Exporting 2d faces for CNC

By the way, @ChrisDizon - are you aware of anything existing that do this?

No guarantees but VCarve can take skp & dxf files and layout the parts for CNC. The software is geared for small woodworking projects but it might be able to be used for larger CNC work.

Here are a few videos showing the import process.


Thanks for the input, man! You’re actually one of my heroes, and I really admire what you do for this community. I use your milling tools plugin every day!

I’ve been going through the basic Ruby and SketchUp api tutorials I’ve found and trying to learn the basics from the ground up. It’ll be a while and whatever I come up with will undoubtedly be hacked together for my personal use, so don’t expect anything on my end :slight_smile:

I’ve been pondering about this thing for a couple of weeks - and the idea for such an extension is appealing more and more. Espesially when I started describing it here.

It should also be trivial to determine the thickness of the materials and group parts of similar thickness. One could go even further and group by SU material in case you got multiple materials of similar thickness (espesially for laser cuttting). And then one could either generate SU geometry, or maybe a LayOut document.

It’s quite possibly that I’ll be looking into this the next couple of weeks - as I’m starting my vacation in a couple of days. :slight_smile:

I’ll post back with updates if I make any progress.

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…and… as I’m sitting here modelling up my laser-work. An extension to quickly create intersecting tabs between two parts.

I had to start tinker on a proof of concept…


One face missing ? left or right ?:slight_smile:

Looks like it consolidated the sides and front/back…

Currently one face per definition. But it’s just proof of concept right now. Next step is making one per instance and handle nested instances.

So… We’ll see that… In an hour or so?? :wink:

Yes, that’s exactly what I had in mind! You’re a freaking wizard…

One thing you might want to consider, in pretty much all of my CNC designs I’ll have some parts that I design with symmetry using 2 components and hiding the touching faces. Do you think your extension could detect that and combine them into 1 face? Also, it probably goes without saying but if you can implement your milling tools extension into this one that would be perfect…

Somewhat more challenging, maybe not for MVP. But can you share a sample model?

You know what, I was thinking yesterday after the tinkering that this part-extraction tool might fit well bundled with Milling Tools instead of being a new extension.

C9-14.skp (2.1 MB)

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Thank you. I think it can be possible to treat these components as one by checking hidden edges - then looking for another component with matching hidden edges. It’ll add to processing, but it should be possible.

I think @ericschimel do something similar.

I was thinking thinking you could just scan for hidden edges, and if you detect one just mirror across it. This is the only thing I use hidden lines for, so that might not be a good general solution, though.


That could work as well. It would simplify things. Only need to look for a closed loop of hidden edges and infer the mirroring direction from that.

I think you are all brilliant. Your tools have saved me countless hours of manual work. THANK YOU!

We manufacture lighting and I have been searching for an extension that would do just this! Building an extension is beyond me, but boy would this be useful. We have a plasma, cnc router and a laser in our operation. I design on Sketchup and can share concepts with clients quickly which we love. We now have taken the next step to flattening out designs to create cutting path dxf files, but that is a lot of time that seems like it could be automated. Unwrap and Flatten Faces Extension seems to bring us part of the way. We have been using SketchuCam very successfully for direct export of Gcode to run the router on. That is a really nice piece of work that they have really kept up with and expanded in a clear, user-friendly way.

Thomthom: we are trying to develop the ability to make boxes parametrically that can unfold and be cut on the laser (nested automatically, hopefully). I was thinking it might be done through dynamic components where we could enter the height, width, and length of the box and then the thickness of the material and preferred range of width of fingers that would then create a 3d box with interlocking finger joints. Then press a button and have the faces lay out on a defined sheet size.

If anyone is close on this extension that would get us a long way to that goal. I can think of a bunch of uses for something like this.

As I was working on my test model I quickly found that creating the tabs for each part to lock into was fiddly. Been pondering tools to simplify that… though I wish to maintain easy editability. Maybe making these edges into DCs could be a solution… needs a ponder…

Anyway - I’ll be off the grid for a week, starting my vacation. Will have some more time when I get back.