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Sketchup printing full size --- Update

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xy mosian

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OO! I feel nervous about this.

I have recently been cutting less then hand-sized irregular pieces with my scroll saw. As many of you will know one of the difficulties is drawing the required shape on the material. All of the pieces have been basically two dimensional with some thickness.
Drawing shapes in Sketchup is perhaps the easiest way of making them, print, stick on the material, and cut around the lines. The free version of Sketchup seems reluctant to print to exact size.
Fed up of resizing with image manipulation tools I have ....... wait for it. Written a program to take a 2D Sketchup drawing and create an exact size drawing ready for printing, he said very quickly as he cannot quite believe it.
This plugin will select a paper size up to A0, if needed, and place the drawing in the middle, rotation to fit is automatic and the user is advised on the paper size used. A free program called GhostView is used to view the file and print it if required.
Now my printer will not split large paper sizes to print on multiple A4 sheets so I cannot test that. Otherwise it seems to work well.
I would like some computer savvy guy to help with testing, just in case anything goes wrong with a PC, Windows only I'm afraid. Before I release this generally.
Any Takers?

xy
 

Alan Smith

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Xy,

I'm less than computer savey so won't volunteer for testing your plugin, what I have found in the past however is that you can take a screen print of your Sketch up drawing and copy/paste into Paint. If the drawing is larger than A4 Paint seems to be able to divide the drawing up over as many sheets of A4as required. This does not appear to printer dependant. What I don't know is how well it keeps to scale.

Alan
 

xy mosian

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Alan, thanks for the thoughts. It is the lack of full scale printing which bugs me. Then these things tend to. But I will certainly look into the use of Paint as a splitter.
You have a PM.

xy
 

kinsella

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Xy
i assume your trying to print 2D drawings which is why you want printing to scale. The problem is sketchup is a 3D tool, whilst it does do 2D, you need to export to Layout (the sketchup print interface) i'm not sure if this comes with the free version or not. I use Sketchup for all my project but never for accurate printing. I use full blown AutoCAD and either just redraw in AutoCAD or export the 3D to AutoCAD or visa versa.

i've just had a look through Sketchup to see if i could see how its done and i now understand your problem and without realising why i do what i do. There is a print 1:1 option in Sketchup layout which is how they have dealt with it. So when you print from the main Sketchup drawing programme, you don't get any sophisticated printing options.

So you either need to purchase the full version to get the 1:1 options, or export to another piece of software. Another option is to export to PDF and use a PDF application to print full scale as PDF's deal with Vector drawings also. Its around the houses a bit.
Sorry i can't be more helpful.
Alternatively PM me with Email and i'll convert your sketcup to PDF to scale. You'll just have to calibrate your printer after that.
 

xy mosian

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kinsella,
Thanks for the post. As you suspect Layout is not included with the free version of Sketchup. The export options you describe are not there either.

I only use this sort of thing infrequently so there is no justification in buying the 'Pro' version.

I have used various 2D cad programs, settling on A9Cad these days. However for a quick 2D drawing Sketchup is hard to beat for ease of use. At the moment the only way I know of printing a drawing to scale is to export the drawing from Sketchup as a 2D Graphic and then re-sizing as required in some Image Editing Program.

To get around this I am writing a plugin which takes information from the Sketchup drawing, front view only, and translates it to a postscript file. Not having a postscript printer I use GhostView, a free program, to view and then print the drawing with a 'Windows' printer. The drawing is reproduced at full-size. Obviously some drawings are larger than A4, my program detects that and will work with any size up to A0, rotating the drawing to fit landscape formats if required.

As you will see from my original post this will enable me to design a 2D part using Sketchup, print full size, stick it to material and cut around the lines. Most of my useage will be less than A4 size, but for the back leg of a chair or some other template this maybe useful. With any luck re-drawing will not be necessary.

At the suggestion of an American gentleman I am at the moment modifying my plugin to work using either A-series paper sizes, or the American Letter size.

Cheers
xy
 

deserter

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I've been following this thread and it sounds to me like your onto something here, using your plugin and the printer scaling it should also be possible to creat accurate scale drawings.
Out of interest you say it works front view only, is this that it takes the front view data or that it works with the active 2d elevation which is selected?
 

xy mosian

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deserter, thanks for following.
My whole reason for making this plugin is that printer scaling is not required. Providing the printer does as told of course.The postscript file produces exact sizes. Now as for required scaling, that could be a future feature. Sadly the Sketchup interface does not allow access to dimensions so scaled drawings may be of limited use.
Front view only? This is not intended to work with 3D models, only 2D work drawn on the 'Stanadard' 'Front' view. It did briefly cross my mind that another possible future feature would be the accurate plotting of a selected area of the 2D whole.

xy
 

deserter

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Keep going with it sounds ideal, it would prove invaluable to a lot of people for a whole range of uses, I can see it being perfect for creating accurate moulding setups for general work and profiles for turners.
 

xy mosian

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Thanks for the encouragement deserter. My problem at the moment is that I keep thinking of better ways of achieving things I have already done with this plugin.

xy
 

Eric The Viking

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Sound like you've hit on something really useful, XY.

