Channel letter Returns RESOLVED

I am in the process of learning the trial version of Sketchup Pro.
I work at a Sign Company and we build Pylons, Monuments, Neon Channel letters ETC.

My goal is to draw and send to fabrication Channel letters, Files for the backs, the returns, Faces ETC.
Also constructing Monument Bases, Poles etc with cut list available.
If I could accomplish this than I would most likely purchase Sketchup, Not sure what version I would need for this.
Anyone else use Sketchup for this? I have heard this is possible.
Any help greatly appreciated.


Most likely you’ll want SketchUp Pro so you also have LayOut. Can you share an example or two of what you are trying to model?

I will upload a sample shortly.
Thank you for responding

1 Like

Valmont Sample.pdf (542.6 KB)

OK. You could model that sort of thing in SketchUp. You might experiment with 3D Text and probably the Solid Tools or better, Eneroth Solid Tools or Bool Tools2 which are both extensions.

One thing to keep in mind is that SketchUp represents curves as a series of short edge segments usually this sort of thing isn’t a problem but it depends on how you need to use the resulting model. Exported 3D CAD files for example can convert the segmented curves into smooth curves, for example.

Ok, I will go find some lessons on Layout. See what I can do with that.

I work with Coreldraw, What do i need to export my vector as in order to import to sketch up?
I have tried several types with fail

LayOut is 2D only and is really the documentation side of things. SketchUp is where you would create your 3D model. That PDF you supplied could be done entirely in SketchUp and LayOut.

Hi Sheri!

I also use CorelDRAW to draft shop drawings for a full fabrication sign company.
While I find Sketchup Pro to be a very valuable tool for my more complicated projects, I haven’t dived into LayOut as much. Mostly I use Sketchup for pylon structures as I have found it time consuming to draw all parts of a set of channel letters for a full Sketchup model… If there are any extensions out there to make trimcaps and return flanges easier, I’d love to find them!


Often I will start with CorelDRAW to generate scaled vector graphics to base my 3D models from in Sketchup Pro. For some reason CorelDRAW isn’t great at exporting DXF files that import nicely into Sketchup so I use the free software Inkscape as a go-between. Once I have a 3D model that I’m happy with, then I’ll export various “views” in vector PDF format for my shop drawings in CorelDRAW.

Here’s a few drawings I’ve done recently using this process…

BDO Letters on Rails - ISO.pdf (194.7 KB)
Crichigno Orthodontics - Pylon Sign.pdf (1.3 MB)
Stoney Creek BIA - Pylon Sign.pdf (697.1 KB)

I’m sure if I invested the time to learn LayOut that would make cut lists and bills of materials much easier to generate. I know there are import / export options for Excel spreadsheets for this purpose but so far I haven’t explored all the possibilities.

Hi Joshua,
Thank you for sharing your drawings, I looks like you have spent a good amount of time learning and utilizing Sketchup.
Uhg, I have not been successful at utilizing Coreldraws DXF file for the routers .Also not able to export SCV files. and now sketchup.
I appreciate this tip. Downloading now.
I would surely use trimcap and return flange extensions also, if I do find any I will let you know.
Are you able to export all the returns, backs, faces from sketchup to the routers, accubend trimcap notcher etc?

Not sure that Sketchup would be best for exporting files to CNC router tables or Accubend machines… Sketchup’s native drawing tools turn vector curves into line sections and also does the same when importing vector graphics. Better to stick with Corel for exporting DXF files to the shop for fabrication.

See this video to know how to get SketchUp to export true curves:

Hi Colin,
I am trying to export from Sketchup Pro to Corel Draw.
I tried to export in 3d like your video however i am not having any luck.
Almost all nodes are not connected. And alot of nodes.
Any other suggestion?

While you are working on the model you can click the three lines menu button in the upper left of the modeling space, and choose Download. If you’re willing to let us see the model, download the model and then attach it to your next reply.