Sell dynamic component?


Hi, I’m wondering how one would go about selling a dynamic component? I’ve created a pretty cool dynamic component and was hoping there is a proper way of selling it. I read somewhere online that you can upload it to the component warehouse without making it publicly available and then you sell on your personal website, company website, anywhere you want.

What do you guys think? Does any of you have any experience doing this in the past?

Is there a way for SketchUp to protect the seller of the dynamic component?

I appreciate any responses to my question. I’m looking forward to reading them.



The problem isn’t selling it, it’s preventing it from escaping into the wild. I’ve been producing commercial components (dynamic and static) for years…initially by download and/or CD on my own website and then by subscription at FormFonts.
Unfortunately, meshes aren’t software, so can’t be protected by serials etc. If your component escaped onto the 3D Warehouse it could attract hundreds if not thousands of downloads before you spotted it and managed to get it removed. There is a ton of stuff on there which are illegal copies of Dosch or Daz3D content, or whatever. Not to mention all the stuff ripped from games…or, occasionally.obtained from my own company and redistributed in flagrant breach of the Terms of Use.

I’d imagine that the only way for models to have something like the level of security afforded to software would be to contain them as some kind of data set within a piece of software itself which only allowed for proxies to be directly imported into the model which nevertheless displayed as the real thing. I can’t imagine how this would work.

My safety…to some extent…is in sheer numbers. I’d think a single, high value item would be rather more problematic.


You could maybe hide a serial number or some other buyer identifier as an attribute somewhere. It could be an attribute on one single edge far down in the component hierarchy where people are very unlikely to find it. Then if you see the component published you could tell what customer has published it. Maybe you could get them to pay some additional fee for that, I’m no layer so I don’t know how that stuff would work.


Hi @AlanF, that’s what I figured. Its pretty disappointing that SketchUp hasn’t developed a way of protecting dynamic components with some sort of embedded code for verification purposes. I get that it is pretty awesome to have a myriad of components freely available but those of us who take the time to create a very complex dynamic objects, it would be nice to have that peace of mind.

@AlanF Do you mind telling me a little bit about your experience selling your components, prices and such? I’m just getting started. Any help, advice or information would be hugely appreciated.

Thanks so much.


@eneroth3 that’s actually a good idea. I’m going to contact Support and find out whether that’s possible. However, if someone publishes my component on the 3d warehouse, anyone who downloads it might remove it if he/she finds that serial code.

I’ll try to find out more about this and I’ll keep everyone posted.



there is a topic regrading ‘protecting’ DC’s using ruby to encrypt/decrypt them at SketchUcation…

I recently posted some working code, but the discussion has only two voices atm, so join in over there…

ruby scripts can be encrypted to protect the ‘key’…

I believe SU should not develop ‘propriety’ model encoding for 3rd parties…

If you want to make money from your output then it’s up to you to work out how to protect it…

have a look at click cuisine or their recent window maker plugin, the control of the DC’s is enhanced using ruby…



FormFonts has a number of such identifiers. All the models are made using a specific template which automatically claims copyright. That can be ircumvented by merely copying the mesh to another file, though’

The default layer and all the materials are unique to the business, with company-specific names. We even hide a little edges-only component of the company logo somewhere on the model for use as a “smoking gun”. It’s hard to claim that you made that model of an automobile when not only are all the vertices identical, but when you’ve got all that other uniqueness and a company FF logo hiding behind the number plate, under the dashboard or even in a wheel-nut.
It doesn’t seem to matter to the “Everything should be free” brigade, though. Ruby encryption of function may be the answer in the case of a DC

The present business model is by subscription, so not really relevant. But my original CD of the first decent 3D people for SketchUp (decent in the sense that they were only about 2,500 faces…unlike imported Poser stuff, which crashed the program) retailed at about $1 each. It was a collection of about 135 people which sold for about the same number of dollars Work wise, it took me about 6 months…more or less 1 figure per day. I hope that’s of some help as a general guide.

Selling stuff from your own website can be a little tricky too. People expect digital content to be available immediately, by download. Mine was too, but there are always people who don’t read the instructions properly, so i often came back from a weekend away…or a 2 week vacation to the odd, irate email.
You also have to set it up so that the download page can only be accessed from (for instance) the PayPal confirmation of payment page, or whatever. Otherwise, if it can merely be pasted into the address bar of a browser, you’re going to have people passing around the URL and bleeding you dry.


@john_drivenupthewall, @AlanF Thanks again for your advice and help.

By Ruby encryption you guys mean actually developing the dynamic component using the Ruby API, right? Not just creating it using the basic functions provided by SketchUp.

