1.0c – LibFredo6 3.5c – 20 Aug 10: Third beta version, dedicated to fix bugs in Loft by Spline and Skinning. Loft Along Path is still not fully functional. Main evolutions are (more details):

* Skinning accept preselection of contours in more cases. Thanks to Daniel S. for signaling some configurations not working. Also some problems mentioned by Mac users should normally be fixed.
* For Loft Along Path, improvements for cases with a single contour (kind of FollowMe)

On top of potential bugs and geometry issues (including bugsplats), there are still some limitations and unfinished work:

* VCB is not active
* No interactive edition in the floating palette
* B-Spline and F-Spline do not close nicely in loop mode
* No later reedition of shape generated (this will come)
* all texts and labels are not reviewed yet

via SketchUcation Forums

And More Plugins...

Picking up where we left off last time, the past weeks have brought another slew of Sketchup plugins to the SketchUp community.

SU2POV 3.3
Didier Bur announced version 3.3 of his POV-Ray exporter for SketchUp: SU2POV.

Vertex Tools 1.0.0
Thomas Thomassen's first commercial Sketchup plugin, Vertex Tools, adds some great vertex/organic modeling capabilities to SketchUp. Visit Thom's site for details, documentations, and downloads.

Thom also released a free, experimental  plugin called Component Comparison which "Compares components for geometric similarities - replaces the instances of similar definitions to use the same definition."

Twisted Torus & Menger Sponge
Regular Polygon continues releasing some very cool geometric plugins. This time with 2 new (and  free)  offerings for creating regular and twisted torus, and 3d fractal Menger Sponge. Visit the Regular Polygon blog for details and downloads.

Light Up 1.9
LightUp version 1.9 was released earlier this year and it included a time-saving, built-in IES browser. Along with 1.9, LightUp Player was released. LightUp Player is a stand-alone program that lets people view your LightUp files without them needing to own the full version.

Also on the LightUp pages is a tutorial video showing how to add an animated flame in LightUp. See LightUp's resources page for that, and more LightUp tutorials.

LightUp's developer, AdamB, also posted a little plugin called Scene Tweaker, that "allows you to quickly tweak the position and orientation of Scene Cameras." Check it out on Sketchucation Forums.

Google Spreadsheet Link Plugin
morisdov released a plugin that can link a model's attributes to a Google Docs Spreadsheet. Visit morisdov's plugin site for information and download. And if you're interested in object animation in Sketchup, be sure to check out his "proper animation" plugin which lets you easily animate objects between Scenes.

Wudworx Board Maker
Wudworx has released their 3rd woodworking plugin for SketchUp. Board Maker makes making boards about as easy as it gets. Board dimensions can be precisely entered, and the boards are added to the model as Components for re-use. Wudworx's other plugins include a Dovetail and a Mortise & Tenon plugin.

sahi's plugins
Sketchucation member sahi posted 2 new plugins. One is called Copy Brick and is an on-screen tool for transforming components as you place them in a model.  The 2nd, Create Image (rotate) exports a set of images of a model which can then be sewn together to create an animated fly-around; very similar to the Web Exporter released by Google.

TIG's plugins
TIG released 2 new plugins: Gradient Tools which adds text tags to faces and edges showing their gradient; and Fix Reversed Face Materials which helps fix back-faces facing outward as well as fixing materials applied to the wrong side of faces.

gavvy's plugins
SCF member gavvy released a plugin that toggles all of your toolbars between visible and invisible. It goes by the name Show and Hide your Toolbars. Note it's all or nothing - you don't get to choose which toolbars are toggled.

That's all for now, thanks for reading.

New and Updated SketchUp Plugins

A lot of new and updated plugins posted in the past couple of weeks. All of these are from the Sketchucation Forums.

Regular Polygon posted a new Superellipsoid plugin for drawing (you guessed it) superellipses. Also note his Sphere plugin has been updated to version 1.1, and Superellipse to 1.2.

 Thomas Thomassen released 3 new plugins:
  • Groups to Components - bulk conversion of Groups to Components.
  • SuperGlue - Quickly stick GlueTo components back to the faces they lie flush with, or use solvent to release them. Simply click and sweep across the faces and components.
  • Draw BoundingBox - Draws a box from the selected Group/Component. Skewed instances supported. 
 See all of Thom's plugins on sketchucation. He is also working on his first pay plugin for Vertex Editing.

WudWorx has release their 2nd sketchup woodworking plugin for drawing mortise and tenon joinery. Their Dovetail plugin being the first.

sahi has posted a plugin Group in Component to create a single Component from multiple copies of a Group.

