SketchUp as a hobby


UV Tools can apply spherical or cylindrical mapping in a single click.

planet.skp (694.0 KB)


As @AlanF points out, you can use UV Tools to do this. To make the planets shown above, I used my own plugin which can be found here:

There is a companion plugin that will wrap textures around cylinders and cones as well:

If you browse back through this thread to May 28, you can read more about it.


Thanks Jim. I think it’s an important point to make that your plugin creates a triangulated mesh, whereas I used the JWM Shapes plugin to create a sphere (which creates quads, except for the poles…obviously) and then Dale’s UV Tools to texture it.
I think yours actually has the edge if you need to do anything with the model other than deal with it in SU. The reason being that yours renders nicely…even if you throw TT’s Cleanup > Merge faces at it to de-triangulate it. It also exports it to other formats with the single, original image file.

The quads example I posted when rendered in some render packages (this is Brighter3D) results in a mess…looking for all the world like it’s been group painted…

Also, if that posted planet.skp is exported to another format like Collada, the materials folder will contain that original planet image…plus an additional 864 individual facet images.
There’s nothing wrong with UV Tools…except that you have to triangulate the sphere with something like Artisan first.
Your script is a neater single-step operation.


Hey @john_drivenupthewall … does this plugin work on a Mac? I have someone reporting that it doesn’t work. I have no way of testing it, of course … just wondering.


works fine on my mac…



I created a short video demonstrating the use of BMP tracer:

Latest version:


I recently purchased a 3-CD set of the original BBC 4 radio broadcast of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1978). Naturally, I had to model it :wink:


Blast From The Past

I came across a photo of a project I did about 25 years ago. These models were made by creating a 3D surface model from blueprints and then using a 3-axis CNC mill to create a master from RenShape. The master was used to make silicone molds from which the models shown were cast in polyurethane resin. Lead weights were used internally to simulate the weight and balance of the final product. The cords were supplied by the customer.



The sequel to my novel, The Chaos Machine, went on-line today. Beginning Friday the 13th (tomorrow), it will be available for FREE for five days.


Once again, I’m probably re-inventing the wheel :wink:

I had a need to create some 3D lettering around the edge of a circle and tried manually moving and rotating each character into place. I’ve done this several times in the past, and it’s not much of a problem, but it can take some time when lots of letters are needed. I’m sure that there are plugins for this effect, but I cobbled together one that (eventually) produced this result (text is from Wikipedia article on Kerning):

circular_letters.skp (963.3 KB)

It still needs a little tweaking on the kerning, but it’s more than sufficient for what I was looking for.

Orientation of 3D Text with relation to faces

I’ve added vertical lettering … here’s an example:

Not quite ready for Prime Time yet.


If anyone is interested, I’ve put a beta version of this plugin here:

Currently upper-cases everything for simplicity (mine, that is).


Impressive to say the least! For my own use, I’d like to see text as applied to an object? I spend a fair amount of time designing (and eventually 3d printing) objects that if moved to real production would be enhanced by embossed printing.


I haven’t done any sheet metal in a long, long time, but one of the forum members had some questions about modeling a part. I don’t have a lot of the things that I’ve designed, but I found this part I did circa 1992 or so:

Here it is in the complete product:

This was done in 3D wireframe using CADKEY and submitted as drawings to a local sheet metal shop.


A thread started by @franquin on different ways to make fan blades reminded me of a similar model I made nearly thirty years ago. This was created using a GE Calma surface modeler using spline and ruled surfaces. As an injection molded part, the parting line that walks up the edge of the blade and back down the hub was particularly challenging along with maintaining an airfoil-shaped cross section for each blade.


My wife was cleaning out some stuff from the attic and came across some ancient screen-prints. These are from 1981 when I worked on an ultrasound scanner for Johnson & Johnson. The B-surf was constructed programmatically with B-splines using a CAD scripting language called DAL.

Monochromatic rendering was state-of-the-art:



The sequel to the sequel of The Chaos Machine went on-line a couple of days ago. This is the third and final book of my Chaos Trilogy. (89,843 + 58,524 + 39,915 =) 188,288 words later, it’s finally complete!


I thought I would try adding some simple toolpath generation from my Spirix surfaces.

This is the output it produces:

T1 M6
G90 G17 G20 S1200 M03
G0 X2.4454 Y0.002
G1 Z2.0 F100.0
G1 X2.4454 Y0.002 Z1.0
G1 X2.4454 Y0.002 Z-0.0936
G1 X2.4372 Y0.002 Z-0.0624
G1 X2.4204 Y0.0018 Z-0.0214
G1 X2.3979 Y0.0017 Z0.0167
G1 X2.3702 Y0.0015 Z0.0512
G1 X2.3378 Y0.0013 Z0.0814
G1 X2.3013 Y0.0011 Z0.1066
G1 X0.3997 Y0.0015 Z0.0787
G1 X0.3726 Y0.0017 Z0.0463
G1 X0.3495 Y0.0018 Z0.0109
G1 X0.3311 Y0.0019 Z-0.0272
G1 X0.3174 Y0.002 Z-0.0672
G1 X0.3105 Y0.002 Z-0.0984
G1 X0.3105 Y0.002 Z1.0


I came across a video I made about four years ago … for those of us that believe that the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything is 42, it’s very comforting :slight_smile:


Hoopy! You, sir, are one froopy dude!