New to the community


Hello all,

New to the community but have been a big fan of sketchup for many years now. I like to use the program to put ideas on screen to work out issues on various projects i have around the house and shop and it has always been an extremely useful tool. Today I ran into a huge issue… so I bought a new truck recently and it has been wrecked, the front bumper makes so much noise that its nearly intolerable going down the road. So I thought… Hey, Instead of going out and buying an aftermarket offroad bumper, that weighs a ton and doesn’t necessarily fit what i had in mind, I’ll sit down in front of sketchup and design exactly what I want. I shot by the local fab shop and asked if I sent them a cut list could they bang out some 1/8" plate for me, and they said it wouldn’t be an issue whatsoever. So I plopped down in front of the computer, drew the perfect bumper, and now… yeah… i don’t know how to separate the individual parts and put them into a format that the shops laser table is going to recognize. At first I just outlined the panel copied it and then had to manipulate it down onto a flat surface, then add the dimensions, and then realized that other than the protractor tool… which doesn’t leave a dimension behind to read, there is no way of even calling out the different angles of the parts on a cut-list. So again hello to everyone… LOL. Any help to solve this issue would be greatly appreciated.



I hope you drew them as individual groups or components? If so, this will be easy. Just move them apart and reorient them if needed. If not, it’s still possible but somewhat more tedious because you will have to carefully select the edges and faces that define each part and group them.

What format does their laser table require? SketchUp Pro can export many common drawing formats, SketchUp Make which your profile says you use only a much smaller subset. That’s part of what makes it “Pro”.

You are right that SketchUp has no built-in tool to draw angular dimensions (though its Pro package companion LayOut does). There are extensions that fill this gap. Shameless plug: I prefer the one John McClenahan and I wrote:


Thank you so much for the quick and detailed response.
Well unfortunately at the time i was drawing the design i was working angles back from a pulled rectangle so the panels weren’t separated, but now i am just double clicking the outside edge of each panel, copying, moving 36" on the green axis, pulling back out to 1/8" thickness and naming the component. I downloaded the “cut-list” extension, but you think it wont be calling out for the individual angle of the components now?


CutList gives the length, width, and thickness of each group or component but says nothing about angles.


well that’s not good…
I was under the impression that it would show the parts laid out in a flat format…
I don’t think that i should download and pay for pro just to build a bumper one time lol


Regardless for the time being I definitely have to break the design down into the individual comps


The CutList extension was designed for use by woodworkers. As such, it treats each group or component as a rectangular parallelepiped for laying out, since that’s usually the first step in getting stock ready. It doesn’t even show non-rectangular shapes.


Hmmmm… Seems an odd way to design the extension, I’m a carpenter by trade and I have to cut parts at some degree of angle on a quite regular basis… Like virtually all day everyday lol


I totally understand then, so the extension would take a part at it’s “total” length and width, regardless of any angle and lay them down as a whole dimension, to come back and cut angles after the fact…?


Yep. The original idea was to mimic the cut lists that woodworkers use when going to the yard to purchase lumber. For that it is very useful and I always create cutlists for my project using it.

It attempts to also do the job of laying out the parts to show how to cut them from stock. The layout part isn’t too bad when working with sheet goods, though not perfect. It’s a start but I find I can often do a better job by manually rearranging the parts. And for regular lumber I find it close to useless. It doesn’t understand the idea of packing parts close together (so their rectangular bounds overlap) when their shapes can be fitted against each other. It always assumes the longest dimension will run with the grain of the board, but that isn’t always the case and there is no way to tell it otherwise. It has no way to help you work around flaws in boards or match figure when creating a glueup.

There are other cutlist extensions available that relieve at least some of these objections. So far I have found that unless you are OCD anyway they require extra time entering info that you otherwise wouldn’t need. Don’t get me wrong - I use CutList on every project I do. I just don’t use its layout function.


So in reference to my current metal working project, what could I possibly use to break my design down from a 3D design into a flat layout with the dimensions called out to include the angles for either running in CAD software or transferring the information to another file that their equipment may recognize?


There are some “flatten” extensions that will put all the parts onto the red-green plane, but if you want to pack them together for efficient cutting you will probably have to do that manually. Regarding dimensions and angles, they really aren’t needed if you export to a CAD format as the model speaks for itself, but they are useful for creating a printed copy that the shop can look at while reviewing your specs.

Regarding getting a format they can read, since this is a one-time non-commercial project you could download a copy of SketchUp Pro and export your model using it - provided the shop can read something Pro knows how to export.

Edit: I should clarify that I mean a trial copy of SketchUp Pro. That’s free, but the trial expires after 30 days.


once i get this thing transferred completely into individual components maybe ill give a a "flatten ext a try, is there any you’ve utilized and prefer?


For my own work I don’t have need of such, so I don’t have enough experience with any particular one to recommend it, sorry! You might try starting a new topic with that as its title to get attention from those who do use a flattener.


Will do, thank you for your time and advice, much appreciated