Ordinate Dimensions, clipping, automatic arc detection for DWG/DXF export

A couple things I wanted to put out there. Can’t get anything without asking!

  • The ordinate dimensioning is a feature I wish was implemented long ago. Would save a ton of time for all my drawings.
  • Clipping. I understand this is probably pretty difficult to implement. Sometimes I have long parts and being able to clip out the majority of the X or Y space would be great.
  • AutoCAD software automatically detects arc and circles… sometimes. Obviously SketchUp knows where the centers and ends of circles and arcs are, it would be a cool feature and save time avoiding clean up in AutoCAD if arcs and circles were automatically exported as such into DWG’s and DXF’s.

Really, the only big feature that is a huge deal would be ordinate/running dimensions.

They are, when exporting 3D model.

I’ve never had that work for me. I rarely export as a 3d model, however just recently I did, and all of my circles came in as typical lines.
Also, the only useful part for me would be for the 2d option anyway, for producing DXF files for cnc plasma/laser/water jet cutting.
I’ll look into the 3d export though. I guess it’s possible to copy just the face of the part I want, then export that as a 3d model, if it does in fact export as AutoCAD arcs and circles, that would be a huge time saver.

As for ordinate dimensioning, I came up with a pretty slick work around.
I can do all my typical drawings in Layout, then export to DWG, and open that in AutoCAD. It seems like 100% of the functions/features of the drawing carry over. I double click on the “model” on the page, and set the UCS to the top left (or wherever needed) corner, exit the embedded model, and boom, ordinate dimensioning works flawlessly, already to scale. HUGE time saver!

SketchUp only exports true circles and arcs if the model has not been edited in ways that force it to abandon the metadata that identifies them as such. You can check whether this has happened by selecting an erstwhile circle or arc and seeing how entity info calls it.

Exporting SketchUp arcs and curves as 3D DXF/DWG, does export them as true arcs. 2D DXF is line segments. The 3D export also exports the faces as line segments, and so you would want to turn off Faces in the export options.

Thanks Colin. I messed around with it a little bit and was successful. Thank you! This is definitely going to save my time in the future when creating DXF files for CNC cutting.

My ordinate dimension work around is going to take a little refining, but overall I think it will work for now. However I still really wish Trimble would just add an ordinate dimension tool to layout…

By ordinate dimension, I take it you mean distances from some set datum? For example, in my work I need to dimension the vertical height of things in a building from a project datum, or sea level - just a tick mark and one number for that height.

Like you, I go to my CAD program for such features. Bearing and Deg, Min, Sec dimensions for surveys is another one.

Yes. Transferring to AutoCAD isn’t without issues, but it does work. I have ~100 dimensions typically that need to be ordinate dimensions.

I would pay a lot of money to add an ordinate dimension tool to Layout!!

For spot heights I made a Dynamic component with an attribute that transforms its z-coordinate into meters. Then in LayOut I put in a label to display that value. The same could be used for a dimension symbol. Already, a LayOut label can display a point’s x, y or z coordinate.

I’ve looked into this, but I would have to move each part to the world origin/UCS before copying it over to LayOut, which cuts potential time saved in half, and adding labels for each dimension is not really refined so to speak. It was a good time ago I checked that out, maybe I’ll visit it again and see if I come up with any better results.

Only vertices can display coordinates, not ‘Centers’ of circles or holes.
Besides, you need to alter each label or reattach a copied label for displaying only one coordinate.

This follows my local standards for oordinate dimensions and was done directly with the LayOut dimension tool. I only moved the text labels afterwards.

1 Like