SketchUp Free: What's Missing

I’ve fiddled around with Free for a little while. To me, it’s a little like seeing SketchUp in a funhouse mirror. It looks as if Free isn’t compatible with plugins. That limits the complexity of the models that can be constructed in Free. Or am I missing something?

Unfortunately, SketchUp Free is not able to support a Ruby interpreter at this time, so it cannot run the same extensions that our SketchUp desktop clients can run. If you have extensions that you need to run for your work with SketchUp Free, you can continue to run them in SketchUp Make 2017.

If you are a SketchUp Pro user, you will find that all of your extensions will continue to work as well in SketchUp Pro 2018.


That is absolutely devastating news, I do all of my modelling with dozens of Ruby scripts that I have written myself over the years. I’m not going to ever going to buy Sketchup Pro because I am not a professional, modelling is just a hobby.

I don’t have consistent InterNet access, I am not going to be using Sketchup Free.

This marks the beginning of the end for Trimble Sketchup, as new users will not be drawn to Sketchup Free for modelling, and no one will then start using Sketchup Pro after using Sketchup Free.

And for me, this day marks the end of my modelling, because it is pointless to continue knowing Sketchup Make is never going to be fixed.


So, do I understand this means there will be no more SketchUp make?

After four years of teaching SketchUp in a classroom with SU Make, I’m just finishing up my last week of teaching this year’s class with SketchUp for Schools (virtually the same thing as SU Free) as an experiment. It mostly turned out fine, but my conclusion is it’s no replacement for make. I almost abandoned SUfS in favor of trusty old Make when I had serious performance issues preparing the lessons. Switching from Firefox to Chrome seemed to get me going again, but for the best experience, I’d much prefer software running locally on the machine. While it’s nice that it includes .stl output for 3D printing, the biggest gaping hole I see is that you literally can’t print drawings to scale with it. The only way I can figure out to print my students work to scale, is to have them share their models with me so I can open them in my own copy of Pro and print them out from there.


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