Printing, Cutting Exact Templates with SketchUp

Hi all - My design work requires very accurate printing on clear Mylar type template material typically used for quilting patterns. We use SketchUp for the exact layout but now we have to draft/draw the templates by hand on a drafting table. I’m looking for printers or printer/cutters that can accurately print to tolerances of ±0.5mm and if SketchUp can drive said printer/plotters/cutters? We’re not super high volume and the format while it could be bigger than 12" x 18" that is not typical.

What would you recommend we purchase?
Thanks so much for your help - Ken

First, since you are using this for your work, you need to buy SketchUp Pro.

With SketchUp Pro you can use it along with LayOut to create full size drawings in PDF form that can be printed or you could create files to drive a CNC device to print or cut the pattern.

Of course you’ll need something other than a Chromebook to run SketchUp Pro on.

Thanks DaveR - We have Pro. I understand the whole printing aspect on a typical printer but when it comes to CNC are you referring to vinyl cutters / plotters. Do they all work with the output from SketchUp?

Your profile needs to be updated, then.

There are many types of CNC machines. It could be a vinyl cutter or a plotter. There is some CNC software that will import SKP files directly. Look at Vetric. Most will work with DXF output too, which you can get out of SketchUp or LayOut.

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Why would one use a full-time 3D modeling application for strictly 2D work?

And why not? SU is easier to learn than most CAD systems and what if they want to do some 3D modeling? In my opinion SU is a very good choice.

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$695 vs. <$40.00 for starters.

3D software is beyond the scope of the OP’s stated needs.

However they already have SU Pro!

Thus, my question, addressed to the OP.
SU is overkill for his stated needs.
Not to mention SU’s current issues with dislocating certain entities in CAD exports.

Gents we also design complex 3D models for very large hand cut timber frame structures. The templates are less than 1% of the total usage but still a very integral part of the manufacturing process.

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Can you tell us a bit more about the process. Your workflow could very well help determine if you should go wide ink jet on mylar using layout as Dave suggested or if you do need CNC.

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Right now we use quilting plastic sheets 12x18. We draw/draft on them with .7 or smaller pencil lead. Lines cannot be wider than .7mm because we build the thickness of that line into the template. Tolerance is less than 1mm. Does this help?

The help we can offer is in direct proportion to the information you provide.

• Update your profile to reflect which SU version and hardware you’re working with.

• RE: Printer/Plotters/Cutters … Define what you’re trying to accomplish.

Print or Cut?

  • Consumer model printers are inexpensive.
  • Professional printer/plotters offer higher accuracy for a price.
  • Computer aided film cutters come in a variety of types. Accuracy and cost depends upon type.

• RE: Quilting Plastic Sheets … How thick is this material?

  • Overly thick ‘paper’ can damage a printer.
  • Have you tried running it through a desktop printer?

For your interest:
3M Computer Aided Film Cutting.pdf (172.5 KB)

A consumer model printer may not print as accurately as you need.
Some 2D CAD applications have a printer calibration feature.