6 SketchUp Extensions You'll Wish You Were Already Using

    Posted by 3DxBlog Team on Mar 20, 2015 5:00:00 AM


    Screenshot of the SketchUp Extension Warehouse

    “Friendly and forgiving 3D modeling software.” That’s how SketchUp explains its professional, yet easy to use, open-source CAD tool—and for good reason. SketchUp is used daily among CAD professionals and hobbyists alike.

    To provide further benefits for its users, SketchUp has an embedded Ruby-based interpreter. That means anyone can write SketchUp extensions to customize the software.

    The SketchUp extension market is expansive, and offers options for users to save time, automate processes and gain new capabilities. Here are six SketchUp extensions you need to check out.

    1. 1001 Bit Tools 

    Who Should Use This Extension: CAD professionals in the architecture and construction fields.

    Compatibility: SketchUp 6 and newer. 

    1001 Bit Tools provides a variety of tools that enable the fast creation of architectural elements.

    Once installed, you’ll be able to speedily create staircases, windows, doors, walls and customized openings. You can even automate the generation of roofs, rafters and purlins. 90,000+ users so far have found it useful!

    2. Keyframe Animation

    Who Should Use This Extension: Anyone who wants to add some moves to their model.

    Compatibility: SketchUp 8 and newer. 

    The Keyframe Animation extension lets you add movement to any model in SketchUp. You can even adjust the camera angle and movement. What’s more, once you’ve perfected your animation, you can export it as a movie.

    One user says, “I love it, simple and powerful. I was able to make some nice videos.” Another adds, “This thing really works. You have to get used to the required flow, but it's dead simple and reliable. A simple animation takes only a few clicks. Used it many many times.” 

    Download the extension to make animation a breeze. 

    3. CleanUp3 

    Who Should Use This Extension: Professionals who want to save time.

    Compatibility: SketchUp 7 and newer.

    Developed by ThomThom, CleanUp3 cleans up and optimizes your SketchUp models. A few of its extraordinary powers include the ability to fix duplicate component definition names, purge unused items and erase hidden geometry.

    One of CleanUp3’s thousands of users comments, “I am speechless…this tool saves me days of work!” 

    4. Soap Skin and Bubble 

    Who Should Use This Extension: Professionals and hobbyists alike.

    Compatibility: SketchUp 8 and newer.

    Simply put, this extension enables users to generate minimal surfaces from edges. With it, you can apply skins over object edges to create “complex curved surfaces.”

    One reviewer says, “[Soap Skin and Bubble] has been around forever and is still one of the BEST plugins for SketchUp out there.” 

    5. Dynamic Components

    Who Should Use This Extension: A great tool for most industries and hobbyists.

    Compatibility: SketchUp 7 and newer.

    Built by the SketchUp team, this extension lets you add parametric behaviors and animations to SketchUp models.

    “Dynamic Components are components with special attributes that allow for more advanced functionality,” says the team. For example, when working with a component of stairs, “...when resized, [the Dynamic Components extension will] automatically add more steps.”

    Learn more about what this extension has to offer.

    6. Solid Inspector

    Who Should Use This Extension: Professionals who need to ensure model quality.

    Compatibility: SketchUp 6 and newer.

    Solid Inspector performs a simple—but vital—task. It ensures any model you design is completely solid. That means Solid Inspector alerts you if there are any holes, gaps or other non-watertight parts of your design, leading to better quality physical products during the manufacturing process. 

    In fact, this SketchUp extension is so effective, some companies use it in every one of their SketchUp designs! Check it out here

    Are you ready to upgrade your SketchUp workflow? For more great extensions, check out the SketchUp Extension Warehouse

    Need help installing SketchUp extensions? Check out this helpful article from SketchUcation.

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    Image Source: FHKE via Flickr

    Tags: CAD Tips and Tricks, Productivity