What’s up with SketchUp Make?

I absolutely agree the print dialog needs some love. LO is a really nice tool for making drawings but sometimes you don’t want a full drawing with dimensions, annotations, title block and stuff, just a quick and dirty print out of your model to use yourself as a reference when in the workshop. I’ve found myself several times sending a model to LO so I can set up a paper size and scale, print, and then close LO without even saving the document. In these cases I agree completely the SU print dialog should be sufficient.


Julia, thanks for saving me from jumping off a bridge. I was beginning to think I was crazy ;<)



Glad I don’t have to rely on your and your fathers bike tools to fix anything on my ranch. My father always told me, “Get the right tool for the job.”


@Aerilius You again misinterpret my comments: “You have the right to believe that the code bases are totally without overlap.” I never did say that. I said they were not exactly the same, to refute your earlier contention they were (“there is still only one code-base of SketchUp and two UIs”). Please do not put words in my mouth.

I do believe it would be a waste of time to try and defend Trimble’s stellar reputation in adding 3D functionality to SketchUp. My guess we would be arguing over a rotated rectangle tool and it’s inherent value to 3D modeling in general.

Your efforts in supporting this community are admirable and I thank you for them.


I’ve invested a lot of my time (the last two years of every free moment I’ve had) and effort into developing a couple of plugins for SketchUp. Granted my intended audience is the PRO user by in large but I think SketchUp is really shooting itself in the foot and also negatively impacting its many plugin developers like myself by pushing a web based platform that does not allow for the installation of extensions and is completely missing the Ruby engine.

As far as doing anything productive I have never used a web based app except for the simplest operations. Even email, I still check with Mozilla Thunderbird or Outlook, I can’t stand web mail. Web based apps and the web in general is great for online maps, simple games, news sites, Wikipedia and disseminating information. Name one other major CAD platform that has a significant amount of its users using some sort of web based CAD utility, they don’t exist, and probably for a good reason.

I really think SketchUp and Trimble should reconsider this move. If you push people like myself away, that help make SketchUp more useful, you will lose it all. Yes, your established user base will stay, but its your new incoming user base that will fall off. Without a solid full feature free version the new kids coming up through high school and college will find something else. No one is going to seriously use the web based version, it’s too slow and limited. Other software will spring up to fill the void, and you will slowly loose whatever market share you might already have.


Do not worry about the toolsets i choose and take with me to the job. I use this analogy to let people think about what direction they want ( in this case SketchUp) software to become.
Yes, I am good at sawing, planing and sanding one piece of lumber by hand to fit in a broken window, for example, even when I can use a CNC-machine to profile it. Programming the machine takes longer, though. If I had to make all the windows from scratch, however, I would not even think of making them by myself. That is what I mean with ‘a race to the bottom’ : you can never compete with a specialized frames- and windows company by yourself. Just pass the width and height, order, and wait till they deliver. And if another is company is cheaper, …etc.
I think software is about to undergo the same: soon, every CAD-program would have the same (dis)abilities, totally bloated with features, awaiting to let the design being taken over by the computer itself.Just pass the volume needed or square footage : Order a building! (Let the client decide which color the front door is gonna be)
Did you, by chance follow or have seen this (fantastic) thread :slight_smile:

You can follow the becoming of an extension (Yes, within SketchUp) of a ‘Total house builder’ and this is done by a human, imagine wat could be done with a computer:

Anyway, I will not bother you with my analogies anymore as my father would have said: “Get the right people at the job”

I don’t think the introduction of a web based, free version like SU Free and SU for Schools is a bad thing per se. In fact there are a lot of positive things about that. The problem is that they aren’t even close to a replacement for SU Make, so it’s effectively taking away SU Make as a middle range alternative that is the problem. Sorry if I’m a broken record, but what’s needed is for consumers to have some additional choice in between Free and $695. Nikon has almost a dozen DSLR choices ranging from about $400 to about $8,000.


Agree 100% I stopped updating my Adobe apps for this reason.



I think you make an excellent point. The web based is no where up to par with the desktop Make, so Trimble is essentially removing their product from the market place. They had three offerings, they now only have two, they want to force you up or down. The problem is that most of the user base is going to be found right in the middle.

Why don’t you start charging a small amount for Make? Say $50 - $150 for a license, any typical middle class income can bite that off, even for casual use.


Exactly correct. It makes no sense at all to come out with something as lame as SketchUp Free and end-of-life Make. We all expected that one day we would have to pay for Make. So keep it in the offering at a price the hobbyist is willing to pay.

On the other hand, if this is a signal that all SketchUp products are headed for the cloud, then they can float away and dissipate like real clouds. I won’t buy them.



And the user base will float away too, just like those clouds.

The only people left will be a few relics, like myself, who are either too invested (religious) in the SketchUp platform to make a switch or are too old and just don’t have the energy.


Thank you for your announcement @Caroline .

I have been a Sketchup Pro user for 6 years, and a Sketchup user for 12 years. I do not support the phasing out of Sketchup Make. While nearly everyone welcomed its inclusion, the cloud-based solution is vastly inferior in almost every way.

