What’s up with SketchUp Make?

You keep saying I can use Sketchup Make 2017. I can’t. It crashes on my computer which is a relatively new and powerful Thinkpad with a NVIDIA Quadro M4000M. See https://forums.sketchup.com/t/sketchup-2017-started-crashing/45688.

Sketchup Make 2016 is no longer available.

It does not seem to be a common problem, but others have it as well. It is what happens when you stop supporting software.

Somewhere it says there was an update on October. The current version is the same as the one I got on 4/10/2017 and it crashes. It crashes without any explanation after selecting “Start using Sketchup”. I have traced it in a debugger and found the location where it fails. With that information, it shouldn’t be hard to fix, but I get no response. I have no idea whether the Pro version would work or not.

Many people have presented their thoughts on removing support for Sketchup Make. Here are mine:

  1. The web version is really lacking. It doesn’t have extensions, 3D Mouse, or good performance. IMHO it is a bad way to go. It will not make me upgrade to Pro, and it probably takes more development effort than supporting a “light” version.

  2. I am an occasional user not making money from Sketchup. The price for Pro is too high for me to rationalize.

  3. It made sense for Google to provide Sketchup for free. It makes less sense for Trimble to do so. If people don’t get paid for developing software, they tend to stop doing it.

  4. I don’t see a free community developing for Sketchup as it has for Blender, Gimp, LIbreOffice, and others.

  5. I would be willing to pay for Make, but my idea is more in the $50 range. That is what “light” versions of programs with similar complexity tend to run.

  6. Sooner or later the fair price of anything is what people are willing to pay for it.


From your other thread:

So SketchUp 2017 did work before Lenovo screwed up your computer.

Where does it fail?

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I’ve been a non-professional Sketch-Up user since long before Trimble, and have liked it so much that I upgraded every year, including 2017. I do not have constant access to the web, so the new web based SketchUp Free will not work for me. But the problems with the select tool and Windows 10 make every edition I have unusable, and now the news is that there will be no upgrades to Windows Make. I’ve tried every fix for the issue I can find and none of them work. I used to enjoy SketchUp and talked it up to others. Now, it appears, I will have to look for an alternative. It’s disappointing, for SketchUp has been such a great program; and probably for the most part, still is; but the combination of policies and bugs have spoiled it for me, and probably for many others.


Putting the free version in the cloud and not having a continual plan for downloadable versions in the future will stop people, like me, from learning and playing with sketch-up off-line. Poor connections or metered connections (i.e. pay per MB) will make this software unusable. Additionally, I like my privacy and do not want my models stored in the cloud. Thank you for keeping the 2017 version available for download but it will be a bummer if this is the last free downloadable version.


Wow, what a huge dilemma for Trimble!

Wasn’t Trimble was a 3D scanner company before they bought Sketchup? I feel the reason they purchased Sketchup was they didn’t want to reinvent the wheel and develop their own CAD software from the ground up. Since purchasing Sketchup haven’t they have started to integrating Sketchup into their laser scanning software? with what I feel was the long term goal of being able run a scan (on a Trimble scanner!!!) and have a fully functional CAD model.

From what I read here they made the agreement with Google to keep it free and now they are stuck doing so! so the cloud based is their way of dealing with it!!! It appears that supporting Make does not fit into their business model as they see no benefit from it!!!

I am a huge fan of Sketchup Make and started using make at home for projects and after a while I convinced the company to purchase the Pro version and a Trimble laser scanner!!! Had I been running the Free online version I would have never done so!

I also think that Sketchup is the reason for development of programs like AutoCAD’s Fusion 360 which is free for home users. They have seen the benefits of having people use their software before making purchasing decisions!!!

Seems they are stuck between their commitment to Google and the Make user community that made them who they are today!!!


You might find this short read interesting.

I don’t believe Trimble has any agreements with Google to continue a free version. Google bought SketchUp from @Last Software with the intent to use it to populate Google Earth with 3D buildings. They released a free version to the public in hopes that those users of the free version would use it to draw the buildings for Earth. Google wasn’t at all secretive about their motives with the free version of SketchUp. It didn’t take long for users to discover that they could draw fantasy spaceships and computer components and furniture and everything else. It also didn’t take Google long to figure out that most of those users weren’t going to make 3D buildings for Earth and they found other technologies to do that. After that SketchUp was no longer useful to Google. If Trimble hadn’t seen the potential and purchased it, Google would very likely have killed it like they’ve done with a whole bunch of other applications they purchased. See this link for a list. They certainly weren’t making the resources available for real product improvement.

Fusion 360 is cloud-based.

Thanks DaveR Good read! and yea not sure about an agreement just know what I am reading about it here.

Yes Fusion 360 is cloud based and it’s a pain in the rear! which is why I like my Sketchup the way it is… and I think that Sketchup has made an impact on the CAD industry or else why would AutoCAD put the investment into their own free version?

Guess my only point is if were not for using Make at home I would have never influenced the company I work at to look at and purchase Trimble products!

Just seems that the current trend in a lot of services is pay for what you use just like television is doing… seems like Sketchup was ahead of the curve and now going backwards.


Thanks for your reply. As to Lenovo screwing up my computer, it is not clear to me that is what has happened. The computer works fine in other respects. I use several OpenGL programs, including Google Earth, DAZ Studio, Carrara, Hexagon, and others. They continue to work all right. I have found SketchUp 2016 works all right, as well.

If, in fact, it is a Leonovo error, then my telling them I can no longer run Sketchup Make, is unlikely to solve it. It would require Trimble’s telling them or giving me the information needed to identify the Lenovo problem to do something useful. That isn’t happening.

