What’s up with SketchUp Make?



That didn’t go unnoticed here, especially in a school/teaching environment with makerspaces and 3D printers.

Of course the important companion to STL output is Solid Inspector, but I suppose that depends on Thomthom’s underlying library.


Solid Inspector like all of TT’s extensions is a Ruby-based extension, which won’t be available on SketchUp Free until some time after it implements an extension API.


I am going for popcorn and to pee, anyone need anything while I am up…??


Another way to get a printable file would be to upload it to the 3D Warehouse and check the box to make a printable model.


As I figured.


OK, I do now understand there is a focus on trying to get extensions to work sometime in the future. I suppose we can expect the whole app (PRO + FREE) to end up in the cloud at some point? If not, then this truly is a waste of valuable developer resources.


  • Eventually when SU Pro goes to the cloud, we’re back to one code base set.
  • Nothing to download (except I suspect there will need to be a ‘cached’ app somewhere so when you’re not connected to the cloud you can still do work like GApps.)
  • Easy to update all at once.
  • Can perhaps run on slower machines as most heavy processing can be done in the cloud (aka OnShape).
  • If prefs ever get implemented, it will be nice to have them stored online for all computers.
  • No license per computer and no dreaded licensing conundrum Trimble has put us through year after year.
  • Makes the Google Chromebooks team happy!


  • Not pipeline or ecosystem friendly. If you can’t quickly save and open the program in a different app. In fact I’m not even sure how to actually download the file. If it’s not as simple as SAVE to FOLDER then it’s a fail for working in any sort of workflow, pipeline or other ecosystem. And because there is no renderer, no animator and other missing items, it’s necessary to go to 3rd parties to get things done.
  • By focussing on the cloud, valuable resources are usurped which could be used to actually add some new and needed features. Those resources are now focussed on making the proper frameworks, trying to get existing extensions to play, client-side code, and the whole cloud architecture, among other things.
  • Takes a long time to put everything in place-- and meanwhile SketchUp core features keeps getting further and further behind. SU2018 is such an example. It’s more than clear all the dev resources are now focused on the cloud as this is the lamest update I can ever remember.
  • Sometimes instant updates create serious problems and if not adequately tested can be very problematic for professionals on a schedule. I hope you consider the ability for customers to roll back to previous versions.

So, instead of finally getting a fillet or chamfer command, or UV mapping (after all it is 2017), or better booleans, or even a decent renderer, we are now watching the programmers spend all their time on trying to figure out load balancing on servers and how to get around the limitations of different browsers.

I sure would’ve like to have been in THAT meeting where the decision was made to allocate major development resources to move the whole codebase to the cloud. I would be surprised if an actual 3d professional was involved. Perhaps the decision was made by programmers knowing they need to add cloud development capabilities to their resume? Certainly judging from official replies from former Google Employees there is a love and fascination of cloud computing.

Nothing against the cloud-- I’ve managed cloud development for large companies-- it’s just I believe it’s important to correctly prioritize resources. And putting significant resources towards this effort when there’s so much more to do in bringing SketchUp up to date.

It is more and more apparent to me there is little focus at Trimble on what users need to actually model buildings, products, and 3D prints in 2017. There have been very few tools added over the past decade. Yes, I know we all EXPECT the plugin developers to create them for Trimble. Still, even the magnificent Fredo can’t easily build the standard filleting tool every other poly modeler has because of the internal architecture of SU.

Here’s what SketchUp 2 looked like in 2003. Mostly all the same tools. That was 15 years ago!

alt text

Yes, I know the original design was a departure from standard vertex poly modelers…and a good one at that. Even so, there are so many ways to make it better. Trimble seems very reluctant to actually add the necessary features, and instead they’ve decided to now spend resources into isolating the program, and it’s users, in the cloud. I’m just wondering if the programmers are actual 3D guys, or former Google Cloud computing developers?

PS I LOVE the markdown editor you all use in this forum :slight_smile:

An open letter to Trimble

Normally I like web-based software but not in this case. I often work with the free version of SU at a location with absolutely no Internet connection (drop in the Colorado mountains.). So a web-based version would kill me.

I have this issue with a CriCut machine, and it is very aggravating. In fact, I rarely use it anymore.

