Help Wanted

Hello all,

I am looking for someone to help me develop 3D load building software within SketchUp. I’m honestly not sure how to properly explain what I am looking for. It may be best if you are interested to reach out and start a conversation.


You are speaking of a plugin to plan the stacking and fitment of freight in trucks, trailers and shipping containers ?

I believe that is correct>

We ship product primarily on 53’ drop deck trucks. Our products vary greatly in shape and size. The standard CUBE shipping programs do not work for us. We also ship in any quantity our customers want, and almost always multiple drops per truck. We schedule the load route then have a team build all the product from the individual drops, which may contain multiple sales orders, into a truck layout. I would like to streamline this process.

Are product ever stacked ? Or are you just concerned with footprints not colliding ?

Do you already have 3D components modeled for the truck bed and products ?
(In any format, .skp or one of those that can be imported into SketchUp.)

Products are stacked regularly, and not in a nice square and clean format. We are in the agriculture industry. Gates, Panels, feeders etc. Most items ship with no packaging. We also put products inside other products, under, between, above, however we can make it fit on the truck. Basically a large 3d Tetris Puzzle.

We do have engineered drawings of most if not all products. What we don’t have, our engineering department can create.

What do you envision the “streamlining” goals of the plugin ?

Please understand that collision detection is not built into SketchUp or it’s APIs.
So we have to use workarounds.

This does not sound good or at least easy for any auto layout algorithm. At best, it would still be a manual workflow where a person whose good at puzzles virtually stacks the load in SketchUp.

So, I don’t much see that you need a full plugin extension. Ie, most work can be done as is using native SketchUp functionality and skp components.

You may benefit from one of the component placing extensions that allow rotating or spinning a component whilst still on the cursor before placement.

Also perhaps an extension “check” utility that does rudimentary collision checks and highlights what it thinks are items that have interference.

Your points are good. I believe I completely agree.

I do not need it to “auto layout” or collision detection. My team will manually place the products where we want them to live on the load.

What I would like:

A truck route is generated out of our trucking software. It will export an asset list by stop in a CSV file.
I would like Sketchup to read the data from the CSV file to create models, color coded by stop. There will be multiple models built for each stop. 1 model per item number, with the proper number of items per the asset list, stacked side by side. I would also need the option to simply split each model if we run into a situation where the quantity of items is too large for where we want to put the model.

I’m sure there is more, I’m trying to explain my crazy thoughts. Sorry if it is confusing.

Not a problem, Ruby core can do this easily.

You really need to have a component library so the product models are prebuilt.

This will likely be done with colored tags (what other CAD software calls “layers”.)

You can use a template model that has the tags predefined with your preference of colors.
(Mine would be to follow EIA color code for resistor specs and wire colors. But you can come up with any scheme you desire.)

Anyway, … the components for a stop, would be assigned a tag, and SketchUp’s rendering set to “Color by Tag”.

Your template document can also have predefined scene pages that have different rendering options set, so your user can simply switch between scene tabs to see the load in different ways. (Color by Tag, Natural materials, X-ray, monochrome [ie, for printing or plotting,] etc.)

Each scene can also have it’s own camera location.

Grouping and placing the group as a whole. No problem. An input box can allow the user to configure the “stacking” matrix … ie, how many wide, deep and tall.

You are doing fine.

For stacking, you could use one of the ready models in the 3D warehouse …

You’ll also need to see if there are any of your product premodeled.
If not you’ll need to hire someone to model your product components and build up a library.

This all sounds very promising. I have reached out to our engineering team about the CAD files we already have. It is my hope, we can use our existing dwgs and import them into Sketchup to create the models/components. From there, I will need someone to help put this all together. Is this a project you would be able to take on? If not, would you be able to point me in the right direction?

Hi @dannd588,

If I understand correctly you are looking for a way to:

  1. Automatically load in models into the SketchUp model.
  2. automatically give them a color depending on their destination.
  3. Manually place/order them on a truck (or multiple trucks). I personally would also like to explore if there is a way to automate this. The problem is called “3d bin packaging” for which solutions exist, although I have not yet encountered one in SketchUp.

Are goods also being picked up along the track?

I believe I can help you by creating a custom extension for this. Please let me know if you want to have a conference call about it to better explain the desired workflow and allow me to show some custom extension I have built for companies all over the world during the passed 10 years :slight_smile:


I cannot at this time, but Ken can help you.

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Thank you @DanRathbun, you’ve been a big help in pointing me in the right direction.


Hello Ken,

thanks for reaching out. For the most part you are on track, as to automating the process, I believe in our situation, we will always have to have a live person manually designing the load layout. Our products very greatly in shape and size. When using automated load building software, we have very poor utilization of the space. All the current software I’ve seen, likes to cube products into nice square packages. This does not work for our product. Which is what has lead me to an actual 3d modeling software such as sketchup.

It would be great to have a conference call! I do a lot through TEAMS, I’d be happy to set up a call, or your welcome to use another platform if you prefer. my email is Phone: 606-787-3642

I’ll look forward to hearing from you.


@dannd588 you should have been contacted by email :slight_smile:

Kind regards,