Engineering drawing creation



I have a project in mind that will have to create a set of electrical/mechanical engineering drawings by running a design program that populates three categories of objects on respective drawing sheets.

These three types are: (all in 2D)

  1. static standard equipment detail not project specific
  2. electrical calculations
  3. dynamic details, project specific

There will be a list of ~ 50 modules/equipment that will combine and create a drawing set using electrical and physical dimension inputs provided by the user. I am trying to learn what the best software OR combination of software is for this application? SketchUp seems to have some engineering templates and lots of modular designs. How does it work with algorithmic design, which follows some pre-defined design rules and fills out the templates and equipment location/labeling? (avoiding CAD environment as much as possible.) something as simple as creating an electrical one-line.



Here is a list of all the functions vailable in DC’s:

you can determine if they are appropriate for your needs.
there is no ability to create geometry on the fly so any possible configuration has to be predetermined.

Just guessing but variations of 50 modules seems extremely complex.
I have not seen any examples of that sort of thing. Probably most people doing really complex stuff use Ruby


Also, SketchUp is a 3D modeler, most similar to AutoCAD’s model space. It does not have a built-in paper space that could directly sync with “drawing sheets.” (But you can only draw upon the XY ground plane, if you so desire.)

But SketchUp Pro editions also come with a companion paper space application called LayOut.
In SketchUp, a user creates scene pages that look at the model from certain camera location(s), and then these are used as viewports of the model from within LayOut pages.

SketchUp has a “live” Ruby API for automation, but LayOut currently lacks a “live” API, so any automation needs to be done in SketchUp.


Thanks for the feedback, think about it this way, let’s divide a sheet into four sections 1,2,3,4.

  1. In this section, the program has to grab and paste a pre-drawn equipment detail, same for all designs

  2. In this section, the program has to grab and paste a pre-drawn detail which will be chosen based on design parameters given by the user

  3. In this section, the program has to grab and paste an excel calculation sheet from a pre-defined location.

  4. In this section, the program has to grab and paste a pre-drawn template and then add required text labels based on a pre-defined algorithm such a labeling equipment 1, 2,3, 4, … per design inputs.

Is something like this possible on SketchUp?


Again,… SketchUp is a 3D model space application. It does not have “sheets”.

But it’s Pro edition companion, is LayOut. In LayOut is where your sheets would reside, and each one of your “sections” 1, 2 and 4 would be a viewport looking into a SketchUp model (".skp" file.) Your section 3 would be a LayOut 2017+ table linked to a external Excel file.

But Layout does not yet have a “live” automation API, but there is a static C API. The C API can be leveraged from within SketchUp’s Ruby process (because the Ruby language is implemented in C.)
So things can be automated from within SketchUp (but only during “.layout” file creation,)… think clicking a button and an extension creates the new LayOut file, sets up the sheets, creates the viewports (“sections”) linking them to the SketchUp model(s), and the external Excel sheet.

Sections 1, 2 and 3 are no problem. 4 can be basically setup without issue, … but …

I will not guarantee, that there will not be some manual work within the LayOut file afterward. Ie, the labeling of parts (callouts) in section 4. I am not sure can be done automatically. Perhaps yes, if the callouts already exist in the template, and can be identified by attribute, and that attribute mated with a line item in the Excel worksheet.

But you will need to develop this functionality, or hire someone to do so for you. This kind of specialized workflow is not part of the core feature set of SketchUp/LayOut (yet.)

For an example of a SketchUp extension that creates a LayOut file with each model scene page imported as a viewport on a separate sheet, see the link in this topic thread:

[Create LayOut File from Scenes] talk, bugs & feature requests


I had no idea that a DC can grab a excel sheet -I do not know how that would be done.

It can be done with Ruby script though.

I really see no technical problem with creating a 2d “Sheet” with symbols and text on it that is printed from Sketchup.
Layout is not needed. As long as you know what text and where it needs to be

DC’s are relatively easy to program but learning Ruby is a different story -unless you are already an experienced programmer.

As programming goes Ruby is somewhat equivalent to dbase but for CAD maybe like LISP. It is a higher level object oriented language.


I did not say nor imply a DC could, nor do I think Buster did. He is new, and does not know what SketchUp, or DCs or LayOut can and cannot do.

Ie, I suspect your comment is with respect to the thread being opened within the Dynamic Components category, but the original request does not fit the category, nor mention DCs in any way.
(For this reason I am moving it to the Pro category temporarily. It may need to be moved later to the Developers category, if it continues to discuss the development of the OP’s automation needs.)

To be more specific,… SketchUp does not have native excel worksheet embedding, but LayOut 2017+ does. (And the link can be sync’d just as other external references can.)

SketchUp does not have a native worksheet embedding, so this fact, and that the treatment of multiple viewports (he calls “sections”,) is a paper space workflow, and best suited for LayOut. Add to this that his workflow is a professional one, requiring a Pro license, so he might as well leverage LayOut since it’ll be installed and there for the using.

Try doing a forum search on printing from SketchUp, and see how easy it is … not.

Yes you might be able to work in parallel projection from a top view and only use 2D, but none of the automation that he wants to do are native core features anyway. So he’ll need programming whether or not he uses a SketchUp only workflow, or one that includes both.
So the need for an extension, does not really dictate whether LayOut is used or not. He is going to need to have programming done regardless.

The determining factor, in my opinion, is the native integration of Excel worksheets into LayOut 2017+ as linked tables, native viewports looking into other model files and the ease of printing sheets, (as it is a paper space application.)

I think, it is a matter of giving the advice for the workflow matching the way that SketchUp and LayOut were designed.

Why go out of your way to “hack” out some alternative workflow that is harder and more difficult ?