FTPlus posted an exporter for T3D format. T3D is a format used by epic's 3d engines. Currently only UEd2(Unreal edit) is supported (UT99 e.g.).

Fredo posted a stand-alone script for making curved ramps called CurviShear. In addition, Fredo's beta plugin Curviloft for lofting and skinning has been updated to version 1.0b.

Didier Bur updated his popular Cloud plugin for importing and exporting point clouds in CSV format. Support has been added for DEM files, setting units, layers, and documentation. Not to mention his Ruby Library Depot has been completely updated.

TIG posted a command-line Camera plugin which includes several commands for setting Axo and Iso views.

c.plassais released a plugin for creating colored edges and dotted lines.

kyyu posted a plugin for creating slots for tabs. kyyu is a regular on the phlatforum where he writes sketchup plugins geared towards using SketchUp for 2.5D & 3D CNC design.

Finally, I posted an index of plugins on the Plugins Forum to help folks find and discover a few of the plugins which have been posted on Sketchucation.

SU2YafaRay: SketchUp Exporter for YafaRay

YafaRay is a free open-source raytracing engine. Raytracing is a rendering technique for generating realistic images by tracing the path of light through a 3D scene.

YafaRay forums memeber exvion has created an exporter to render Google SketchUp scenes with YafaRay.

[ SU2YafaRay forum | download the plugin ]

SketchUp 3D Basecamp 2010

2010 Google 3D Basecamp
September 1 – 3, 2010
Boulder, Colorado USA

Space is limited and spots are being filled by invitation. If you would like to attend but did not get an invitation, it may still be possible to get in. Google SketchUp product manager John Bacus explains in this forum topic:

Hi guys,

As always, enthusiasm for 3D Basecamp is high– both here at SketchUcation and with the SketchUp team at Google. I think we're going to have a great event again this year, and I look forward to seeing all of you that can make it. I appreciate the difficulty traveling to Boulder represents for those of you on the other side of the world, but we just couldn't swing an event in Europe this time around. We talked about it, but in the end we decided to celebrate our birthday at home here in Boulder.

Since there seems to be some uncertainty here on the invitation process, let me try to clarify. We are trying something a bit different this year. The idea was to invite a group of folks who we knew, and let them invite some people they knew, and so on until we filled up the available spots. Many regulars on this forum have been invited, and each of them can nominate ten more folks for the next wave of invites. Those folks have until the 13th of July to make their nominations.

So if you want to come, and you didn't get an invite yet... speak out here and ask for someone to nominate you!


Here's the important part again:

If you want to come, and you didn't get an invite yet... speak out here and ask for someone to nominate you!

[ 3D Basecamp Official Site ]

Regular Polygon Blog

Regular Polygon is a new Sketchup blog with the goal
to design and write creative Ruby plugins for SketchUp -- for free.

Regular Polygon currently has 3 drawing plugins available: Ellipse, Superellipse and Sphere. They do pretty much what their names suggest, although each plugin allows for customization of the geometry through dialogs.

The plugins are free, although donations are accepted.

Keep an eye on [ Regular Polygon ]

Plugin: Fredo's Curviloft 1.0a (Beta) Now Available

A Beta (functional although incomplete) version of Fredo's newest SketchUp plugin named "Curviloft" is available.

Curviloft is "just" another mile-stone in a line of several written by Fredo; some which include Round Corners, Tools on Surface, Fredo Scale, and Joint Push-Pull.

You will need to register at the forums to get the download for Curviloft (and all Fredo's other plugins.)

Currently, only Loft by Spline is functional. Caution is advised when trying the other tools.

For complete Curviloft information from the author, visit this topic at

And now enjoy some stunning multi-media:

Curviloft Preview

Loft By Spline Tutorial

Shaderlight for SketchUp free Beta Software

Shaderlight is an integrated, interactive, photo-realistic renderer for Google SketchUp. Shaderlight lets you move objects or camera angles within a scene and see the results instantly as the image refines.


  •  Interactive, progressive rendering that updates all changes in the Shaderlight render window
  •  Zoom and pan the rendered image
  •  Automatic material presets applied to the SketchUp material collection
  •  Material finishes controlled via the Shaderlight Material Editor
  •  Automatic lighting using SketchUp sun ,sky and shadow controlsImage based lighting (IBL) using preset or custom High Dynamic Range (HDR) images
  •  Change background setting with options for SketchUp background colour, IBL environment or custom background
  •  Simple quality setting to provide quick previews, or high quality final render

link: [ Shaderlight ]

Recent Render News Items

Twilight 1.4.1 released.

