With SketchUp Pro version, which currently costs around A$600, you have several additional features not available in the free SketchUp Make version, one of which is the ability to import CAD files like dwgs and dxfs. We show you how in all of our SketchUp courses.
First, open up the drawing in Autocad. It’s best to turn off all unnecessary layers – dimensions, sewerage, etc. Simplify it to just
the street and buildings. Note that if you have an earlier version of Autocad & need to open a file created in a later version, you can download the DWG TrueConvert tool from AutoDesk.com. Save this as a new file – don’t use your original files. And note that if you don’t have Autocad, you can adjust the layers in SketchUp itself. Free versions after SketchUp 7 cannot import CAD files – you’d have to redraw the plans in plan view from a JPEG.
Then in SketchUp: File > Import > Files of Type: AutoCAD files (dwg, dxf) > select the dwg file > click Options. Check Geometry > options > Units: millimetres (that is, the same as your CAD dwg). Tick Preserve drawing origin (if bringing in multiple CAD files) > OK > Open. Note the Import Results > Close. And zoom out to see the file.
Note that the CAD file is grouped automatically if you are importing it into an existing file – if this was a blank file (with no Derek) you’d have to manually group the imported objects. Go to Window > Layers and note that the Autocad layers have been imported – delete the ones you don’t need. Create a new layer called Buildings > and put the buildings onto it – this will simplify the model while you work on the site > make the Buildings and Contour layers invisible.
Go to Camera > Standard View > Top > and Parallel Projection. Move (M) the CAD file into place over a Google Snapshot and they should line up perfectly. If you need to check the scale of a CAD file: use the Tape Measure tool (T) to measure something you know the size of, eg. a 1-metre doorway, or a site measurement. Note that sometimes it’s not the right size. Work out the scale factor & use the Scale tool to adjust.
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