Tekla vs SketchUp

I was at a trade show recently where there was a Tekla booth by Trimble. They chuckled at my SketchUp sweater and mentioned something about SketchUp only being useful for conceptual drawings. I guess Tekla is in an entirely different market segment.

At least half of the worlds population plays with toys on a daily basis. Bet you they do too.
(Need I say more?, :rofl:)


The first thing I see there is something about a Rhino Grasshopper link for bridge design. So those engineers seem to favor Rhino?

Not knowing much about it, I’ve wondered about Grasshopper. I’ve heard about it’s use with Revit. Would Grasshopper for SketchUp make programming more accessible than Ruby?

You would, too if you compared the price of a license…

In general, people don’t like it when they see what can be done in other software, they tend to stick with the software they have choosen. (The same applies to the car you bought, btw)

I have regular meetings on Tekla Structures ‘freshen up’ meetings. Some modules can do what @medeek
's extension is doing and your own, for that matter(!), but they are dependant on what they are given.

I am not impressed. Off course, because a large user group want’s the same, extensions can be written specificially (Wood, Steel, MEP) and the budget is higher…

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Tekla a subsidiary of Trimble, which makes it a sister company to SketchUp?

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Correct, Tekla is part of Trimble Buildings, Structures and fabricating


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And isn’t it that competition (also in-company) can be healthy?

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Yes, they are all ready getting nervous…
(Which is also why they are laughing…)

Grasshopper is written in Python, I believe. An equivalent in Ruby would be nice!

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Competition is healthy yes, projecting a bad image of a sister-company isn’t competition…

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is rather foolish as Tekla may end up with the SU web engine in it’s portable devices…

linking them all together with Trimble Connect then gets a lot easier [and cross platform]

that concept was cited as a purchasing factor by Trimble during acquisition…



No, in .NET. But has Python component to use scripts inside the definitions. And C# also. And increasing number of software are incorporating Grasshopper - latest is BricsCAD - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjjVzsmNnhA

I think my post may have been taken wrong. I don’t think they actually call SketchUp a toy. The implied message was that Tekla is in a far more elite market segment (which it is). It was all fun banter, not intended to portray a bad image of SketchUp. Rather an attempt to display that greatness of Tekla.

Isn’t Tekla primarily steel and concrete.

That’s what I gathered.

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engineers might use Tekla, the contractor that has to built (prefab) walls that must fit in between the steel structure can do with SketchUp. Or the executor on the building site that needs to know where his next shipment of cargo needs to be placed etc. They can all collaborate with Trimble Connect.

Tekla is about structures, I have never seen it used for other kinds of BIM. They also have BimSight that is a free viewer application somewhat similar to Solibri and NavisWorks. (My patriotic feelings are aroused by the fact that all these, including Tekla, are Finnish startups that have been acquired by their current owners, and are still based here)
As to SketchUp being a toy in the minds of structural engineers, I have met an engineer who has switched his small firm, mainly designing steel structures, entirely into SketchUp, Profile Builder, and LayOut.


About 4-5 years ago I was of a similar opinion about SketchUp. I never really took it very seriously. Most of my “real” work was 2D structural documents or architectural plans, hence most of my work was done in AutoCAD.

I had toyed with the idea of trying to do 3D models with AutoCAD (I did one commercial building in 2006), but trying to create 3D solids in AutoCAD was just to laborious. My next attempt at 3D design was a much more serious attempt using Solidworks. I actually created some rather nice construction documents and models with Solidworks but again the software package was not geared toward modeling wood framed structures so it was far too time consuming and lacking in the parametrics that I really needed.

I then took a serious look at Chief Architect and almost went for it but I didn’t really like the constricted drawing environment, maybe it works well for some though, it does have a significant user base. At some point along this journey of discovery I also downloaded Revit and gave it a go for a couple of days. I probably could have mastered it eventually but again it just didn’t feel right and it just seemed overly complicated for what I was looking to do with it.

At that point I gave up on 3D modeling of structures and reverted back to my old 2D ways and AutoCAD.

I’m ashamed to say that I am also guilty of calling SketchUp a “toy” to some of my colleagues around this time. I thought the push/pull concept was really cool and intuitive but it felt like I could not get exact measurements with this type of interface. SketchUp was what I considered a quick and dirty modeler, not good for precise 3D objects like I was familiar with modeling in the aerospace industry with SolidWorks or Catia. Part of this bias or misconstrued opinion was simply my lack of real training or experience with SketchUp.

Obviously, I didn’t really have a clue when it came to SketchUp. My opinion of SketchUp quickly changed when I realized that SketchUp had this amazing API along with the Ruby language at one’s disposal. In truth, SketchUp with its API has more potential in it’s little finger than all of the other 3D modeling programming systems combined. In my opinion SketchUp is not a “toy”. Couple it with a few well crafted extensions and it becomes an amazing “tool”.