Possible to create a plug-in for Autocad/Bricscad to hot-link SketchUp file?

I’m an architect, not a developer, although I have some programming experience from many years ago. I use SketchUp in my architectural practice for 3d design but do my 2D work and construction documents in Bricscad (a clone of Autocad). I’m not interested in switching to Layout as it does not provide the CAD capabilities that I need.

This is more of a theoretical question than a how-to – but would it be possible to develop a plug-in for Autocad and/or Bricscad that would work sort of like Layout (but within the CAD program). So you could make a hot link to a SketchUp file and a particular scene in that file, and set a display scale for it. The scene would be “hybrid” rendered as it is in Layout, with vector lines and raster textures.

The advantage would be that elevations and 3d views could be easily imported into the CAD software without having to export JPG or PDFs from SketchUp or Layout and then re-export every time the SketchUp model changes. Sort of like how XREFs are used in Autocad now, if you are familiar with that.

This would obviously require using an interface to the Sketchup file (the SDK?) and also an interface to the CAD software.

Thanks for any insight!

Have you tried it ? Bricscad shape open directly sketchUp model.
After that, you may work in Bricscad 2D I suppose ?

Bricscad shape is included in the main application, so you can start with it or with Bricscad 2D.

Good point – I can open the SKP file in Bricscad directly, but then I don’t see materials, etc. and even then would have to render the view each time. I would prefer to do 3D work in SketchUp and not in Bricscad, and would like to have changes made in SketchUp automatically show up in the hybrid rendered views in Bricscad. Again, like Layout works but without using Layout. Just having that functionality in Bricscad so I can use the 2D CAD tools of Bricscad on the hot-linked SketchUp views.

Seems like that would require a special plug-in as Bricscad does not have a way to externally reference (hot link) to a SKP file, only a way to import the file.

In general it’s doable (one way, or even two way syncing) but it requires a lot of work and knowledge on both platforms (SketchUp uses Ruby + C++, ACAD/BCAD uses C++ / C#). This real-time-sync technology between SketchUp and external software is used mainly (one way) by rendering software like Lumion (LiveSync plugin), Enscape etc.

Developing such kind of (stable) plugin may take dozen weeks.

Thank you for that information. What I had in mind was just one-way sync (edits to the SKP model would be done only in SketchUp) but I can see that it would take expertise with both software applications.

Thanks again!

It is doable as some years back DoubleCAD XT did similar to what you describe, but poorly implemented a clone of SketchUp’s Ruby API. The product was not very successful and the owning company (IMSI Design, the makers of TurboCAD) stopped developing the free version 5.

It was developed in the XP days and was said to run on Vista and Win7 as well. Not sure how well it would run on newer versions of Windows.

V5 would likely not be able to open newer SKP file versions than say SU2013.

There is a newer Premium v6 (99USD) that is said to run on Windows 10.