This will undoubtedly cost Trimble more in users & network effects than it will net them in Pro sales. Unfortunately I can no longer recommend Sketchup to new 3D artists, which I have been doing for 12 years.


it seems there are a few people not reading the thread before commenting…

I think the ‘mistake’ made was keeping ‘2017’ as part of the name…

if the SketchUp Make continued to be available, without any of the existing or future ‘Pro’ only features, a lot of the negative responses seen here would have been averted…


reduce the number of SketchUp Make versions en-US only…

do not ‘ship’ a trial in it…

only update for ‘Breaking Changes’ i.e. a new version of Ruby or a new render pipeline…

make ‘SU Free’ so usable that the majority of non commercial users never need SketchUp Make



I think I can read between the lines. Trimble is wanting to squeeze more of the casual-pro users into upgrading to a Pro license by eliminating the gravy train known as Make. The vast majority of the customer base is probably Make users with a small percentage of Pro (paying) customers. To make SketchUp viable they need a larger volume of paying customers, I get it, I have the same problem with my own plugin income, the volume is too low.

The problem is that in order to charge a Pro price you really need to offer a full fledged “Pro” product. This is where I feel that SketchUp has let itself and its user base down. Only recently has layout become a more serious tool. Without the ability to seamlessly produce production drawings (the real world product of designers and engineers) SketchUp is merely a conceptual tool that no one takes too seriously.

The reason the Pro user base is too small is because it is not full featured enough. The solution is to beef up Pro even more so it can really compete in the marketplace against the big boys. A better product will draw more customers, build it and they will come, as they say. Trying to squeeze your customer base is never a great idea, its only a road to a slow demise.


I have a slightly different view. I think what most people love about SketchUp are its simplicity and its huge extension base. While I think there is plenty of room for improvements in the integration (seamlessness) of LayOut and SketchUp, I wouldn’t want to see a huge amount of complex 3D functionality built into SketchUp. As it is, users can customize SketchUp with their choice of extensions while not being burdened with an application which has so much functionality they find unnecessary.

I completely understand why Trimble needs revenue for its products; a free SketchUp Make is long past unaffordable for Trimble. But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Charge a reasonable price for Make that the hobbyist can afford.

The problem with the path Trimble is currently on is that they have officially said that Make will no longer be developed, merely made available, and they have replaced the product with something that is useless without extensions. Further, the cloud model is simply wrong for: a) 3D modeling and b) people who work from home and may only have DSL or no internet at all. Further, 3D modeling in the cloud will never reach this state:

I believe, once the user base becomes fully aware of the road-map Trimble is pursuing, there will be a movement to another 3D application.

It would be nice to hear from Trimble on their rationale for this road-map.



Is a not paying customer a customer?

Or the price ?

This will likely lead to a ‘race to the bottom’

Why ‘against’ when you can play along ?

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I’m not sure I agree. I personally believe Trimble intends to move everything to the cloud and this is the first step. As I mentioned earlier, it is a significant investment to create a cloud based platform and I can’t imagine it’s only for a free SU version. The question is when will they move Pro to the cloud, and what will be the eventual fallout at that time? At the minimum, I would expect all plugins will have to be rewritten.

This is obviously a huge shift in product marketing and strategy. I hope they paid attention to the New Coke fiasco as they may have a similar conundrum on their hands if not handled correctly. I once read where SU was the most used 3D application in the world. Perhaps that’s no longer a goal?

OTOH, there are some really good cloud-based apps out there. I’m a HUGE fan of Google Apps and insist all contractors I work with use them. The collaboration feature is awesome, and if sharing can be as seamless for SketchUp Live, then that could possibly be a game changer for some. Still, I would really like it if SketchUp would acknowledge others in the 3D ecosystem. There are lots of companies which are now focusing on trimming the pipelines and workflows between their products and 3rd party apps, and I’m not convinced SU yet knows how to play in this world.

We’re in for an interesting next couple of years. And unfortunately, I suspect not much in the way of new 3D functionality as I would think most all resources (people and money) will be spent on this new cloud platform.

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I agree with you to a degree, the simplicity of SketchUp is what draws me to it and the ability to pull in whatever plugin I like courtesy of the excellent API. However, there does seem to be some core functionality that is or was missing and I think other professional users can attest to this.

Don’t get me wrong I love using SketchUp, its a joy to use. I would hate to see it decline because of poor business decisions.


Google Apps does have some very handy tools, I agree that their are certain cloud based apps out there that do excel.

I just don’t see a web based CAD system as successful, at least not in its current form. If you can figure out how to incorporate the Ruby API and support plugins then it might have a chance but my suspicion is that its performance might suffer especially if it is somehow too dependent on the users internet connection.

Taking all of SketchUp to a web based app is utter silliness in my opinion. I always say don’t fix what isn’t broken. What does SketchUp stand to gain by taking their flagship product from a stable desktop app to a cloud based app?


“What does SketchUp stand to gain by taking their flagship product from a stable desktop app to a cloud based app?”

Very good point and the reason I seriously suggested the former Google developers may be trying to pad their resume. I really don’t see any other good reason-- especially when one looks at the downside and potential risks.

For instance, how can one not assume this foretells a similar move to the cloud for SU Pro in a year or two?