Twilight 1.4.1 was released with a quick bug-fix release addressing 2 minor problems in 1.4.0
Podium Render

Look for updates to SU Podium stable version 1.7.3 this week or next fixing problems of multiple accounts on the Mac. Also this week, look for updates of Podium V2 Beta and SU Animate with a new angle path feature.

Indigo adds GPU Acceleration

Indigo Renderer recently announced support for GPU rendering which will mean tremendous performance increases. There may still be time to join the beta team.

RenderPlus nXt Advanced Features Video

Rendplus posted a video on their blog on the advanced fetures of IRender nXt. Launches is a new render farm for users of Blender and Yafaray. (Also check out distributed rendering by the same folks.)

Eagle meets SketchUp

Jerome Lamy has written a set of tools for SketchUp and Eagle (PCB design) to automate the process of creating SketchUp models of your Eagle designs. He's started a blog about it at Eagle meets SketchUp

Plugin: Model Function

A fairly new SketchUp plug-in has become available named the ModelFunction Plugin for SketchUp.

Model Function looks to be a set of parametric tools for defining and editing paths. From the video, it appears you can define paths, and then apply constraints to the path. Then you can associate Components to the nodes on the path.

Visit [ ]

Moduler 0.2.4 Released

Modelur has released (pre-beta) version 0.2.4 of their parametric urban design plug-in for SketchUp.

To make long things short, here is a selection of three most important enhancements:

* Optimizing Modelur buildings for Google Earth export.
* Invisible UI scroller.
* Automatic fixing of rotated floor plans when buildings are created.

[ Modelur Blog ]

Construction Line Tool Update (version 1.2)

I made a few minor changes to my Construction Line Tool.

  • Cursor updates immediately after key press to indicate current line type. (Thanks to Thomas Thomassen.)
  • Use the current stipple when rubber-banding.
  • Made the default stipple to be the first in the selection list.
  • Updated the infinite cursor to be less heavy in appearance.
  • Increase line width when inference is locked.

Download Version 1.2

There are 2 downloads available. The Windows installer can be used in any situation and will replace any currently installed version. The downside is it is a larger download. It also allows for uninstalling from the Windows Start/Programs menu, or Control Panel.

The .zip file must be installed/removed manually - just extract and over-write the existing Construction Line Tool files in the Plugins folder.

Sculptris V1.0.1 Released


Updated WebConsole

I updated WebConsole - a multi-line Ruby code evaluator aimed to be an enhancement of the built-in Ruby Console.

This version will not prompt you to save code snippets when you close or clear the console. I found the prompts annoying, and so removed them.

Windows only
This release won't work on a Mac, I'm almost certain of that. I do plan on making it cross-platform in the future.

No More Results Area
I eliminated the results area of the console in favor of using SketchUp's Ruby Console. This was partially for performance - if you process a large number of entities, then the result is a large list which needs to get uploaded to the results. I figured why not just use the Ruby Console?

Open Ruby Console Button
So since there is no more results area, I added a button to open the Ruby Console. The same button will clear the Ruby Console if you have morisdov's rubyCons.exe utility installed.

Save/Load retains indentation
The code indentation is retained when loading and saving snippets.

Push/Pull code to Model
You can "push" the code into the Model, and "pull" it back into the console. Good for sharing a model and code in one file.

Code Indenter
I included a Ruby code beautifier from - so now you can indent the code in the console and even select the tab size.

There's more, but those are the biggies.

Download here.

Driving Dimensions v.1.3 for Google SketchUp

Version 1.3 supports new platforms and contains several improvements and fixes. Answering numerous requests by the users of Windows 7 and Mac OS X v.10.6 operating systems, LEDAS development team focused on supporting these new platforms for its SketchUp plug-in. The functionality of multi-document interface (MDI) on Mac platform has been improved. Version 1.3 also includes several fixes of internal errors reported by Driving Dimensions users. To see the full list of changes, please visit the release status page.

[ Announcement ]

Point-Cab Laser Scanning -> SketchUp

Laser scanning company Laser Scanning Europe has made available a data importer to import Point-Cab Layout data into Google SketchUp.

More information here: [ Point-Cab and SketchUp ]

Driving Dimensions 1.3 Released

Version 1.3 supports new platforms and contains several improvements and fixes. Answering numerous requests by the users of Windows 7 and Mac OS X v.10.6 operating systems, LEDAS development team focused on supporting these new platforms for its SketchUp plug-in. The functionality of multi-document interface (MDI) on Mac platform has been improved. Version 1.3 also includes several fixes of internal errors reported by Driving Dimensions users. To see the full list of changes, please visit the release status page.

