Author Topic: SketchUp users: have you tried CadSpan plugin?  (Read 356 times)

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peteski

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SketchUp users: have you tried CadSpan plugin?
« on: December 04, 2018, 03:24:50 PM »
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I posted this question few days ago in the 3D CAD Software thread but with no replies I decided to ask in a separate thread.

Have any of you SketchUp users ever use the CadSpan plugin? http://www.cadspan.com/tools

When I played with SketchUp few years ago I installed it and it seemed useful for drawing items for 3D printing, but I never got to the point where I had anything useful to try printing it out.  Looks like the plugin is still available and still free.

If nobody here used it, maybe one of you more seasoned SketchUp users coudl take it for a spin and give us your evaluation of its usuefulness?
--- Peteski de Snarkski
--- Honorary Resident Curmudgeon

narrowminded

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Re: SketchUp users: have you tried CadSpan plugin?
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2018, 12:25:18 AM »
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Hi Pete.  I just tried Sketchup for the first time this past Sunday but wasn't going to post anything until I had 3D printed it and proven it to myself.  This was done as an extension of the remarks I had made in the cad thread about simple and cheap should be sufficient without actually having tried this plus my own need and lack of effort I had put into my Turbocad program.  Turns out I had a drawing ready to try in the printer within a day, including figuring the program out, and I'm actually thinking it will be a quite satisfactory program for hobby train modellers, certainly newbies and maybe even for the duration.  It was easy to use and the same model would take me maybe an hour next time and with more practice, probably fifteen minutes.  It's a bit early but I think I can say with some conviction now that this program is totally adequate for a novice to start in 3D printing and maybe for the duration.  And if you're having trouble getting off the ground with this one it'll be exponentially worse with any of the "fancier" programs that probably won't have much if any advantage for this most basic purpose.  It's not without merit and a user will know what and why they need to step up, if ever.

Now, all of that to get to this.  There is a free extension from the Sketchup site that does this work and it works well.  They also have an extension for exporting directly as an .stl file for 3D printing.  Those two extension downloads were recommended in a video and they do well.  That might be why nobody has responded.  Maybe nobody's using it because they haven't had a need.

Those two extensions can be found on the Sketchup site in the "Extension Warehouse".  They are under the titles "Sketchup STL"  and "Solid Inspector 2", assuming you're using a newer Sketchup free download.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2018, 02:14:02 AM by narrowminded »
Mark G.

peteski

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Re: SketchUp users: have you tried CadSpan plugin?
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2018, 12:52:45 AM »
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Thanks Mark.
Judging by complete lack of responses from other SketchUp users here, nobody uses (or even tried) the CadSpan plugin.  I guess it's out, and the ones you mentioned will be tried (when I get back into using SketchUp).
--- Peteski de Snarkski
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Chris333

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Re: SketchUp users: have you tried CadSpan plugin?
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2018, 12:54:41 AM »
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I've been to busy to try it yet.

Chris333

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Re: SketchUp users: have you tried CadSpan plugin?
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2018, 07:54:39 AM »
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I have the stl exporter add on already, before that I think I was using Netfabb to turn the files into a stl. I just clicked the Cadspan link and saw "free trial" so I just don't want to mess with it.

Does it repair stl files or just export them?

peteski

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Re: SketchUp users: have you tried CadSpan plugin?
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2018, 12:26:15 PM »
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I have the stl exporter add on already, before that I think I was using Netfabb to turn the files into a stl. I just clicked the Cadspan link and saw "free trial" so I just don't want to mess with it.

Does it repair stl files or just export them?

Not really sure. When I dabbled with SketchUp (around 4 years ago) I just played with reversing surfaces. Never got to the point of exporting or printing anything.  I believe there are multiple CadSpan offerings - one is free.  SketchUp was made to mainly allow people to draw 3D representations of buildings for Google Maps/Earth, and at that point using it for 3D printing was not the real intent. So there weren't many plugins for it to do 3D pringin design. IIRC, CadSpan was the only "free" one I found at the time,

Again, looks like lots have changed in those years and there are many other alternatives available.  I was just curious if someone in this group was using it and if not, why?  Not having been playing with SketchUp for a while I was just feeling things out.
--- Peteski de Snarkski
--- Honorary Resident Curmudgeon

