SketchUp for Exhibition users

Hi Everyone,

I work for an Exhibition company, we sell and hire Truss.

At the moment we are using a very basic CAD program (If there was a way I could import dwg. files that would help!) to do these drawings, however it has one very useful feature which brings me here…There are a vast range of corners, lengths, base plates that are needed to build a truss structure, which is where our program shines, it simply snaps onto the corner or length you wish to snap to.

Without this feature it makes SketchUp very time consuming, I know there are trusses available on the warehouse and you can use the end points to connect the blocks together but i found this was very “fiddly”.

If there was a plug-in, extension or maybe a different set of trusses which are easier to use then I could use SketchUp on a daily basis.

The bad points to our program is that its very limited for example we cant add new products, banners or furniture… which im guessing SketchUp can do?

I’m fairly new to this so any tips on using the program would also be a huge help!

Thanks in advance for you help.

what format can you export from your CAD?
can you attach a sample output?


I can only export as dwg. and igs. as far as I know… Shall I upload a dwg. and igs. file?

SketchUp can import dwg, so that’s best…

Thats great, how do I import the blocks?

I’m assuming you have Pro [for work], this is from here

This is a Pro only feature.
To import a 3D DWG or DXF model file:

Click File > Import. The Open dialog box is displayed.
(optional) Click on the Options button to modify the import options, such as units, for the incoming file. See ‘Import Options’ section for further information.
Click OK to import the file. The Import Results dialog box will appear containing details of the imported model.
Note: It can take several minutes to import a large file because SketchUp’s native geometry is very different from most CAD software and the conversion process is calculation-intensive.

Click OK in the Import Results dialog box. The model will appear in the drawing area at the origin.
Note: The imported model’s entities will be enclosed within a group if geometry existed in the drawing area prior to importing the model.

(optional) Click on the Zoom Extents tool to locate the imported model if it is not currently displayed in your drawing area.

We don’t have Pro at the moment… we are using the standard version to see if it can do what we want.

Is there a way I can import without Pro?

if you add a file I’ll convert it and you can evaluate the value of Pro…

you get a 30 day Pro trial, has it run out?

600 base plate.dwg (152.5 KB)

2 way.dwg (783.6 KB)

1m.dwg (521.6 KB)

We did but stupidly we got it on a busy time of the year and never felt the benefits of the trial…

I have attached a few blocks I would like to use in SketchUp, if you could convert these that would be very helpful.

Many thanks.

To be honest you’d probably be better off redrawing these within sketchup. You could optimise them by using less segments for the circles and replacing multiple groups with components. (1.4 MB)

There’s literally thousands of products… it would take too long to redraw im afraid.

You need to simplify the individual models.
Otherwise, SU performance will suffer when you bring many together in one file.

Is there no other way of doing it? or a company maybe? Also when im connecting the truss to the base plate or corner im finding it a bit fiddly (I think because there is too many points it can connect to) is there a way around this, a tool I can use or any tips.

There are various cleanup/purge/simplify extensions that will rid a model of spurious items and repair various basic flaws, e.g. join adjacent coplanar faces, weld broken polylines, etc. But I don’t know of any that can automatically redraw a model using simpler or more efficient geometry in ways such as Box suggested.

You put your finger squarely on the heart of the problem: if there are thousands of these, there will be a massive effort to import all of them into SketchUp and to simplify or redraw all of them. Perhaps you could proceed on an as-needed basis? How many variants are typically used in a single Exhibition?

Customers expect quotes and drawings fairly quick… its not so much the components that are an issue any more.

It’s more to do with the connection process, it seems to difficult to get the components to line up properly, im not sure if im doing something wrong or if there’s a tool which makes it easier, any ideas?

you can add some hidden helpers…
example uses @box skp file with added guides…


Your free to laugh… but how do i get that? is there a short cut i have to press?

[quote=“LeonF, post:19, topic:16287, full:true”]
Your free to laugh… but how do i get that? is there a short cut i have to press?
[/quote]Not sure what you are asking…

If you mean how did John get the pieces to snap together, that’s just a question of clicking the move tool on the reference point on one part and then moving over until it aligns with the reference point on the other part.

If you mean how did he add the construction lines to make a reference point, just open the component for edit and draw them using the tape measure tool. A common alternative is to put the Component’s axis origin at the desired reference point.