@AlanF I didn’t get the part: [quote=“AlanF, post:7, topic:28661”]
You also have to set it up so that the download page can only be accessed from (for instance) the PayPal confirmation of payment page, or whatever. Otherwise, if it can merely be pasted into the address bar of a browser, you’re going to have people passing around the URL and bleeding you dry

I’ve been working on learning the Ruby API, I was just hoping I could make some money so that I could quit my job and just work on this full time. Anyways, I think @AlanF’s advice is very useful, so I’ll try to put into practice as soon as possible. @john_drivenupthewall do you think you might be able to provide the link to these information you’ve posted


One approach to profiting from component creation:

  1. Find a product manufacturer who you think would have increased sales if accurate models of their product appeared in the 3D Warehouse.
  2. Do a rough model of a few of their products as components - don’t make them public on the 3D Warehouse - yet.
  3. Contact the manufacturer and try to sell them on the idea of paying you to flesh out the component. The pitch will be something like: “Lots of people are using SU to model projects that include products like yours. If you have branded components - or component collections - that work well, you predispose these people towards using your product when they actual build their project.”
  4. If they agree to pay you, then get full engineering drawings and complete the component - perhaps even 2 versions! One with low geometry count for inclusion in large models and one with high geometry and accurate textures for people (such as interior designers) who will be using the component as part of a rendered scene.

With this approach, you aren’t profiting from the use of the component (and worrying about protecting your IP) - just the creation.


@Noah, what I meant by the access to the download page is that you need to consider ways of protecting your product from unauthorised access. You need to weigh carefully how you are going to deliver your product. As I said earlier, people expect to use PayPal, or whatever, then have immediate access to digital content. This leaves you with a number of choices.
I haven’t explored all the intricacies of the 3DW, so there might be some way of doing it via that route…although, for the most part, the manufacturers touting their wares there are selling actual real-world-products. So the 3D content they provide is basically just a catalog, not the item itself. That means it has no inherent value in itself; it’s merely a means to an end.

If that is not an appropriate route, then you are left with a couple of other choices. perhaps the easiest is to simply host your content on something like Turbosquid and let them handle all of the retail end of things (for a hefty slice of your profits) This would not prevent you from having your own website where you could advertise the product to your heart’s content…complete with YT videos of it in action etc…then simply have a link to the Turbosquid shopfront/purchase page.

The other route is to go it alone and sell it direct from your own website via something like a PayPal merchant solution.
In that case, you need to make sure that you set it up so that the actual download page is only accessible after people have paid…and is only automatically linked to after the payment process is complete.
Don’t forget, it’s not just humans surfing the net. there are all kinds of bots out there; and if the page was directly accessible then it wouldn’t be long before a Googlebot found it and offered it a search result for anyone typing in “noahs component download”. So unless the download link itself was protected in some way, it would be a free-for-all. All this is explained if you set up a merchant account.

I don’t think that manual delivery…ie sending the component personally by email after payment is very satisfactory. It means you have to monitor the website virtually 24/7/52. The thought of having to wait several days after you’ve paid your money before you get the stuff doesn’t work the same for software as it does for a new sofa.
It may well put a significant number of people off buying.


@sjdorst My idea about selling DC came to me because I developed a DC based on the type of work I do for my current employer. So, what I wanted to do, mainly, is to find a way of selling this pretty complex DC but it isn’t protected and thus, it can be shared easily on the 3D Warehouse. The solution would be to create the same DC using the Ruby API. That way it can be encrypted, I can charge for it, without risking having it distributed without my consent. I do like your idea a lot, because it can be a gateway for me to save extra money and speed up the process for me to jump into my main project. Thanks so much for your advice @sjdorst.

The reason I’m so interested in @AlanF’s advice is because I do enjoy a lot modeling in SketchUp and that could be a great way of making extra money. Quiting my day job to focus on developing a full fledged DC using the Ruby API is my main project but it will have to wait a little bit.

@AlanF Thanks so much for taking the time to share your experience and knowledge with and explaining yourself in such depth. It is pretty important to protect your content and product and you’ve explained how to prevent that very nicely.

Thank you both! :slight_smile:


here’s the SketchUcation post link

the DC example I used was simply taken from the component browser and the encrypted…

It was not built using ruby…

the concept is you supply a ‘broken’ DC and only ‘fix’ it if your licensed extension is running…

only the DC attributes are protected, raw geometry can still be pirated…

what your really selling is a streamlined workflow, it’s value depends of the volume of users needing to save time doing the same task…



Hi Noah,
What’s the DC you’ve created and how much is it?


@john_drivenupthewall i don’t have much of experience as a programmer but this is pretty interesting stuff. I’m going to start digging into this. In regards to the geometry, at least in my case, I don’t care what people choose to do with it. What is really valuable is the functionality of the DC.


Hi, i just finish to write a plugin that enables to control the difusion of dynamic components in sketchup

they are compressed with an invisible password
they loose their dynamic functions when the file they have been dragged to, is saved

usage of the components can be limited in time and to registered computers only

i have uploaded a video