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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Trimble SketchUp’s Mobile Viewer and Partnership between Trimble and Materialise

August 19th, 2015 by Susan Smith

Trimble SketchUp Mobile Viewer v2

Trimble SketchUp made a couple of announcements this summer: one being the SketchUp Mobile Viewer launch for both iOS and Android, an online presentation app, and the other the partnership between Trimble and Materialise to streamline 3D printing workflows by adding support for the STL file format in Trimble’s 3D Warehouse.

The biggest enhancements in the Mobile Viewer release are that now it works on tablets and phones. V1 was for tablets only. V1 was also integrated with 3D Warehouse and in order to view on a device, it had to be uploaded.

In V2, there is native integration with Trimble Connect, 3D Warehouse or DropBox. This improved integration allows users to view, browse, sort and filter search results for both models and collections. When the application installs, it registers itself with the OS so any file and SketchUp file can be opened in Mobile Viewer.

There is also added language support, added model viewing features such as multi-touch gestures for orbit and zoom, and the option to view models using a new “Look Around” navigation tool.

The ability to toggle back and forth between perspective and orthographic camera modes and adjust the camera view will most likely be a people pleaser.

Trimble also announced new support for the STL format for 3D Warehouse, for additive manufacturing. In partnership with Materialise, the companies have developed integration between 3D Warehouse and Materialise’s Cloud Services.

Mike Tadros, SketchUp web & mobile product manager at Trimble, answered some questions about the new partnership support for additive manufacturing with Materialise:

AECCafe Voice: Can you give me some more information about what the workflow looks like for those wanting to get SketchUp files into STL and ultimately 3D printable format? 

Mike Tadros: As with other SketchUp features, we made converting SketchUp files to STL easy. Users can convert SketchUp files to STL in a number of different ways:

  1. 3D Warehouse users can upload a SketchUp model to 3D Warehouse and have a printable STL generated for them, via an integration between 3D Warehouse and Materialise 3DPrintCloud. This was the focus of our news at this year’s AIA convention. More information about that is available here.
  2. SketchUp users who have the SketchUp STL extension installed, will have the option to export STL files directly from SketchUp.
  3. There are a handful of other 3D modeling applications and web services that allow users to import SketchUp files and export STL.

AECCafe Voice: What was the previous process for those who wanted to analyze and fix, and flag 3D models as printable?

Mike Tadros: As mentioned above, users could create a 3D model in SketchUp (or another 3D modeling application), export the file to STL, and then take the STL into an app such as Slic3r to analyze the file. With some apps, however, the analysis part of the process simply highlighted the trouble spots/issues. Users would then have to go back through the process and fix the model in their modeling software, re-export to STL and then reopen the STL in the analysis app to run the analysis again.

AECCafe Voice: What is the time savings involved?

Mike Tadros:

  1. 3D Warehouse is a web service, so there is a time savings because there’s nothing to install or maintain.
  2. The 3D Warehouse integration with Materialise 3DPrintCloud leverages a cloud computing service that helps to analyze and automatically fix common issues associated with converting 3D models to STL for the purposes of 3D printing. The goal is to give users the ability to create a model in SketchUp and then give them a 1-step option to convert / analyze / fix the STL.

For the 3D Warehouse, sign in go to upload model, see checkbox, (will see checkbox for existing model marked as 3D printable).

The collaboration simplifies and streamlines 3D printing workflows by providing the SketchUp community with direct access to powerful technology that facilitates the process of turning their 3D models into physical objects.

Announced first prior to the Maker Faire Bay Area 2015, there are 2.8 million downloads of this so far (there may be more as of this writing). The Materialise cloud service can print, and common problems can be fixed and handed back to 3D Warehouse in an STL file.

This offering is only available for public models. An average of 700,000 visitors frequent 3D Warehouse per week. The site gets 42 million downloads per week.

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Categories: 2D, 3D, 3D PDF, 3D printing, AEC, AECCafe, AIA Convention 2015, apps, architecture, AutoCAD, BIM, building information modeling, buildingSMART, Cloud, collaboration, construction, consumerization, infrastructure, integrated project delivery, PDF3D, reality capture, rendering, sustainable design, Trimble

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