I am happy with Lenovo, but I will have to say that no longer supporting Make, providing a significantly inferior replacement, and removing the other archive versions of Make does not exactly enamor me with Trimble.

As I said, I am an occasional SketchUp user. Whether I use Sketchup 2017 or 2016 going forward is not of particular significance to me. I would hate to have to be forced to use Sketchup Free, however.

As to where it failed, I was able to attach to it in Visual Studio, and know where it crashed. Without the source code that is not of much use. The crash information was sent to Trimble via the BugSplat, and they have it. There is more information as to where it happened in the other post.

It seems appropriate to discusss that Sketchup Make 2017 is not working in this topic, but the details and a possible fix should be done in the other topic, if you want to pursue it.

Thanks for your interest.

Excellent brief history. Exactly as I recall it.

Agreement or not, Google did set users up with the expectation of free software, which is now difficult for Trimble to work its way out of.

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Sketchup does have a lot of flaws. you can’t draw geometry under 3mm with out hacking [Scaling] to mention one

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All 3D modeling software has a working size range. You happen to be bumping into the lower limit for some modeling operations in SU. Try a new approach to making small stuff. Go ahead and start modeling to size. Before size-related issues appear, make the model a component. Make a component copy and place it somewhere off to the side and out of the way. Scale up the component copy. Make your modifications in the large copy. Being a component, all the changes will appear in the small original. It’s just that the tools don’t like to work on very small geometry.


This is an excellent point. I always model at a scale factor of X then scale down once the model is complete but this is a much better solution.

I normally do architectural work - but had the chance to do some product design. I modeled the backpack and associated components at 10x normal size, and using LayOut (imagine that, I paid for pro software!) - I set up various dimension scales for the work.

Even at 10x the size I had a few instances where I couldn’t complete solid functions - so I did exactly this - copy everything off to the side, make those components all 10x larger once again. I eventually just left these in place and would use them as needed.

I’ve seen this a few times in architectural work - mainly when detailing compound joinery for roof systems. Same process works.

For anyone who comes along and doesn’t understand what this is about, Box made a nice tutorial on it.

I’ve been using and teaching this for more than a dozen years. It’s very useful for many of the things I model.


The knurling on the knob is geometry, not texture.


I am dismayed by the move to a web-based model. I actually wouldn’t mind if there was a low-cost desktop version ($60-$100). But not having a desktop option is a killer. I was about to teach my grandson SketchUp because I didn’t want to use the online TinkerCad. But now I have no reason to turn him to SketchUp. So, back to TinkerCad.


I wouldn’t be too put off by the change. Make is still available and will probably work for many years to come, as has been mentioned. I daily use cnc software from probably 1998 maybe earlier. It runs on windows 10 and is incredibly stable, I don’t think it’s ever crashed.
Go ahead and teach your grandson I’m sure he’ll love it, my daughter sure does.


Download Make 2017. Use it for a long long time.

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Good advice. Thanks.

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Since you’ve asked for feedback, here’s mine…

Lets see, the only choices,

  • a free desktop version that is no longer developed,
  • a free online version that’s crippled (to the point of almost becoming unusable) and also difficult to use without an excellent internet account,
  • or the pro version which the average hobbyist cannot afford ($700 cdn) or cannot justify the cost for a few extra features.

Do you know what will happen Trimble? … WAREZ!
Sketchup Pro is so easy to obtain “FOR FREE” and has become much more common on the warez/torrent/usenet internet sites. Without a usable desktop free version, (or even a consumer $50-$100 cdn version) people could turn to warez. Who cares, you say? They were using a free version anyway?
Well, … as the warez Pro version becomes really popular, potential paying customers could stop paying $700 cdn, and pickup a copy online for FREE! Do you have any idea how many copies of Photoshop and Microsoft Office are used in business without the programmers earning a cent?

Is this really the path you potentially want to follow?

Give the people what they want at a fair price they will pay, or you will lose those consumers and some potential (and current) paying ones, who could and probably will turn to Warez.

$700 cdn for a program (no matter how wonderful but outdated it is) that has continuously “Bugsplatting” for the last 3-5 versions (Despite spending more troubleshooting time on Sketchup then on Windows, lol) does not deserve the full price!

Is it too much trouble to make sure that ALL extensions in the warehouse work together with the latest versions of Sketchup? Too much time has been spent isolating a misbehaving extension. I would assume they should all be working and fully tested before releasing to the warehouse.

I would recommend, bring back Make and continue with the online version. Despite Microsoft trying their best to ruin things, Sketchup should be (after all these years) alot more stable than it is, isn’t it time to fix it? I believe it is time to upgrade the display, it looks to me like 256 bit VGA. You should only allow extensions that are fully tested, alone and in combination. Apple controls their apps/games to improve reliability, do you not control the extension warehouse? Add some features (at the minimum, the extensions developed by Sketchup) and develope Make into a consumer level product. Charge people a reasonable price, say $50-$125 cdn. I bet a large number of former free users will pay for this version.

Next develope the Pro version into a real 3D product. Including the improvements made to Make, you should add some professional tools to create B-Spline & Bezier Curves, Architect and/or Woodworking building tools, simple rendering, UV control, real animation, GPS/GIS and procedural support and more. If the cost is too great to be included, these features could be in additional modules which could be purchased separately.

Making these changes and Sketchup will be seen as a more professional 3D designing product. A fully decked out and improved Sketchup Pro product would be worth more than $700 cdn.


Well said. :point_up_2: Trimble; How about a system like DAZ Studio? They give away the core of the software away for free, and then charge for extras like plugins, clothes, hair, etc. I don’t even consider using an online only application of any kind. Too vulnerable to attacks. Ever heard of Equifax?

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