Sketchup for Aircraft Interior design



I am looking for a great, easy to use 3D design software for Aircraft Design. This means that we need to do all of the following, but do so in a fuselage (Think in a large tube.)

Create a library of furniture
Create a library of Aircraft with no furniture
Choose from both libraries to build the design
Apply textures
Rotate, zoom, pan, slice all in 3D space in front of the customer with textures on
Create fly through movies, again with the textures on.

Is Sketchup feasible? Again it needs to be in a tube, or let’s say half a tube.


Short answer is yes. Tubular shapes are no big hairy deal. Why don’t you search through the 3D Warehouse? Some things you want could already be modeled.


It might get slightly more difficult if you also want to model parts of the fuselage that aren’t plain tubular and cylindrical, like the pilot’s cockpit, or some areas near the tail, but it’s still possible.


I would say “difficult”.

There are people using SU to make model scale aircraft wings using Excel imported data. It’s for hobbyists, but using wing shapes for flight-worthy model planes.


Wow I reread my post and realized I was not clear at all. My apologies. We do not make Airplanes, we do the interiors that go into an airplane. So we make apartments with conference rooms, offices, showers, etc that are placed inside of airplanes. We want to have a pre-built set of furniture that we place inside of a fuselage. These would need to be imported as 3D solid models (Step files.) so that we can put on display custom furniture.

To me the challenge is being able to place the pre-built furniture anywhere on the floorplan, the software knows that a sink, for example, goes in certain places in the floorplan because of the furniture placement so the customer can switch between the sinks to see what they want, then all furniture pre-configured so that different colors and textures can be swapped around from a macro level, not hand selecting each face on the solid model. The goal is real time. Think Ironman with Garvis stuff. That is the shooting for the moon.

Thanks to all for your time and patience and I apologies for the confusing initial post.


Some 3D models in other formats can be quite large.

Dynamic Components can be set up to quickly change between different model attributes.

Again, look at examples in the 3D Warehouse. Dynamic Component models are denoted with a little green symbol. You can switch between things like colors for the same item. There are plenty of companies with SU models already there to give you an idea of what’s possible. You can access the Warehouse from inside of SU through Window > 3D Warehouse or use the Component browser.

Predefined Scenes can be set up and switch between each Scene with the click of a button.

A fuselage can be modeled so you can see the interior in relation to outer plane. Section cuts can be set and saved to each Scene…


a collaborative solid modeler as 'SpaceClaim’ or better a product configuration tool as ‘Tacton’ is probably the nearest you can get… not for the price of SU of course.


Just so you know from the start, SketchUp is a surface modeler, not a solid modeler.
SketchUp does not have NURBS nor true curves. Arcs and circles are approximated using edge segments.

So, often importing models from solid modeling formats cause too many edges and faces, and bog SketchUp’s display engine down.

This you’ll need to do with an extension most likely.