Plumbing Manufacturer looking for help uploading products into 3D Warehouse

I work for a major plumbing manufacture and I’ve started down the rabbit hole of uploading our products to the 3D warehouse.

I mainly design trade show booths, however due to the Coronavirus we will not be attending any trade shows for at least a year. I am looking to start this project so I can stay busy and stay employed during these tough times. I also believe SketchUp is a great tool and a great way to market our products. Currently, our major competitors have most of their products uploaded as well.

We work with a company called ATS that supplies us with CAD assistance. They supply us with files for Revit, also DXF, and DWG.

My experience so far has been mixed, most of the models when importing DXF or DWG become distorted and unusable. The geometry becomes distorted. I am working with ATS and they said they can convert these files to .fbx.

I am looking for any ideas, workflow, plug-ins, or ways to create great looking models and any tools that can help automate or assist. I also have access to our engineering department, and they can also manipulate CAD models to better suit importing into SketchUp. I think they use AutoCad or Solidworks. If this topic has been covered, please let me know. Thanks!

Shower-Bath-American_Standard-Studio-S-TU105500.dxf (126.2 KB)

SketchUp Examples.pdf (1.0 MB)

The DXF imports, with this report:

… and shows this series of 2D views in the SU model window.

What do you want to do with that? Create a 3D SU model from it?

Your PDF shows a 3D model on the left for several plumbing items, and an image on the right.

Is the image a photo of the ‘real’ item? Or a rendered version of the 3D drawing?

In what way distorted? Are the DXF files 2D or 3D? Or a mixture?

There’s no visible distortion in your example DXF file. Could you share one that does distort?

In case you’re not in touch with him already, @TheGuz may want to talk to you about having your products in 3DWH.

Sorry, I uploaded the 2D instead of 3D. Please, see end of shower valve handle.

Shower-Bath-American_Standard-Studio-S-TU105502-3D.dxf (1.1 MB)


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I’ll DM you.

I’m not clear whether this is the starting point .dxf from engineering or was exported from SketchUp after drawing there? The end of the handle is a bit of a mess in either file, but they match. So the issue is with whichever you used to create the model.

In the dxf:

after importing the dxf to SketchUp:

Edit: In general, your model is low-poly, which is good for entourage elements imported into a larger model but not particularly realistic for closeups or renders. It could use some more edges in arcs and circles without becoming overly heavy, and would benefit from better (smoother) geometry on the end of the handle as well as some other places. There are multiple ways to accomplish this, ranging from built-in tools such as followme to extensions such as Curviloft.

Edit 2: the model would be better if each of the three parts (spigot, valve, head) was made a component on its own and then nested into the full component. That would make it much easier for a user to adjust their spacing in a model.

Just to clarify this was downloaded directly from the CAD files we have posted on our website. Do you believe that because the file is low-poly I would need to start with higher quality file? I was hoping to avoid redrawing these because we have hundreds of products and variations of them. It also may be above my current skill level. Thanks

The answer depends on what you expect users to do with the model from the 3D Warehouse. As I wrote, low-poly models are excellent for showing secondary elements in a model (that is, items that aren’t the main subject of the model but show details of placement and give a general impression) without causing SketchUp to slow down. That is often what users really wanted. In contrast, some of your competitors have posted models that have hundreds of thousands of edges for high realism, but really bog SketchUp down.

But if the users intend to attempt a photo-realistic render or closeups of the shower, the model will look somewhat “edgy”. It could indeed be a large amount of work to convert a lot of model files to more detail. It generally requires judgement about what matters and how good is good enough, which does not lend itself to automation.

…which is what I have to resort to for such files when I need them and there isn’t a SketchUp file available. I’m used to seeing mixed to poor results from plumbing manufacturer’s .dwg/.dxf files, so I’m glad to see American Standard make an effort. Could you have some communications with the CAD department that makes the original files to see what else they can do? Other file formats? Quad based models?