[ Driving Dimensions ]

List of New Plug-ins and Updates.

There have been a number of New and Updated Plug-ins released recently. Here's a list:

  • Twighlight Render 1.4 -"Our latest version fixes a longstanding material problem, providing better, faster results!"
  • LibFredo6 and ToolsOnSurface - Important updates to fix the menu gray-out problems.
  • Make Fur - New plug-in for creating fur or grass component arrays.
  • ShapeBender plug-in by Chris Fullmer has been recently updated.
  • PickIt - A new plug-in by Thomas Thomassen pops-up a menu of selectable entities when there is ambiguity.
  • Cleanup - Thomas' essential utility has improved methods for cleaning up, and now also repairs broken lines.
  • Edge Tools - Yet another of Thomas' growing and great collection of plug-ins. Adds a face division tool. (see video)
  • Camera Stats - A plug-in to inspect and manipulate the Camera in SketchUp by Martin Rinehart.
  • Extrude Edges by Rails to Lattice - Another fantastic addition to TIG's powerful Extrude Toolset.
  • Probes - Recently updated query and inspection tool by TT. Shows face normal, edge normals, UVQ values, and more.
  • RayTrace and RaySpray - A couple of TIG Tools that add construction geometry to trace ray paths.
  • Fix Component Names - A TT plug-in that fixes a bug that happens when 2 Components have the same name.
  • Delete Internal Faces- New scripter kyyu released a plug-in to remove internal faces from faces.
  • Key Rotate - A shortcut for rotating things also by kyyu.
  • OnTime5D Plugin - connect 3D objects with schedule made with OnTime software.
  • Automatic SketchUp - The first Ruby book aimed at SketchUp development has been published.
  • 3D Printing - i.materialize has released a plug-in to help create and upload models for 3d printing directly from SketchUp.

Important Updates to Fredo6 Scripts

Yesterday I mentioned a problem with SketchUp's context menus becoming unavailable, and implicated the FredoScale plugin in particular.

Today, Fredo has released important updates to his scripts in which he:

fixed the bugs and would strongly advise users to upgrade the following scripts to their latest versions, all dated 6 May 10:

LibFredo6 --> v3.4c (the most critical)
ToolsOnSurface --> 1.6a
RevertCurve --> version 6 May 10
DxfTransformation --> version 6 May 10
MarkVertices --> version 6 May 10

In principle, you don't need to upgrade the other scripts (FredoScale, RoundCorner, HoverSelect, GhostComp, JointPushPull, BezierSpline, etc...).

SketchUp Context Menu Greyed Out?

There has been an extremely annoying problem occuring for Windows users of Sketchup where the right-click Context menus become grayed-out at some point during modeling. The only solution was to reboot SketchUp.

SketchUp employee jhauswirth has tracked down the problem to how Ruby scripts are creating the menus (see below.)

More importantly, it was found that one plugin in particular - FredoScale - was one of the main causes of the problem.

So if you are experiencing this problem, the best solution for now is to disable the FredoScale plugin, and only use it as needed until FredoScale can be updated.


SketchUpper jhauswirth explains the problem:

The problem is Ruby scripts are calling-
and not attaching the new command to a menu item.

If you want to verify this run-
for i in 0..1000 do
cmd ="Tester") { UI.messagebox("Hello World") }

I can see Ruby scripts creating new commands on each right mouse click.
Every new command creates a unique command ID in SU and there are only 1000
command IDs available. Normally a command is attached to a menu and when
the menu goes away the IDs are recycled, but since these commands are not
attached to a menu, they don't get recycled.
I'm going to try and figure out how to dump the list of commands (they have
menu item text) so that people can see who's causing the problem.

There was another bug regarding recycling menu IDs. This was caused by the app not being able to execute OnIdle because the context menu was constantly being popped up. I didn't mention this issue because once OnIdle got a chance to do its business all the menu items came back to life. All the issues I've seen would be Windows only.

Fur and Grass Plugin for SketchUp

Folks are having lots of fun with a new Fur plugin for SketchUp written by SketchUcation user tak2hata.

Fur can be downloaded from SketchUcation, or directly from the author's site (along with more SketchUp plugins.)

TF Rubies Version 2.0

Timber Framer Clark Bremer has released version 2.0 of his Timber Frame (TF) Rubies.

