3D Export rant

I know this has been discussed to death - I just want to rant a bit. :slight_smile:

PLEASE - dear Trimble - give us an easy, straight forward way to export Blocky type Geometry into DWG & STP Solids. Real solids. Not triangulated-Mesh-Somethings. I feel that there should be a way. Like if you can get rid of all the triangles with the Cleanup2 Extension Sketchup should be able to tell that a multi sided planar surface does not need to be divided into triangles. I am sure it is tricky to program but you just brought the entirety of Sketchup to the iPad so I figure you should have a lot of bright minds to be able to tackle this fundamental work-flow problem.

Point in case - in these pictures you see some walls. these are plain old thickened geometries - something you cut from a plank in the end. There are some cutouts but all in all it’s as simple as 3D Geometry gets. And I can’t get it to export so that our manufacturer can open it. I will need to redraw EVERYTHING in SolidWorks now to generate proper STEP files that the STEP->CNC converter can use. The DWG Files are ■■■■ as well because they just exported “meshed” surfaces and even though they are totally plain meshed surfaces it makes a heck of a difference to these programs and they simply won’t accept them (you can see this especially well if you import it to Rhino than all the hidden triangulation pops out.

So please, please, please: work on your exporters. It’s not fancy. It’s not shiny. It’s hard to create glamorous screenshots from that for release notes - but your community will thank you for it!!!

Rant over.

Wandbau-LH10-Family-2022-11-19.skp (238.6 KB)
Wandbau-LH10-Family-2022-11-19 3D.dwg (495.3 KB)


I don’t have AutoCad but Autodesk DWG TrueView 2021 doesn’t triangulate the faces so it has probably been done by the Rhino importer.
All your wall components are not SketchUp Solids. I forget the exact workflow, but I seem to remember being able to see SketchUp solids as ACIS solids in AutoCad. Faceted they are, as retrofitting a NURBS surface on a mesh object is usually not possible.
BTW, there is much less triangulation if you import the SketchUp model into Rhino directly.

I seem to recall Fusion360 has a tool to convert/clean imported .skp to something .STEP/CNC will play nice with.
It is limited and may need some small “hands on” fixing, but from what you posted and what I recall about the tool, it may do a very nice job since the relative simplicity of your file geometry.


I agree.
Step files are a standard now and it’s about time Trimble… step up their game and provide native export. :wink:
I couldn’t care less for the reasons and technical details about nurbs or other types of bowel noises (so don’t bother, and no, STL and OBJ aren’t good enough), so just get it done already.

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I’m pretty sure no one will.


Couldn’t help:
In CAM, somewhat. It is a solid format. SketchUp is a face modeller.

About being “standard”: I have been doing CAD and 3D modelling now for 37 years, and I have never had to use or produce a Step file.


Like @Anssi I’ve never once been required or even asked to supply a STEP file. Whether or not they add this as an export option, though, it’s pretty clear it’ll never be added to the version you are using.
Screenshot - 4_28_2023 , 2_05_26 PM

Not everyone uses it just for architecture. :wink:

Yes. I rarely use it for architecture.

For information - and future traçability - Stephane opened a thread about step files here.

Hey, what a coincidence, I work in CAM too! :metal:
Since we both work in CAM we both know the file formats of choice for job setup and toolpath generation are STEP and IGES (but STEP is widely preferred).
So naturally that’s also the file formats we exchange with customers and providers.

I don’t have Inventor HSM/CAM at home, obviously, so I use Sketchup to quickly whip up some ideas besides using it for my hobbies (woodworking, 3D printing, sheet metal work). Whichever format you choose to export from Sketchup, you always end up with unwanted artifacts, missing faces, vertices etc, and when back in the office after importing in Autocad I need to clean everything up. Btw, for the hobby part, most slicers like Prusa Slicer accept STEP files directly and it actually gives much better results than with STL. STL is an archaic and outdated format. Don’t use it.

Now, it’d be nice if Sketchup could play along with everybody else in the sandbox and import/export STEP files so we could easily work across different CAD systems and even export to CAM. You know, like literally every other CAD system is capable of. :roll_eyes:

Not being compatible with anything else is just one way software becomes obsolete.
STEP is such an obvious choice I didn’t think I’d have to explain and justify it. :smirk:

You misread, sorry, I work in architecture, not CAM, that’s why I have never needed the formats supported by the likes of Solidworks or Inventor.

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please, PLEASE, bother to do it. explain, justify. if apparently right now you know stuff we don’t, and you base your decisions on it, please tell us.

Yeah, I mean, archiCAD doesn’t do it, REVIT doesn’t do it natively nor does autoCAD… you need to export the file and reimport in in inventor and reexport it (for autodesk), archicad recommends to export an ifc and use an external converter.


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