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Thread: Sketchup to SB vCarve version 7.5

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2021

    Default Sketchup to SB vCarve version 7.5

    I am starting to learn Sketchup. I only have the free web version. I created a simple project and downloaded the .skp file. I tried to open it in vCarve Pro v7.5 (Shopbot version) and it says failed to open. When I downloaded I specified 2017 Sketchup download. I am guessing that the two are not compatible and maybe I need a newer version of vCarve or a more robust version of Sketchup. Any thoughts on the best way forward?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Piedmont, SD


    About 9 years ago, a post here taught me how to go from Sketchup to V-carve/Aspire, version not being a factor with either product. Reality is, when Vectric attempted to get this rolling smoothly, the Sketchup layers don't jive with Vectric layers. Because they don't really work like layers in Sketchup. Which is probably why Sketchup recently stopped calling them Layers, hence their new term: "Tags"

    What does this mean?

    1> To be clear, Sketchup files will never be able to be opened in a Vectric program, any more than MS Word can open a Sketchup file
    2> You will need to lay your parts out flat in Sketchup, then export (with a Sketchup Plug-in) cutouts/holes/dados, etc., as dxf files which can then be imported into your Vectric product for creating part files
    3> You can try the Sketchup file importer that Vectric developed, as I did, but in communicating with Vectric directly about the bugs/issues/shortcomings, it was concluded it just wasn't going to quite work, again, due to the Layer/Tag incompatibility. As I recall, simple cutouts worked okay, but as soon as you start adding holes, rabbets, dados, the chaos ensues and the whole process turns into a frustrating mess, making steps outlined in point #2 much easier, so I've stuck with that methodology ever since.

    Eric will hopefully chime in here, as he's developed an app to simplify/streamline this cumbersome process. I have not tried it as of late, so can't speak to it's current capabilities. (Sorry Eric- perhaps I should take another stab at it!)

    You also may investigate Mozaik or Cab-writer/Cutlist Bridge products by Joe Zeh (swamp road woodworking). I've been using Cutlist Bridge to export components into Cutlist Plus, which estimates sheet good layouts/quantities, board foot quantities for your solid wood components, and numbers them all so part labels may be printed for organized production.
    By graduating into the Cab-Writer level of his products, you gain full flow-through from Sketchup to Vectric with all the benefits of Cutlist Plus.

    Bottom line- You certainly can use Sketchup and convert your model's components into part files using a Vectric product, but you're first in need of more processing time/techniques, or products. Just depends on how easy you want the conversion to go, balanced with your choice of investing in more products, or grinding it out manually.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Marietta GA


    Eric's Fabber plugin looks pretty slick.

    I haven't heard any updates on it recently, but I'd definitely have another look at it if I were looking for a parametric Sketchup-to-table production pipeline.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2014


    I'll echo what jTr said above. There are actually some good choices out there for going from SU to CNC

    You can open older versions of SketchUp files in VCarve but the import is a bit limited. Side note, I actually helped them design that back in the day. If you go to help>about in Vectric you can see my name in that list This import was really meant for 2D stuff that didn't have any arcs and circles in it, and even then you really had to have a perfect model for a good chance at it working well.

    As far as Mosiac/CabWriter those are decent if you just want to do cabinets. When you try to do "not cabinets" with them they either won't work, or you get into bending the laws of their physics.

    Fabber, the thing that I make works like this: It's really designed for you to be able to send anything from SketchUp right to GCode/SB Code. It identifies your parts, features in the parts, etc and will automatically tool path them. We even get all the proper arcs and circles from SketchUp NO CHUNKY EDGES! We've got cabinet makers using it, custom furniture makers, etc. Where it really excels is that you can do anything, not just some things. Depending on your workflow the ability to make anything can sometimes not be the fastest way... If you're a high production cabinet shop I bet Mosiak/Cabwriter could be faster. If you make a smaller volume of cabinets or anything else I think what we make works well.

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