Mike the Modeler

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Re: SketchUp users: have you tried CadSpan plugin?
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2018, 02:36:20 PM »
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Hi all,
I have been using Sketchup since version 2008 now and have been using it for 3D printing since version 2016. I use the Export/3D model command to create a .dae file that I upload to Shapeways for printing. I have not used the CadSpan plugin but did review the video in the link provided here. It appears that this plugin helps create a water tight solid, based on the outer most shell, that is mandatory for 3D printing.
The biggest challenge I had with using Sketchup for 3D printable models was ensuring I had a water tight model. I have since learned how to ensure this most of the time ( more careful drafting as well as  checking the entity information regularly to ensure the program still registers its interior volume)  and have also been using the pro version that has solids tools not available in the free version. This has allowed me to create individual water tight components then have SU join them together into a single solid for printing. The Shapeways model review process seems to also correct for minor errors in water tightness, as it has taken and printed some models that were not registering as water tight in Sketchup.
The following is one of the more complicated models that I have drawn in SU and have had printed.

Regards, Mike
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rodsup9000

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Re: SketchUp users: have you tried CadSpan plugin?
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2018, 03:36:50 PM »
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using the pro version that has solids tools not available in the free version.
Regards, Mike


 Mike,

 This is news to me and I've been using pro since 2013 (and the newest I have is 2017). How is this done????
This will help me out a lot to learn how to make solids.

Thanks
Rodney

My Feather River Canyon in N-scale
http://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=31585.0

peteski

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Re: SketchUp users: have you tried CadSpan plugin?
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2018, 03:52:11 PM »
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Hi all,
I have been using Sketchup since version 2008 now and have been using it for 3D printing since version 2016. I use the Export/3D model command to create a .dae file that I upload to Shapeways for printing. I have not used the CadSpan plugin but did review the video in the link provided here. It appears that this plugin helps create a water tight solid, based on the outer most shell, that is mandatory for 3D printing.
Regards, Mike

Thanks for the info.

That is very impressive Mike!  I'm curious: do you have any idea (even a rough estimate) how many hours it took to design that lovely station?
--- Peteski de Snarkski
--- Honorary Resident Curmudgeon

Mike the Modeler

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Re: SketchUp users: have you tried CadSpan plugin?
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2018, 07:35:39 PM »
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Mike,

 This is news to me and I've been using pro since 2013 (and the newest I have is 2017). How is this done????
This will help me out a lot to learn how to make solids.

Thanks

This link to the SU help area of the Trimble web site explains the solids tools better then I can. https://help.sketchup.com/en/sketchup/modeling-complex-3d-shapes-solid-tools
The important thing I learned is that YOU have to draw a solid, i.e. something that does not leak, in order for the solid tools to work, and the object must be a "group" for SU to recognize it as a solid. The "solids tools" wont turn you drawing into a solid. If one or more objects you are trying to manipulate is not a solid the functions will not work. Knowing this I now build my models in batches of smaller parts that I know are solids, then join them using the "union" tool in the solids menu. I find it most efficient to join two groups together at a time because I can more easily identify which group is the problem if one is not being recognized as a solid. I do combine more than two when I am confident they are all solids, but doing too many really bogs down the cpu on my machine.

One other thing I learned that prevents SU from recognizing a group as a solid is if you leave behind a stray line fragment either inside or outside of the planes that create the shell. The only lines allowed are ones that create the shell.

Back to Peteski's original question, the add on he asks about , based on my viewing of the video on their site, cleans out stuff  inside the outer most shell in addition to converting it to an STL.

Mike the Modeler

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Re: SketchUp users: have you tried CadSpan plugin?
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2018, 07:47:24 PM »
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Thanks for the info.

That is very impressive Mike!  I'm curious: do you have any idea (even a rough estimate) how many hours it took to design that lovely station?

Oh heavens, a  long time. I drew it awhile ago and dont recall. I started by using the import photo tool and traced over it for the beginning. A lot of time was spent studying photos from different time periods to fill in detail as I went around the building. I was also in learning mode, and did not understand solids at that time. I went back after my post and looked at the model again in SU and my parts are not recognized as solids by SU but the Shapeways model review software they run at upload still accepted them and they printed them beautifully. Thank you for your kind words of appreciation.

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peteski

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Re: SketchUp users: have you tried CadSpan plugin?
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2018, 09:49:40 PM »
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Thanks for all the info Mike!  Will come in handy when I'll tackle 3D design.
--- Peteski de Snarkski
--- Honorary Resident Curmudgeon