After all the discussion about SketchUp at the last Wellington Makers Meetup, I thought I’d share my thoughts on a book that’s particularly relevant to lots of us makers. Its titled “Google SketchUp for 3D Printing”, so we’re the target market. And… it’s not bad. It’s not great but it does the job.
I may be being too harsh here. Back when I was a coder for a living, I worked on the internals of CAD software (Parasolid, the geometry engine that’s inside all good high end CAD/CAM/CAE tools) and I got used to having copies Solid Works, Solid Edge, and NX on my desktop to play with. So I’m starting from the high end of parametric tools and working down. If you’ve never used a CAD tool before, then this will get you going and get you printing. Hell, chapter 2 is “First 3D Printout”, so there’s instant gratification.
The book covers the whole toolchain, from starting a drawing to ordering from Shapeways. There’s wide coverage of the tools & plug-ins that help SketchUp and Shapeways, such as Google’s 3D Warehouse, Google Earth, Thingiverse, and the SketchyPhysics physics plug-in. Our favourites, Ponoko, get a mention with a tutorial to create a test-tube holder.
Like plenty of technical books, it could do with the attention of a decent editor. Some explanations are over-detailed, some have gaps to keep you on your toes. But hell, it only costs US$40, or less than US$30 for the ebook. This book won’t turn you into a SketchUp guru, but it’ll get you making.