If I had to get SU free version only online, I would have to stop using it and go to a different product, probably CAD-based. Which would be sad, because I LOVE SketchUp!

Mike Conder


By the way, there is still only one code-base of SketchUp and two UIs (+ mobile app UIs etc.). However if the cloud version won’t use Ruby for an extension API there could be at most two code bases for each extension (but this is out of the scope of this discussion).

For individual users all the cloud advantages are very questionable: Did you notice that your devices are located most of the time at a small set of places? Either at home (always the same), at work, in your pocket. And the most common denominator is the location of the user (you). That raises the question why upload to and trust a foreign cloud server on the other side of the world if — with a simple chip in your brain — you could sync and copy paste from your desktop to your phone and always have all data with you.

But for SketchUp it means continuous delivery, the ability to deploy fixes and updates at any time accelerates development. And most of all the eradication of unlicensed commercial desktop usage means less fare-dodgers cannibalize revenue, there are more resources available for more new Pro features. As you know, my.sketchup was available already for some time (and it opened SketchUp to the important education market). Discontinuing SketchUp Make as a desktop version means not more resources spent for the cloud, but more resources becoming freed.

Considering the ubiquitous availability of poor and unstable network connectivity, I doubt at any time in the future SketchUp will dare to tie its most important customers, Pro users, to a cloud-based version.

You are right, it looks similar because of continuity. But SketchUp 2 had no extensions, and contrary to common belief extensions are not solely the work of extension developers but also of the significant effort behind the design and continuous improvement of such a qualitative and complete extension API.

Sketchup Pro Future?

I seem to remember the names of some of the developers who frequent these forums from the @Last days, before Google, that is.


Maybe It’s because

not ‘The way it looks’

It is just a tool, but what if every kid in the world knows how that tool looks? And feels? And works? What if you encountered that tool many times whilst growing up, that tool would become an ‘Archaic Icon’ like the colored pencil box for a designer, the Rotrings Rapidograph set for a technical drawer etc.

Neither option appeals to me, for if you let to ‘3D-guys’ (or programmers) control how the programs would have to look like, you would end up with a ‘gray mass looking, race to the bottom, all features within it, uncontrollable program’
We need a team that is a mixture of many: Knows how the world works today, how it would likely to work tomorrow, and how to transform.

‘It always starts with a simple box’


One of the most aggravating things about SketchUp is the difficulty of printing a model, either"Fit to page" or “Scale”. Having to change the SketchUp window size to get a correct printout makes SketchUp look amateurish. I would have hoped that a few resources would have been spent fixing this 15+ years after SketchUp introduction. Every new user stumbles on this and has to go to the internet to discover how to get a simple print out. But hey, we have a new toy, SketchUp Free.



It has been solved years ago with the introduction of the LayOut application. There is no need to print directly from Sketchup. Just like AutoCad, in the 1900s you needed to print from the model space view, nowadays practically everyone uses the paper space layouts.


Give me a break! A Make user is supposed to pay $695 just so they can print? I am a Pro user and few of my models make it to LayOut. I just need a quick scaled drawing for my shop. LayOut takes time and moving a model to it just to get a scaled drawing is ridiculous.



But you CAN print to scale from SketchUp. Just follow the instructions. They have never failed me.

And, 98% of the reasons why printing to scale from SketchUp fails (it fails in LayOut too for the same reason) is this:


Next time, take the time to make a template which you can use, this will save you time in the long end!


Why is it that people who love SketchUp feel the need to protect it from feedback and constructive criticism? Is it a religious thing?

I love SketchUp too. I wrote a book on SketchUp (https://www.amazon.com/Woodworkers-Complete-Illustrated-Guide-Sketchup/dp/1440342016). In it I tell the reader SketchUp was the best thing to happen for woodworking. But it does have a lot of shortcomings. And please don’t try to teach me about drafting. I learned about perspective vs. isometric in my college drafting class in 1963. I am an engineer and I thoroughly understand it. I also have a LayOut template, but that doesn’t make it any less bothersome to export a model to LayOut.

