by Lauren Fridman
SketchUp is a 3D modeling software that tailors more to those who have tinkered with these types of CAD tools before. SketchUp is an intermediate-level software that will require some time to acclimate to. While TinkerCAD (which has been previously featured) utilizes a drag-and-drop model with a preset database of geometric shapes to create your model, SketchUp allows users to use shapes, lines or numerical data to bring a vision to life. Users can stretch, copy, rotate and maneuver their objects to meet their design requirements. The software is available online and will download as an application from the SketchUp website (https://www.sketchup.com).
However, the interface is quite a bit more complex than the likes of TinkerCAD. Users may first select the template options that are best suited for their design (millimeters, centimeters, meters, inches, feet, etc.) and then can begin to tinker with the multitude of design tool options. This software was designed with interest in the field of architecture and structural design, so there are many features that cater to that purpose and audience. These include straight-line features, rulers and the human form for size comparison.
Additionally, part of this online product includes a database of pre-existing designs that can be remixed and reimagined by the users. This “3D Warehouse” has all kinds of models and can be suited to the needs of any classroom or curricular connections. Any user can access these models and can add their own designs to the 3D warehouse as well for others to use! For access to this database, please follow the link: https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/?hl=en
There are 2 options for the program:
- SketchUp Make (Free)
- Allows you to tinker and create 3D models for design
- SketchUp Pro ($695USD)
- This is the full product with all features including importing/exporting abilities, animation functions, hand-drawn rendering and more.
- However, there are additional options as far as educator and student fees. Those can be inquired specifically through the website.
For more information on purchasing this product, refer to their website.