There are a lot of makers who really like SketchUp’s approach to 3D modeling. Personally, I think it’s a great way to get kids hooked on the idea of designing physical shapes that they may or may not fabricate with the laser cutter or 3D printer. While it may take a bit to get the hang of scale and accuracy, once you have these habits down, your designs are repeatable with a variety of CNC tools and many different materials. The program is fairly customizable in many ways. There are some really useful plugins, as seen in this list maintained by MakerBlock.
By looking around on Thingiverse and in the MAKE Flickr pool, you can see that SketchUp is a fairly popular tool for many of us looking to bring our ideas onto this side of the computer screen. The Make Ideas Real with SketchUp project is looking for examples of things that have been designed with SketchUp and brought into the world. The folks at SketchUp are gathering stories about how people are using the program to design the things they make.
What have you designed with SketchUp for making? Are there techniques that you’ve developed that make the program better, easier or more accurate? Share your SketchUp tips, tricks and projects in the comments below.