Looking for some insight

Hey Guys
I’m looking for some insight into this workflow I am experimenting with.

First of alI use sketchup for a few different things. I build Light Gauge Steel houses in South Africa, but orginally I’m from Connecticut were I built commercial and residential for 15 plus years. I use sketchup in this aspect more as a constructability assessment tool where I will overlay multiple models and will also detail areas as needed.

Another project I have been doing is small panelized cabins that we design, build and sell to clients like game farms and lodges.

The first few I design was a bit of a slog, I was making components and building panels and the results were good. From a single model I could create presentation documents, plans, shop drawings, and with Open Cut List, quotes and bill of materials.

The issue comes when you need to make changes to the design. You have to go back and redo framing and cladding and so on.

So on my latest work I purchased some Medeek pluggins and have been very impressed with them. The drawing/drafting stage has been shorten significantly.

My workflow right now goes like this
Draw with Medeek
Export to dxf
import back to shetchup into a Nick Sonders based template.
Paint components with textures from OCL
Clean up and start to run the documentation process using a mix of Sonder’s templates and Scenes from Medeek’s scene creator.

My biggest issue is Medeek wall creates everything as groups which OCL doesn’t recognize. By exporting it as a dxf It changes all the groups into components which OCL can recognize. But two things happen when I do this. First Medeek can no longer modify the walls, To make changes I have to go back to the original Medeek model and amend and then depending on the changes, go through the steps again. This can be the whole model or just a panel. Second is exporting removes the textures so I need to replace them.

Ideally I would love to be able the whole exporting thing and be able to run OCL directly off of the Medeek model. I would also like to see some changes in OCL. I know that it really isn’t designed to do buildings but with a few tweaks it can be really powerful for this. I would like to see for instance, the sheet goods material not be defined by the bounding box but to the face area. This would work by taking your standard sheet size and dividing it into the face are giving you your material quantity. This would definitely help with irregular shapes as well.

I really love these add-ons @medeek, and @boris.beaulant and @Sonder. I was hoping if anyone has any suggestions please let me know.
I also added a Medeek model and an OCL model if anyone is interested in checking them out.
Bernard meedek.skp (3.2 MB)

Bernard OCL.skp (1.9 MB)

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A couple years ago I decided to try and eliminate “components” from the wall assemblies in the Wall plugin. Initially the wall studs were components. However, I soon realized that for every component created SketchUp was doing a lot of work behind the scenes (ie. creating preview images). This behind the scenes stuff was actually making the model quite bloated and making SketchUp sluggish. Other developers I spoke to also noted the same behavior and so after some head scratching and further discussion I decided to move away from components and create all of the geometry as simple groups.

I am curious as to why OCL will only recognize components and not include groups. If it can handle components then it should also be able to handle groups in a similar fashion.

I agree, exporting to a dxf and then converting everything to components will essentially disable the parametric ability of the Medeek Wall extension, which takes away all of its power and efficiency.

I have no intention of switching back to components but I am wondering if OCL can enable the ability to calculate groups.

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Hi @ckaven3

I appreciate that you want to use OpenCutList for this kind of build, but yes components could be a problem there.

Hi @medeek

Even if I understand that in house building (or all big projects), we can consider each part as a unique instance of its own definition, it’s not really the same in furniture world. For example a table can contains 4 legs and we need to be sure that those 4 instances share the same definition to say legs count = 4 without comparing each geometry of 4 groups.

Then OpenCutList was mainly designed around components that so as not to reinvent the wheel. We need a system the identify identical parts and the components system is fully designed for that.

Catching component instance only to compute parts as the other advantage to easily separate what is a part of what is not a part in the model without using a tweak in the name or something like that.

Some other advantages :

  • Easier to export a single part with all its metadata : just export the component to SKP
  • Easier to duplicate a part with its metadata : just create a new instance

Over that OpenCutList add some useful metadata on each part (like options, price, mass, badges, …). And it’s lighter to store them one time even if the part is placed several times in the model.

OpenCutList is just a reader. The model stays the data structure that hold geometry and metadata. Then it should be structured for that. And component’s systems is a native way to do this :wink:

Then I’m afraid that OpenCutList will never use groups to detect parts.

If I understand, what you need is a nesting tool. This is not a trivial geometric problem.
OCL and other basic cut list systems use rectangles because it largely simplify the problem and then the computation resources needed.

Even if quite everything is computable by a computer, this is not just a tweak :slight_smile:

I’ve used SVGnest when I had a laser, and latter Deepnest - same people, more advanced tool, and it’s open source. maybe something to dig here some day ?

Check Groups to Components, you will need TT_lib as well:


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Thanks for the response Boris.

I don’t think a nesting tool per se. As I am not looking for a cutting list for my sheet goods but more of a quantity. So for instance, I have a wall that is cladded with a 117x19x3600 mm long t and g pine, I can paint the plane, set it as a sheetgood, add my cost to the material and it will generate a quant and cost. If the client wants a horizontal hardy plank I can add it to my material library and with a few clicks regenerate a cost. So now if I have a gable end the area calculated is twice of the actual wall face.

I do know that OCL is not really geared for this I build furniture as well and it’s how I came across OCL, but I can tell you it actually works quiet well once you get your head around it.

Thanks again and thanks for the work that goes into OCL.

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Thanks for the Reply. I am finding a way to make it work. I am thinking that once your able to get you estimating module a little further a long it will do what I need, I am sure if I had any excel experience I could whip up a spreadsheet that could extract all the info I need for your reporting now.

Big thanks to you for your incredible work. Always looking forward to see what you got coming out next.
I did enjoy your last video “why sketch-up” it was nice change up to the tutorials.

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I undestand :slight_smile:

Few years ago I added the “actual area” feature for an house builder company that need to calculate the true area of isolating.

Example :

You have to enable it :

Is this what you need ?

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This is it. Wow. Super. Now can I some how add a standard board size and it would say “you need 22 sheets of plywood” so it kind of skips the cutting list and jus adds it to the Estimate?

Very impressed. Cant believe it was hiding there the whole time.

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As I understand you need the invert feature of what OCL cutting diagram does. You draw a part larger than standard board size and want to know how many standard board you need to fill it, isn’t it ?

This is not currently possible in OCL. And it’s not a trivial geometric problem too. Because we need more constrains to achieve this (desired orientation, where to place the first sheet, …)

Not necessarily. In furniture this may matter like when I designed my kitchen cabinets, I used the orientation for my birch ply. But in house building things like insulation or drywall, it really wouldn’t matter. It’s less of a geometry function and a simple equation. Area of surface /area of standard sheet size= quantity of board.

I do realise that this type of quantity surveying is really the intended market and this is an easily determined number by some easy math but still would be kinda cool to see it work.

There is another handy plugin I’ve played with which might do a few things you need (or at least compliment some other extensions)- it works with groups by default for example
ABF Extension (getabf.net)

I grabbed a random cabinet from 3dwarehouse

3 clicks gave me this

It will each material on the sketchup model by material and thickness

You’ll have to watch a few videos with youtube auto translating to figure out some bits, but it has some really handy features. You can see how they use this is a commercial environment too

Here is what I want to talk about with “orientation” :

If you just need the ratio between the 2 areas, you could tweak it from export formulas. But you have to hard coding the standard board size.

And the result for each part :

Oh alright that looks like the answer. I’m going to give it a go. Can I some how “attach” that formula to a material? So if I am calculating insulation and gypsum each will have a different standard size. Or would I need to do the formula for each sheet material seperate, each time.

And thanks a lot for the insight I really do appreciate it.

Thanks. I’m going to have a go with this and see what I can get.

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You can customize formula like that :