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  • 1.  Sketchup vs. AutoCAD

    Posted 06-06-2017 01:14 PM

    I have recently started using Sketchup Make, and have found it much simpler and easier to use than AutoCAD (granted, I haven't done much with AutoCAD). However, if I have to send something to an architect who's using AutoCAD, I'll need to save it in a format he or she can use. Does anyone have any experience with this? I understand I'll have to get Sketchup Pro in order to save my drawings as dwg's, and I will do so if I hear it's workable.

    Steven Mullett B.S., S.M.ASCE
    Newbury OH

  • 2.  RE: Sketchup vs. AutoCAD

    Posted 06-07-2017 10:00 AM
    It's really between you and the architect.  I'm not sure if you're actually working with an architect or if this is a hypothetical question about what is standard in the industry.

    In my experience, nearly all CAD drawings in the US are made with Autodesk's AutoCAD or Bentley's Microstation.  AutoCAD seems more popular on the building design side and Microstation more popular on the transportation side, although that's not exclusive.

    More work, though, is being performed with BIM/3d software like Autodesk's Revit.

    Work can always be sent to an architect, client, fabricator, or contractor the old-fashioned way - with a hand drawn sketch - if they're amenable to it!

    Greg Thein, PE
    Cleveland, OH

  • 3.  RE: Sketchup vs. AutoCAD

    Posted 06-08-2017 12:37 PM
    Thanks, everybody! I appreciate your input!

    Steven Mullett B.S., A.M.ASCE
    Newbury OH

  • 4.  RE: Sketchup vs. AutoCAD

    Posted 06-07-2017 10:00 AM
    I use sketchup pro with layout for a lot of my structural engineering and design projects. Several designers and PME engineers I work with still use autoCAD. I send them .dwg exports out of sketchup with only a basic linework layer on as well as .pdf's of the full drawings with all info. They do the same when sending me theirs. Sometimes .dwg imports into sketchup combine layers, so I also use true view to view incoming .dwg's. There are some good youtube videos that sketchup put out that document Nick Sonder's (architect) sketchup only workflow and how he collaborates with autoCAD users on his team.

    Curtis McLawhorn, PE
    McLawhorn Engineering, PLLC
    Washington, NC

  • 5.  RE: Sketchup vs. AutoCAD

    Posted 06-07-2017 10:41 AM
    I'm not famiiliar with Sketchup but most CAD programs allow you to save as a .dxf file which can be read by Autocad as well as other CAD programs.

    Robert Kuhn P.E., M.ASCE
    Vulcan Materials Co
    Glendale CA

  • 6.  RE: Sketchup vs. AutoCAD

    Posted 06-07-2017 10:42 AM
    Ok i will also start to using sketchup. I really happy with your response to Sketchup,i will try it.

  • 7.  RE: Sketchup vs. AutoCAD

    Posted 06-08-2017 12:39 PM
    HI Steven
    Very important question.
    The architects used to use the DXF or something like that for files. Recently, due to new computer programs and new technology, and electronic manufacturing you may verify with the architects what program are using to save drawings files sending to you. Some drafters have very tricky way to save files for engineers.
    The Architectural Engineering is my expertise.
    Good question.
    Soussan Bathaee

    Sent from my iPad

  • 8.  RE: Sketchup vs. AutoCAD

    Posted 06-09-2017 09:35 AM
    I really like sketchup myself but my office works with almost exclusively 2D autoCAD drawings. Does sketchup make workable 2D drawings from the model?
    Granted, I haven't played with it in awhile but when I did in the past, the 2D views were legible but not really good enough for permit documents.
    I'm just curious if they have upgraded then component now.

    Nathan Smith P.E., M.ASCE
    Engineered Steel Products, Inc.
    Randleman NC

  • 9.  RE: Sketchup vs. AutoCAD

    Posted 06-09-2017 01:05 PM
    There is absolutely nothing at all wrong or inferior with using Sketchup or any other software that you prefer or are familiar with to produce sketches, drawings, construction documents, etc.  It really is personal preference, and as long as you can get the results that you need, it really doesn't matter what you use.  However, that being said, if you are experiencing difficulties submitting file types that are compatible with architects and engineers that you are working with, then the very best solution is to utilize a software platform that allows you to produce the exact, native file types that you need rather than using some conversion software or convoluted work around to achieve the same results.  If you are going to work in this industry and need to interact with engineers and architects, since .dwg or .dwf for AutoCAD or .dgn for Microstation are the overwhelming file types used in this arena, I would suggest investing in software that produces these file types and learn it.  It might hurt a bit up front, but in the long run it will be worthwhile.  
         If you want to dig a hole, you could certainly do it with a 2x4, but a shovel would work much better.  Always use the correct tool for any job that you are doing and you will get better results.  If the only tool in our toolbox is a hammer, we tend to treat every problem like a nail.

    Mike Wilson P.E., M.ASCE
    Kennedy / Jenks
    San Francisco CA

  • 10.  RE: Sketchup vs. AutoCAD

    Posted 06-12-2017 09:33 AM
    I learned to draw/draft with paper and pencil. The HP 35 came out in my Junior year in College. (Kind of dates me) I am a mining/civil engineer. I am also a MAC guy and Autocad does not run on a MAC. I use Archicad which starts in 3D from the get go. Autocad is a pain in the ass and only works in 2D.

    If I need to share with other Architects/Engineers I ask for .dxf files. When I work in 3D I can save that view in .dxf format- but it is only 2D, Archicad can save to various formats.

    I once had a housing development file sent to me in DWG format. I had a heck of a time with one manhole cover. Turned out that it was "anchored" by a control point 6 miles north of the site. Job security for the guy who drafted it!

    I would send you a copy of an archicad drawing but the system wants access to my entire dropbox file. This is how Facebook and Linkedin work. They get in to your email and send everybody you ever knew an invite to join. Be cautious!

    Richard Laprairie P.E., P.Eng, M.ASCE
    LMI Engineering L.L.C.
    Reno NV