The SketchUp Training Knowledge Base

What? SketchUp Does 2D CAD Better Than 2D CAD?

Many professionals think about moving on from 2D CAD into SketchUp Pro but are afraid of abandoning their current Modus Operandi.

But what if there was a way of using SketchUp that didn’t require abandoning 2D CAD? One that would provide an easier transition? Fortunately there is such a thing: LayOut, (which is SketchUp Pro’s graphics interface) comes with a “Scaled Drawing” dialog. When activated, this dialog enables drawing in vector linework, (as in: It does 2D CAD).

Introducing the “Scaled Drawing” dialog

Click on the Scaled Drawing tab in LayOut to activate in-built 2D CAD.

A message in blue prompts you to choose a scale from the drop-down menu

Once you have selected your scale, use the Line Tool to start drawing with “real size” dimensions.

A blue dashed box indicates that you are drawing to scale within its area.

The method of drawing is identical to SketchUp. Click, point the cursor in a direction, type a dimension and hit Enter.

Note that the dimension is indicated on the bottom right of the screen.

The drawing is like a “Group” in SketchUp: To edit the Group it must be “open”. Double-clicking on the entity enables this.

Here we have created a triangle and are using the Offset Tool to create an inner shape. To specify the distance, just type a number and hit Enter.

The Offset Tool

You can select lines to adjust their thickness, linetype, etc. using the Shape Style Dialog.

Note: Switch off the “Fill” setting to prevent hiding any background lines.

1. With the Split Tool we can “break” the shape.

2. Here we use the Two Point Arc Tool to draw an arc between the two ends.

3. Then we use the Join Tool to heal the shape and create “Polygons” as they are known in 2D CAD.

All we have to do to complete our 2D CAD exercise is to click on:

“File > Export”

Select the “.DWG or .DXF” option.

There are plenty more great resources for setting up and creating drawings in “Construction Drawings Using SketchUp Pro 2020” by Paul Lee available on his website and Amazon where the print and Kindle versions are available.

Construction Documents Using SketchUp Pro 2020: A short project-based training course for professionals.