New features include:

  • Peg Hole Tool. To use it, edit a timber, and select the joint component (note that this is exactly where you'll be right after you "TF Create Joint"). Select the peg tool from the plugins menu under TF Rubies. Click once on the corner of a face that should receive a peg hole. Then click again at the approximate location of the peg. Now read the VCB, and type in the exact distances you want (in x,y format). It should place a peg hole on both sides of the tenon, and mark them as pegs. Watch the youtube video for a demonstration.
  • Degree of Difficulty (DoD) for each timber. This allows for more accurate estimating. Just right click on a timber and choose "TF Set DoD", and type in a number (perhaps the number of hours it should take to create this timber). Do this for all the timbers, or use the "assign DoD tool" from the plugins menu (works just like the "rename component instance" tool). The DoDs will appear as a new column in the timber list. There's also a "DoD Report" option on the plugins menu under TF Rubies, that will tell you about missing DoD information. If you save a timber with a DoD to your library, the DoD will be saved along with it.
  • Better Metric Support. With a Big Thanks to Jonas Ekefjord for his contribution!
  • A “Contribution” item on the TF Rubies Menu.
TF Rubies can be found at Northern Lights Timber Framing's SketchUp page along with documentation, mailing list, and instructional videos.

PlayUp - SketchUp to Unity 3D Now Available

This version supports the ability to export levels from SketchUp into Unity. Since the scene files in Unity are kept in binary format, exporting to Unity requires the additional installation of the bundled Unity package in this zip file.


i.materialize Plugin and Design Challenge

To promote the release of their new 3D printing plug-in for SketchUp, i.materialize is sponsoring a design challenge for SketchUp users.

You can submit any kind of house or building design, as long as you use Google SketchUp to create your 3D model. There are no limitations on your design ideas.

The winners will win a full color 3D printed scale model of their design - normally a $400 service.

[ Official Rules: Design Challenge ]

Update Protrude Plugin (now works on Mac)

My brother kindly gave me not one, but a pair of Mac G4 Cubes. They are a little aged, but work just fine and can run SketchUp 7, so are perfect for what I need them for - testing plug-ins. Thanks bro!

This update is re-written to work on both Windows and Mac operating systems, although nothing has changed for Windows users of the plugin so there's no need to re-install if you are using SketchUp on Windows.

I have tested this on 10.4, which I hope is "close enough" to the latest version.

See the protrude post for the download and information.

This plugin requires offset and progressbar from (both are free.)

Hobby Vacuum Forming

Phlayboyz has come out with an inexpensive vacuum forming system starting at $99.

I've mentioned the phlatboyz cnc foam cutter (called the phlatprinter) in the past. It is made specifically for designing in SketchUp - there is a SketchUp plugin that exports a flattened (2d) model and outputs g-code for the phlatprinter.

The phlatformer is a great compliment to the type of modeling possible using the phlatprinter. This video shows Mark making a airplane fairing for strength and support. I imagine the former would work well for creating door and window elements to add detail to a building model, or for curved glass, or anywhere where you need a skin structure.

Information about the phlatboys machines can be found on their forum.

[ phlatboyz machine forum ]

Flattery Papercraft Tools for SketchUp

Flattery is a new, free SketchUp plug-in that can unfold models, adds tabs, and then export the pattern to a .svg file.

One interesting feature is called Reunite Edges. It lets you reposition surfaces after unfolding without having to start over.

Flattery is available here: Flattery Papercraft Tools

Voodoo Camera Tracker SketchUp Importer

Chris Fullmer has written a cool SketchUp plugin that imports data from the VooDoo Camera Tracker, and allows you to integrate a SketchUp model into a video, or create a camera path based on a video.

SketchUp reads the data from VCT and creates a series of Scenes in SketchUp. Then you position your model, export the Scene animation, and finally combine the exported images with the video. Some third-party software will be required.

Have a look at the results:

[ SketchUp VooDoo Camera Tracker importer ]

Octane Render Commercial v1.02 beta2 Released

- New Platforms:
- x64 version for MS Windows
- Apple Mac OS X Native 32bit version
(x64 is not possible due to cuda toolkit constraints at this time)

- Daylight system with sunlight and physically based sky

- Material Channels:
- bump maps (also read from OBJ MTL file)
- normal maps
- opacity (alpha) maps (also read from OBJ MTL file)
- thin film coating maps

- OBJ and Mesh import:
- Option on mesh node to relink/reload a modified OBJ mesh, keeping materials by name.
- Use of smooth groups (option in OBJ prefs panel)
- Loading/Saving of OBJ import preferences

- Universal executable for all Geforce 8000 and up,
no more separate 8000 and 9000+ executables.