I use Sketchup, mainly for testing out ideas, or making oblique angle views to show people what I'm on about (e.g. tomorrow we is mainly faffing about with large beams in the attic!). If I want something accurately to scale I draw it in Corel Draw, which in conjunction with my A3 laser gives pretty accurate sizes and shapes (as in dead-on, unless something really weird happens). It would be much nicer to use a section from Sketchup, so I only have to draw it in one place.

I can test as far as A3 if that's any use to you. The laser speaks PCL5 and Postscript, but I've only got the free version of SU, for the same reason as you!

Cheers, E.
 

xy mosian

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Eric,

That is a terrific offer. Which I would like to take you up on, may I delay it a bit please?

One of the design criterior was that the drawing would be split into page sizes by the 'Windows', nominally A4 printer. I am not too sure just what would be the effect of actually printing at the full paper size. Perhaps this is a design fault on my part, or maybe more gently a limitation of the software.

At the moment I am trying to organise registration marks. The cause is not helped by trying to cover not only A series paper sizes but also multiples of 'murican' Letter size at 8-1/2" x 11"

Thanks for the support.

xy
 

Eric The Viking

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xy mosian":3pk4bxae said:
Eric,

That is a terrific offer. Which I would like to take you up on, may I delay it a bit please?

One of the design criterior was that the drawing would be split into page sizes by the 'Windows', nominally A4 printer. I am not too sure just what would be the effect of actually printing at the full paper size. Perhaps this is a design fault on my part, or maybe more gently a limitation of the software.

At the moment I am trying to organise registration marks. The cause is not helped by trying to cover not only A series paper sizes but also multiples of 'murican' Letter size at 8-1/2" x 11"

Thanks for the support.

xy
No probs. Whenever you're ready.

Couldn't do it tonight anyway - I'm supposed to be "beaming"!
 

xy mosian

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Hi all, Three weeks later and I have an update.

After receiving a great deal of help and encouragement from Dave Richards, Sketchup Guru and all around good egg, amply aided and abetted by our own tame Viking Eric, I feel this plugin is ready for you all.

To re-iterate.

'gk_Postscript_Plot' is a plugin for Sketchup 8, free version. It will take a 2D drawing from the 'Front' face of Sketchup and produce a full-scale drawing in postscript format. The postscript files are produced according to your paper size and tiled where necessary. Each file contains the filename along with a positioning reference in the case of a tiled drawing. These files are placed in a folder generated for the purpose alongside the original Sketchup model.

Postscript files can be viewed by using Ghostview, that in turn needs an installation of Ghostscript. Both are small and free, links to them are given in the Instruction text. Once open in Ghostview the files may be printed to a 'Windows' printer, at full-scale.

It has been a bit of a chore producing full-scale prints from Sketchup free. This plugin allows drawings to be produced using a very friendly program and printed at full size. Easy transfer of the drawings can be made to material for templates etc.

Windows only I'm afraid and although I have had no problems on either Windows XP or Windows 7 I cannot say that you will not. I believe that you won't.

The plugin can be downloaded from:- https://www.box.com/s/20d0a6708c91f1619aef

Comments please and questions about use if I've got it wrong.

xy

ps Sorry forgot to mention No Charge - Free
 

xy mosian

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Another update of this plugin. A couple of potential users prefer to work with Macintosh computers. This has led to some head scratching but I can now say that early testing suggests that the latest version works with Macs.

Version 6 is available by following the link in my signature.
 

Bigdanny

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Hi XY,
I havent had chance to check out your plugin yet, but I seem to remember Mr Wandel on woodgears had a small program you could put any image into and you tell it the demensions and it would scale the drawing accordingly with a grid also on it. Would that be the sort of thing you are trying to do.
Regards
Danny
 

xy mosian

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Hi Danny,

I haven't come across Mr Wandel's program, I must look into it.
For myself. I wanted to be able to easily draw an item to be made in plywood, to be cut out on a scroll saw. The quickest way to draw such a shape is by using Sketchup, I am not talking about a 'simple' shape. I intended printing out the shape and sticking it to the ply, then cutting around the lines.

Now one of the problems with the free version of Sketchup is the lack of real control over printing. I know about taking screen shots etc. and resizing in image manipulation software, but there had to be a more direct route.

What I came up with is a plugin which reads the edges (lines) drawn on the 'Front' face Sketchup. These are converted to postscript instructions and the postscript file saved. Postscript files can be viewed, on the PC, using a free program called GhostView, from here the drawing can be printed, at full scale. Job done, for me.

However I quickly realised that this would be useful for printing out templates and I developed the plugin to 'tile', that is break up, a large drawing into paper sizes that are normally available. The individual files have registration marks at the paper overlaps to enable quick, and accurate alignment of the individual pages.

Accuraccy of the final print is down to the accuraccy of the printer in use, mine is 1mm out in 1000mm. This is probably not worth worrying about but may be addressed in a future version.

Dave Richards on the Design, Click, Build blog describes the use more eloquently than I, and includes screen shots of the process involved. Here is a link http://www.finewoodworking.com/item/471 ... -templates

Thanks for your interest,

xy
 
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