Here is the problem with SketchUp printing:

  1. One should not have to go to another application to get correct printing results, or to print at all. Especially if you have File commands Print SetUp, Print Preview and Print.
  2. In any computer application “Fit to page” means enlarge (or shrink) the useful content such that it uses the maximum area of the print sheet. Seems obvious, but not to SketchUp.
  3. The “Scale” fields are greyed out. To select them you have to close the dialog box, Select Camera > Parallel Projection, re-op the Print Preview dialog box and then set up the “Scale” parameters. It would make more sense to allow the user to select “Scale” radio button and have SketchUp temporarily select Parallel Projection, or at least place a note on the Print Preview dialog box that the “Scale” parameters will remain greyed out until the user selects Parallel Projection. I can’t tell you the number of new, and frustrated, SketchUp users I had to guide through this. It is not obvious at all.
  4. When printing to scale, the amount of white space should be a non-issue. And when you enter a scale the “Page size” should be correct. See slides 1 through 3 attached. Notice on slide_1 that SketchUp will output 28 pages when only 1 is required. Also notice in slides 2 & 3 that the “Page size” is incorrect until you place your cursor in one of those fields.

Have you ever looked at how many different responses you get when you Google “how to print to scale in sketchup”. I myself have at least four of them out there. My point is that this issue has been around for 15+ years with no attention, just like many other SketchUp issues (e.g. the inability to delete a component in Ruby code even though you can from the user interface). The printing problem in particular is an example of things that makes SketchUp seem amateurish; makes it is hard to take it as a serious application.

So go ahead. Protect SketchUp from constructive criticism as if they are children and can’t take it. If we fail to expose them to constructive criticism we are doomed to get toys like SketchUp Free.



Where’s the interact tool? I’d love to have my clients view my models on a web app, but not if they can’t interact with it.
Is this a feature that will be included soon?


@Aerilius You state, “By the way, there is still only one code-base of SketchUp”.

I would bet $$$ they are not the exact same codebase. I suppose they probably use some of the same code, but there has to be some modifications for it to work correctly on the cloud. Perhaps they have automated build processes so most of the deltas are added automatically, but it still isn’t the same code. Most developers also will tell you, the details are in the implementation, and especially in the UX, which requires a significant amount of code, which in this case is 100% different from the desktop and PRO.

I have zero idea what you mean in your second paragraph. “simple chip in your brain?” WHAT are you talking about?

And you tout “Continuous Delivery?” Exactly WHAT are you expecting they will continuously deliver? If the speed of new 3D features is anything like the last few years, then I suspect the continuous delivery will make no difference at all, other than an update to the JS framework they’re using, and a new icon design or two.

And please stop about the pirating. Pirates exist, they always will. As a software developer myself, I don’t believe I’ve ever lost a single sale to a pirate, because pirates don’t buy software, no matter what. The real goal is to not have casual piracy which means not allowing folks to send their reg info to a friend so they can use it. SU already does a fine job in preventing casual piracy.

More resourcing becoming freed? Ok, now I know you nothing about what you speak of. Porting to the cloud an application of this scope is an immense task. OnShape raised $80,000,000 for their company who already had experienced CAD developers, with much of it targeted toward the OnShape Cloud Platform. This is NOT trivial stuff.

And regarding extensions-- can you name one other 3D program which relies on extensions as much as SU? There is none. Why do you think that is? Because they have a superior API? No, I doubt that. In fact ask the OTOY developers how easy it is to write plugins for Octane in SketchUp. They’ve been at it for 2 years now and still struggle mightily. Yet they have successfully added plugins to 17 other 3D program out there, including all the top ones.

No, the reason there are so many plugins is because SU lacks in so many features.


@MikeWayzovski I guess the interface for this tool still works
alt text

Though I (and most others) would prefer a newer solution with more functionality
alt text

Furthermore, my point was NOT about the way the interface looks. It’s a point about how few actual 3D features have been added to the program since 2003.

I understand your point about diversity. But, if one only uses carpenters who know how to use a hammer, all solutions will end up involving nails– which can be a problem, especially when screws are needed!


Let’s the engineers of the code decide that, how much is same and not.

Bridle your words, most of your post goes far over what’s already been said or what’s necessary.

Insights? From what I’ve read on the forum I’d guess they can sing a song of it. Apart from piracy (which I didn’t mean), there exists some uncounted inappropriate use of the free version for commercial purposes (no cracking or pirating is even needed). But I agree, we don’t know really the extent.

A technical term, looking it up resolves the misinterpretation.