- Improved User Interface scheme

- Uses new Cuda 3.0 toolkit - with new drivers
- Better UI response while rendering on single GPU systems
- Linear and Logarithmic toggle buttons for easier control of many parameters
- HDR Images (OpenEXR and HDR) now take 50% space of video memory.
- Can Zoom the render viewport using CTRL + mousewheel.
- No more need for Visual Studio redistributable package installation.

Octane Render Commercial v1.02 beta2 Released

SketchUp Plugin: Sine Wave

Just a quick little plugin to draw a sine curve in SketchUp.

Draws a sine curve at the Origin and in a Group. User is asked for amplitude, length, and number of segments.


STL Exporters for SketchUp

I had a couple recent comments asking about exporting STL files from SketchUp. I know of 3 plug-ins that can export .stl files.

I have not had a need to try any of these yet and so I can not offer any comment on how well they work.

SketchUp STL Importer

This importer lets you import both ASCII and binary STL files into SketchUp.
It automatically detects the type of .stl file and imports accordingly.

To import a .stl file, go to the File > Import menu, and select STL Importer. Optionally press the Options button to select the units, then select the file to import.


The STL Importer is free software licensed under the GPL.


Download the attachment from below, and copy it to your SketchUp/Plugins folder.

For Windows, this would be located here:

C:\Program Files\Google\Google Sketchup 7\Plugins\

For Mac, this would be located here:

/Library/Application Support/Google SketchUp 7/SketchUp/plugins/

Restart SketchUp.

Here are 3 sources of interesting .stl files to try:


[ Download ] STL Importer.

Scripts for LSS Toolbar

The scripts for the LSS Toolbar can be found together on this page.

LSS Toolbar 1.0

kirill has released a great looking toolbar to go with his suite of vertex-y editing tools.

The toolbar, available here, does not include the individual scripts it controls, which need downloaded separately. I was not able to locate a single download for the plug-ins - they are posted individually in various posts on the blog.

Plugin: .ply file importer for Sketchup

I have updated the .ply file importer I wrote to be faster, but more importantly to actually work. Ha!

When I say it's faster, I mean within the context of SkechUp - meaning some .ply file are absolutely huge and SketchUp will likely "white-screen" on some imports. You will have the opportunity to cancel after seeing the polygon count.

It supports vertex and face elements only. Most other elements do not make much sense in SketchUp.

[ Download .ply file importer by me ]

OpenSCAD - The Programmers Solid 3D CAD Modeller

OpenSCAD is not an interactive modeller. Instead it is something like a 3D-compiler that reads in a script file that describes the object and renders the 3D model from this script file (see examples below). This gives you (the designer) full control over the modelling process and enables you to easily change any step in the modelling process or make designes that are defined by configurable parameters.

OpenSCAD - The Programmers Solid 3D CAD Modeller

Twilight Render 1.3 Released

Updates include...

  • Change where any light is aiming by selecting the light, right-clicking, and choosing Twilight->'Set Light Target' from the context menu. Then click on a point to have the light aim at that point.
  • A new 'eyedropper' selector for selecting lights in the Light Editor
  • A bell sound when your render is complete
  • Several 'auto-saving' options for saving your render periodically, automatically when finished, or manually
  • Use SketchyReplay recordings in your animations, as well as 'real-time' SketchyPhysics simulations.
  • Save a snapshot of your SketchUp view to the exact dimensions and position as your render

As well as a couple bug fixes.

[ ]

Designing for Laser Cutting blog has posted an article with some ideas for easily creating parts for laser-cutting using SketchUp and the svg export plugin by, and the non-free slice modeller.

Texture Optimization in SketchUp

The Arrigo Silva blog has a good article discussing how to size your textures appropriately for your SketchUp model.

[ Arrigo Silva ]

There is also a plug-in by that can help you find textures that may have an inapropriate resolution for your model:

[ Goldilocks @ sketchucation ]

Storbacka Software - Harry Storbacka's Digital Artist

Another possible tool for your toolbox.

"Harry Storbacka's Digital Artist
Digital Painting Application for
Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7."

