Earthworks planning & measuring on Infrastructure Projects

Hi there all
I’m an estimator in Civil Infrastructure and often struggle with working out earthworks method & quantities. I get there in the end but find if very labour intensive.
I use extensions like;
Eneroth Terrain Volume
Solid Tools
Solid Inspector
I see there’s a Cut n Fill extension which I haven’t tried yet. As this costs a little I thought I’d check if there’s any good feedback on it?
Or if there are other good Extensions for earthworks?
Or some good tips?
As it sometimes feels we’re a bit out in the cold trying to do Infrastructure stuff with SketchUp.
thanks and look forward to a good chat.

I’d add Toposhaper, SoapSkinBubble, Artisan, Curviloft, and Vertex tools to the list of terrain modelling tools. Some of them might be good for you. Also I like TIG’s Height above Datum tool. And you’ve probably seen ValiArchitects tools for roads, terrain, and retaining walls.
I don’t use cut and fill, because in my work no one’s asking for it. I think people do well with it. I do site models for architectural visualization and in our own design process, not for civil design.

Ideas. More and more I like to start with nice regular terrain from Toposhaper and respect that geometry as much as possible, sometimes wedding new work carefully to the existing grid vertices. less mess down the line. I always keep a version of the existing terrain in place on a separate layer and component, or in a matching model to patch back in as needed. If I drape a road or something I see if I can do it on a copy of the terrain and keep it a separate entity and not ruin the main topography with “drape”.

I’d be interested in seeing what you do.

thanks pbacot
this is the one I’m grappling with at the mo. should keep me out a mischief this easter
So this is the clients survey of the existing terrain with my 1st stage of the earthworks cut

this is the final design surface not showing the new building

So I then tried a Solid Tools Split, hoping it would result in the Cut & Fill volumes, but alas, this is what I got…
1 that’s pretty much the design with some of the fill removed
2 some of the fill, but not all
3 remaining existing surface left with holes? and in the foreground the bund from design has fused with the existing ground instead of seperating.

Might be worth trying to simplifying the seperate solids 1st I guess.
the terrains have been imported from CAD so the ‘tops’ aren’t surfaces. Maybe I’ll change them into surfaces 1st, then try again.
you might have guessed, i’m one of those talk to think types. At least I have the family around at the moment, but my wife doesn’t tolerate much of this tech talk so I’ll just have to do with you lot.
thanks and enjoy your Easter

… so here I am, Easter morning, neglecting my family, and Solid Inspector neglecting me too!
Used sandbox to create a surface, Eneroth Terrain Volumed the surface. Scaled up x1000. Solid Inspector found some issues. I had to manually repair these. All done says Solid Inspector, but no volume in Entity Info !!!
Anything else I should have done?

So when I run Solid Inspector without selecting the group ( I only have this 1 group in the drawing, there’s nothing else) I get Nested Instances.
exploded to single entities.
Still no m3 !!!
Could it be that the top is a surface? Tried exploding the surface, but it seems this can’t be done?
I think I better get back to the family now for some morning excersize.

fortunately I saved a previous unedited version that did resolve into a proper solid. So I’m starting again with that one. But still curious as to why I can’t get the edited solid to repair itself back into a solid. Very frustrating and time wasting! A lot of my time is spent resolving solid issues with imported CAD surfaces/terrain.
for this reason I’m still out on a limb trying to justify SU’s viability on larger earthworks models where the design is still done in CAD, imported into SketchUp where us contractors try to manipulate into practical working method / staging models and be able to extract good volume measures.
Maybe I just need to extend my drafting/sketchup skills?
or do others share similar issues?

I’ve had my struggles with terrain solids much simpler than that. You’re brave to take on something that complicated.

Imported CAD linework can be troublesome and unreliable for SU models. One problem can be tiny surfaces that SU refuses to form. That typically is reported by Solid Inspector as a hole somewhere.

Joint Push Pull could be another useful tool. I’ve used it to extrude a terrain surface straight down to create a solid.

What RTCool says about the complexity of the model, and difficulty with CAD import. There are other solid tools plugins you might try. Eneroth makes one.

I think your problem is a combination of two factors:

  1. SolidInspector2 has a very liberal conception of a solid accepting geoemtry where a single edge is connected to more than two faces.

  2. Sketchup sometimes stack faces on top of each other preventing the geometry from being a solid while at the same time being accepted as ok geometry by Solidinspector2. This often happens when you edit triangulated terrain meshes manually.

So, in order to find the faces preventing your geometry from being solid you need to use the old SolidInspector1, which uses the same definitions of solids as Sketchup.

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Solid Inspector 2 for initial check and remove stray edges, then Solid Inspector 1 to locate defects that are then fixed manually. If a real mess has been inherited, use a combination of Clean Up 3, Vertex Tools, and Fredo’s Tools to fix where appropriate.