How to convert an 3D AutoCAD model to a Sketchup model for Sefaira

There is a fairly easy approach to simplifying models from other 3D modeling software and getting them into Sketchup. Here is a step by step process for exporting an AutoCAD model and simplifying it in Sketchup in order to upload it to Concept.

  1. Export the AutoCAD model as a .DWG file
  2. Import the .DWG in Sketchup (a function available for free on Sketchup 7, but only in the Pro version of Sketchup 8)
  3. Create a cross-sectional plane parallel to the ground in Sketchup
    1. Screen Shot 2013-04-11 at 12.36.52 PM.png
  4. Lower the cross-section down to an elevation that isolates the building footprint while eliminating extraneous objects (structure, mullions, etc.)
    1. Screen_Shot_2013-04-11_at_12.48.53_PM.png
  5. Right click on the cross-section and 'Create Group from Slice'
    1. Screen_Shot_2013-04-11_at_12.46.50_PM.png
  6. Move the slice away from the original model and copy it
  7. Create a new Sketchup model and paste the copied slice into it
  8. Delete any extraneous lines from the building footprint and complete the polygon surface
  9. Extrude the footprint up to the building height, and then modify the roof and windows as needed
    1. Screen_Shot_2013-04-11_at_12.58.52_PM.png
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    Kevin McIntyre

    I have done this a slightly different way- which seems to work. I imported the model as normal, used the 'view camera bottom' to see the floor plate/s, then selected the floor plates I wanted and copy and pasted them into a new file. Then used push/pull tool to give me the correct height of the building. Worked fine for a flat roof building.

  • Avatar
    Josh Kates

    Hi Kevin, thanks for your comment.

    One similar method your might try (especially for flat roofed buildings) is copy the roofs instead of the floor plates. Then open a new file and click Edit-->Paste In Place (see attached). The advantage of this method is that you can simply extrude your roofs to the ground plane and know you have the correct height. I.e. extrude from the roof to the floor as opposed to extruding from the floor to the roof.

    It's a subtle difference, but will hopefully save you some time!

    Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions.


  • Avatar
    Kevin McIntyre

    Just redone the model, and actually used the floor plates and flat roofs, so I could approximate some of the differing heights of the roof sections. I guess the key learning from the 1st and 2nd version was that I cleaned up the floor plates and roof sections so it was literally just the outline. This brought the faces down considerably, and made extruding the floor up, and roof down so much easier :)

    Thanks for the tip.

    Cheers, Kevin