Storbacka Software - Harry Storbacka's Digital Artist

SU Plugins e-news

There's a lot of active development going on at

  • SU Podium 1.7.3 Beta Release - Spot lights and more.
  • SU Podium V2 Beta .37 Released - presets, soft shadows for point lights, spotlight support.
  • Podium Light System including Spot lights beta for V2 Beta.
  • Mac users: Problems installing 1.7.X? How to get around File Vault.
  • V2 upgrade pricing - buy Podium 1.7.x and get a free upgrade to V2.
    Although the list price has not been set, you will not lose by purchasing Podium 1.7.x now and upgrading to V2 when it is ready for final release. V2 will be priced higher than version 1.7.x. Customers who have purchased SU Podium 1.7.x on or after December 1, 2009 will eligible for a free upgrade to SU Podium V2 when it is released. All other customers will be charged a small upgrade fee which will be less than $30 during an introduction period.
  • What we are working on - Podium V2 Beta .38 and SU Animate 3.2.
    V2 Beta .38 will include a new geometry process that will reside outside of SketchUp and allow V2 Beta to handle much larger files. The Mac port will come shortly after Beta .38 is released.

    New SU Animate 3.2 with automatic time line scenes, spiral paths and more camera options.

Thea Render Open Beta Launch

Finally, we are here! Thea Render has reached a level that we can safely move forward and publish our work. Our new site has been deployed although there will be improvements and changes in the next weeks for better integration. We want to thank all for your patience and support and we hope that you are going to like Thea and Plugins. We will be waiting for your feedback in the development forums and of course, we are going to answer any question you may have.

Thea Render

ICEvision - SketchUvision Competition

ICEvision - SketchUvision Competition

SketchUvision Contest guidelines

* Open to SketchUp Pro users of all ages, locations & skill levels
* Maximum three ICEvision entries per registrant
* ICEvision entries must include both scenes and annotations
* The tour cannot exceed 90 seconds in length
* Registration opens at midnight MST on March 15, 2010
* Entry deadline is 12:00 noon MST, April 13, 2010
* Share entries to to include them in the competition
* Winners will be announced April 16, 2010 on the ICEvision website
* ICEvision reserves the right to share and distribute all entries
* Entries to the SketchUvision competition may at the discretion of Ice Edge Business Solutions be showcased in the Gallery

The Shapeways Models

Recently, I made a simple model in SketchUp and uploaded it to Shapeways for 3D printing. The printed models have arrived, and here are the results.

For reference, here is the SketchUp model I used to make the parts:

The model is made from 4 Components, and each was exported separately as a COLLADA (.dae) file. Each file was then uploaded to shapeways as is. Once a file has been uploaded and accepted by Shapeways, the file can be ordered in any of the available materials.

This image shows one assembled model, and the parts for the other. I lost the 2nd chimney! (or possibly the cat ate it.)

I used super glue to assemble the model, but it's not providing a super strong bond. I am guessing the glue is not fusing the plastic, but rather just making a mechanical bond with the rough surface.

Here is a close-up of the assembled house:

Physically, the parts came out very close to the designed dimensions. I expected the machines and the process to be very accurate, and they were. My $99 digital calipers say the parts were all within -0/+0.02mm of the SketchUp model.

In the previous image, you can see the roughness of the material. The material is Nylon 11, and you can read what Shapeways has to say about it here. They accurately refer to it as White, Strong & Flexible, although it is available in other colors.

Along with my model, Shapeways sent a freebie - a 2" long sample of their full-color sandstone material. Here's a washed-out image of the front:

And this is the back side:

"Sandstone" is an appropriate description of the texture of this material. It's similar in feel to a rough sharpening stone, or a fine nail file.

There are trade-offs made in the selection of materials. The full-color material is rougher and brittle (it's made from gypsum.) While the smoother and tougher materials (plastics) are only available in solid colors (typically white, black, or gray.)

For this experiment I used a simple model and started from scratch. Converting a typical detailed SketchUp model will likely require much more work to make it compatible with 3D printing - removing internal faces, overlapping faces, etc.

I have so far been unable to produce an acceptable full-color model directly from SketchUp. A full-color model is likely going to require the use of additional texture-mapping software, and possibly conversion software. (I have had some success exporting as VRML and using Meshlab.)

I'm still a newbie to all this, but I have learned a couple of things to keep in mind when 3D printing is the goal. I'll try to write up some tutorials or examples in the future.

Feature Model: Castle Howard by M. Philipse

Be sure to check out Martin Philipse's Castle Howard SketchUp model posted on the SketchUcation forums. Over a year in the making and simply incredible.

[via RenderPlus Blog ]

Blog Updates

I made a couple small changes to the blog.

Blogger recently added the ability for static Pages on Blogger blogs, so I have moved the Contacts, My Plugins, and other posts to pages. Page links are available just beneath the blog header. I hope to organize a few more pages which contain the more permanent information of past posts.

