Changing materials from a CAD drawing

I am new to SketchUP Pro. I work with a builder and we are trying to change different materials on an existing CAD plan. The main purpose of this program for us, will be to show customers different materials mainly on the outside of the building/home. Would SketchUP be what we’re looking for? Or any other recommendations?

You could use SketchUp to show different materials on buildings or whatever. There are a number of ways to actually do it in SketchUp. Which exact method kind of depends on what you have to start with as your model.

Exactly what do you mean by “CAD plan”.

We were sent a DWG file. I’m not an architect and I’m completely overwhelmed by trying to learn and navigate through sketchup.

Do not instantly try and build the house from a dwg. Go through the Sketchup examples/training vids. Play around. Screw it up on something simple first. Get the basics down. You can do this in 2 hours. If you combine the two, you will make some BIG mistakes on the house model that will take way more than 2 hours to fix. Learn the basics first. Then go screw up the paid work. :wink:

So some basics: 1) You can import the dwg into sketchup. That’s easy. Depending on how careful the person that drew it was, you may have some cleanup to do. I often have things projecting up into space despite being a ‘2d’ drawing in Autocad. Often this is caued by autocad blocks that are dynamic, sometimes from lazy drafting practices.
I use the excellent “Architect Tools” by TomTom and then ‘Flatten’ icon. Then I try to close as many not-quite-connected like they’re supposed to be edges/lines with TomTom’s Edge-Tools2. Both are free on the Sketchup plugin store. This makes making faces a lot easier for extruding when possible.

  1. Now that it’s all flat, get rid of as much as possible that you don’t need. Like furniture layers, toilet symbols, etc.
    Autocad door and window detail are often lots of very detailed, very tiny little lines which do nothing for you except slow Sketchup down eventually. Note that turning a layer (Tags) off doesn’t remove the geometry, it makes it invisible. Since Sketchup can draw a line over invisible geometry, it will also interfere with it when that geometry becomes visible again, so take precautions and see 3).

  2. Pretty much EVERYTHING you draw in sketchup that is a ‘thing on its own’ should be turned into a group or a component. The latter is great if you’re going to have 100 of them, like a fence post, and want to be able change one and have all 100 alter simultaneously. I setup a shortcut via the keyboard to not waste time right-clicking and choosing group so much.
    e.g. draw first floor walls and extrude them up. Make them a group.
    Draw a window off to the side, make it a component, then place it into the walls. Now the two are kept separate and wont interfere with one another and changing one instance of that window in the house will update all the other windows like it, without 50 copies being changed.

Not saying for a second that you should not learn SU - it is fantastic, versatile software. But, if this is a once off, and unless you are intending to use SU on an ongoing basis, and particularly if you have any time constraints, engage some one to build this model. Applying textures, etc has relatively few things that can go wrong, whereas an easily made simple mistake in the construction phase can hand you hours of frustration and pain. There will most likely a SU pro somewhere close who will know you building code, etc.