While Google SketchUp is not a professional CAD tool it has the advantage of being free and, because of that, it is used by a large number of people. Recently, some of my customers were asked by their own customers to supply SOLIDWORKS models for review in SketchUp format. There is one problem with this request – none of the file formats that SOLIDWORKS can export are on the SketchUp import list. There are commercial converters from SOLIDWORKS to Google SketchUp but they come at a cost.
Fortunately, we found a way to exchange data between SOLIDWORKS and Google SketchUp — just follow this 5 step process to export from SOLIDWORKS and import into Google SketchUp:
SOLIDWORKS to Google SketchUp Process
Our 5 step process to import an example switch box model into Google SketchUp:
- In SOLIDWORKS save your model as an ACIS file (.sat extension).
- Pick the Options button and make sure the options are set to the same as the image below, output as should be Solid/Surface geometry and ensure Version 10 is chosen. Then pick OK and select Save to create the file ACIS / SAT file.
- In DraftSight (a FREE 2D Editor: Download DraftSight) or AutoCAD import the ACIS/SAT file by entering: “IMPORTSAT” in the command line and pressing <ENTER>. Locate and pick the ACIS file you just saved (you can filter your list by ACIS) and Open the file into DraftSight.
Note the file will be imported into DraftSight. It may look like a 2D file at the default viewpoint. Change the view by select View > Views > SWIsometric and you’ll be able to see it’s a 3D file:
- Save this file again in the standard DWG format by selecting the DraftSight button and picking Save As, or File > Save As in AutoCAD.
- Open Google SketchUp, then select File > Import and then locate and select the DWG file you saved at STEP #4. Pick the Import button to import the file.
That’s all. You have successfully imported your SOLIDWORKS model into SketchUp.