Also, the feed is now advertising-free.

If you have a SketchUp-related business, product, or service, ad space is available. The companies who have taken ads on my blog have been pleased with the results.

Final Maintenenace Update for SketchUp 6

This will be the last software update for the now 3 years old SketchUp Pro 6. It is a recommended update for all SketchUp Pro 6 users as it fixes security issues.

[ Official SketchUp Blog ]

Construction Line Tool Update version 1.0

I quietly updated my Construction Line Tool a few weeks ago. No complaints so far, so here is the official release.

Changes include:

* Version 1.0
* Added infinite Construction Line creation. Hit Ctrl again to cycle.
* Added selecting the 4 Construction lines types available in SU.
* Fixed clipping on start-up.
* Created a Windows Installer.
* changed the name of the Toolbar to JF Tools. (This may un-settle your Toolbar positions.)

See Construction Line Tool Post Page

Download Page

SketchUp -> Shapeways Experiment

My curiosity finally got the better of me and I sent a job off to Shapeways for 3D printing.

I didn't have anything specific in mind to print, but I did want to keep the model fairly simple. So I opened SketchUp and came up with a small house inspired by these SketchUp Icons and the houses used in the game Monopoly:

SketchUp Icon and Monopoly Inspired House (with Lego shown for Scale)

One of the first considerations to make is which material to use. Shapeways offers a number of materials each with different cost and physical properties.

Initially, I designed the Icon House as a single solid (although hollowed-out on the bottom) to be printed using the full-color sandstone material. Not only is the material continuous full-color but it is also the least expensive at $0.99/cu. cm.

In order to use the full-color material, the model needs to be uploaded in VRML2 (.wrl) format. Although SketchUp Pro can export to VRML, I was not able to produce an acceptable model directly from SketchUp. I am still not sure where the problem was - whether it is in the export or my model, but I was never able to produce a model that was accepted by Shapeways.

Shapeways also accepts COLLADA files for upload, and since I wasn't having any luck with the VRML, that seemed like a reasonable next choice.

Using COLLADA, you can use any of the other materials, so I decided to use the next least expensive material called White, Strong & Flexible (WSF). WSF seemed like a good choice at $1.50/cu. cm.

I still wanted a multi-color model, but since the WSF material is solid color, that would mean splitting the model into parts - one for each color. (I am assuming I can glue the parts together once they arrive.)

WSF also happens to be available in colors that closely match the colors in the model; namely White, Black, and Terracotta.

With each part separated, I exported each one as a COLLADA file (.dae), and uploaded them to Shapeways. Models need to be at least the minimum size and also be manifold to be accepted. After some minor cleanup, my models were accepted.

Once uploaded, I could then order each part in any of the available materials and colors. There is a $4 per part charge plus an extra sales tax per cubic cm for dyed materials.

Even with the extra charges and tax, the total cost was still not outrageous. Here are the parts and prices after uploading:

Link to parts on Shapeways

The cost for ordering the 4 parts in the desired colors came to $17, but since there is a $25 minimum, I ended up buying 2 of each for a grand total of $34.00 (including tax and shipping.)

The parts should be here in about 10 days, at which time I'll follow-up with some pictures. If the quality is reasonable, I'll also make the parts available publicly on Shapeways if anyone wants to order a "kit" for yourself.

Plugin: Manifold 2.2 for SketchUp

TIG continues to release great plug-ins at an amazing rate. Manifold is a SketchUp plug-in which...

looks at the contents of a selected group and tries to fix it so it is 'manifold' for 3D-printing etc.

The group needs to be a 3D shape which is fully surfaced without internal divisions or intraneous/extraneous geometry/entities...

When run...

It removes 'non-face/non-edge' entities.
It removes 'disconnected geometry'.
It removes 'unfaced-edges'.
It runs an initial 'health-check' and reports.
It removes face 'flaps'.
It heals 'holes'.
It removes 'internal faces'.
It orients all faces consistently to face 'outwards'.
It erases 'coplanar edges' [optional].
It 'triangulates' all of the faces [optional].
It highlights major errors.

Manifold is available via SketchUcation Forums

WWX Dovetails for Sketchup (wudworx)

Here's a new commercial ($18) plugin for creating dovetails in Sketchup.

The plugin does flat dovetail arrays, and also half blind and through dovetails for instant joinery. It uses a configurable set of parameters that keep their values between operations and also after SketchUp has been restarted.

WWX Dovetails for Sketchup (wudworx)

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