Monday, December 12, 2011

Is SketchUp BIM coming of age?

In June 2010 I published an article on this blog entitled SketchUp: A Natural BIM platform This was an expression of desire to see BIM produced using a low cost/ free resource. The high costs of many software systems makes them a perfect target for low-cost clones/ replacements.

Earlier this year I gave a presentation to a Group of Learned Gentlemen (and Learned GentleWomen) entitled "SketchUp to BIM". The Group seemed not to grasp entirely the point of the presentation,  some instead preferring to question whether I should be giving it in the first place*.... Not a great place to start, but as Le Corb would say: "What are you doing????!!... You are an XXXX!!!" (Words blanked out for the sake of propriety.)

However, even since the presentation I have discovered other equally aberrant souls who would also like to see SketchUp perform some BIM functions.

To find out what I have learned, please check out my website SketchUp2BIM for links and resources. If you have any suggestions for further inclusion, I will be delighted to have them.

Here is a user video for a new plugin I have been testing from D-E-X called SketchUpBIM:


*Perhaps an alternative talk should have been scheduled for the people who didn't get the presentation. Please send your suggestions for topics to

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

3D Navigator- Doing the Business

In my extensive experience with the Nav I find that this little device is great for getting around large models.*

The Navigator is easy to install and relatively intuitive to use. The control panel does require a bit of fine-tuning out of the box but that is to be expected- even welcome- with a powerful piece of equipment such as the Nav. (e.g. I have to reverse most of the zoom/ orbit actions to imitate the orientation of the mouse.) The speed of orbit/ zoom is astonishingly fast and one of the great features is that the Nav doesn't require you to "knock on the door" to get through a wall like the mouse scroll-wheel does**. It just whizzes on through like a ghost on speed.

Overall, as far as I'm concerned the Navigator is a definite buy for professionals, especially for those working on large models***

* More so than small models/ details as the speed of zoom is not always suitable for the particular task- sometimes the mouse scroll-wheel is required to provide fine zooming and orbiting.
** I understand that this is so for a good reason and am not saying it is "bad"!
*** No enticements were offered to say this- Not my style.  Just note that when a SketchUp upgrade comes out it usually takes a while before a driver is produced for the Nav : ( but its just about worth waiting for.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Using SketchUp and Makerbot to Model my Home Town.

I recently experienced how Professor Frankenstein must have felt* when he brought his creation to life. I basked in glory (just for a minute) when I realised that, having mastered SketchUp I now had control over a Makerbot and I could make them talk to each other!

Doctor Evil, eat your heart out! (Check out his evil laugh right now on YooChoob. Its great.)

However, when you think about the fact that we have been replicating documents at lightning speeds for decades, it makes you wonder why this has taken us so long! Anyway it's here now and its awesome. Thanks to my buddy Cathal for use of his wonderful machine.

Below are some photos of my first purpose-built model of Shandon, Cork City.

"Watch zis space" as Le Corb would put it...

*I know he's fictional. What do you think I am? Some kind of raving lunatic....? Just go with it willya?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Exporting STL Files from SketchUp

We are getting excited about 3D Printing. Recently we joined up with Cork Hackerspace who are a bunch of technology enthusiasts in Cork. I hadn't seen any examples of printed objects but one member has a 3D printer.

Below is a great new development published on the Ponoko blog that will make 3D Printing easier.

I also have a plugin called Sculpteo. Its a 3D printing service that plugs right in to SketchUp.

I haven't used their service yet but hope to give it a go soon.. 3D printing is so beautifully geeky its bound to become the norm.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Making humans (virtually)


Making humans is now easier than getting agreement from a consenting adult.... Except these humans are virtual. This is an intriguing blog post by Johnj about an open-source body-generating system called "Makehuman". If you happen to have Blender installed (to export to .3ds) you can import your humans to SU.

Making "paintings" of humans is about to get really interesting. Carravagio eat your heart out!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Excellent online magazine for SketchUp Enthusiasts!

Just in case you hadn't downloaded any issues yet of SketchUp Ur Space, you can download the latest issues here

This is a great magazine full of features. The May issue introduces all the Authorised Training Centres around the world.

May 2011 Magazine

SketchUp4Architect (who create the magazine) do some great models on their website also...

Its great to see this initiative from the SketchUp4Architect team in West Bengal, India. It reminds me how small the world has become! We hope to contribute soon with some articles..

Friday, June 10, 2011

County Mayo shows Ireland how it's done

County Mayo is becoming a bit of a digital hub. Besides being where my mother hails from, it is the current Taoiseach's county, Mayo's endeavours to progress in the use of technology have been quite impressive. Recently St. Colman's School introduced an option to use iPads instead of books, and now Westport has featured in the official Google SketchUp Blog for it's Town of Tomorrow initiative.

Model created by the students in Google SketchUp representing students' ideas for the development of Westport town.
I hope Ireland takes up on Mayo's initiatives. We need more of this!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ireland welcomes President and First Lady Obama

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle have just finished their visit to Áras an Úachtaráin (President of Ireland's residence) where a tree planting ceremony took place to Mark the occasion. Large crowds are expected to turn out to greet the First Couple.

We would like to welcome the President and urge him to reinvigorate his stance against human rights abuses by many countries in the world today, including the US.

Céad Míle Fáilte.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Cork City Ireland Welcomes The Queen of England

Today, SketchUpIreland's home City of Cork is welcoming Queen Elizabeth.

Today she will be visiting the English Market and the Tyndall Institute before flying back to England.

We would like to congratulate Queen Elisabeth and her husband Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh for rising to the occasion of what has been a complicated few days of difficult speeches and acts of reconciliation between our two great nations. The Queen has been a shining example of respect and dignity during her visit to Ireland.

Go n-eirí an bothar leat, Ma'am, agus go raibh míle maith agaibh!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Kevin McCloud gives Google SketchUp the thumbs up

This article in gives a great review of modern technological features, mentioning SketchUp as a great 3D design tool for the masses.

We also had a look at the Grand Designs software which allows anyone to quickly place walls, presses, cookers and sinks etc. together and view them in 3D context. Very interesting- and only around a tenner sterling!

Fair play to Mr. McCloud.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Keyframe Animation for SketchUp: Awesome plugin

Have you ever tried using animation software? I have. It inevitably leads to hospitalisation after a severe nervous breakdown. However, Jim's SketchUp (Plugins) Blog can save you thousands in counselling and even medication. (only kidding!) His animation plugin is so easy to install and use.

If you like Jim's stuff, don't forget to give him a few bucks! Paypal button is on his blog.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Doodle 4 Google Winner

This year's Doodle 4 Google winner was Layla Karpuz from from Mary, Mother of Hope Junior National School, Co. Dublin.

Artist's Commentary: My picture is about things that make me feel happy. In my picture you can see love hearts, curls, shamrocks, people with fancy hats, people going on a bear hunt, grass men (men disguised as grass), plants, shamrock plants for Ireland, Grannies and a caterpillar because I like searching for caterpillars, I used different colurs in my picture because it looks nice. I like my picture!

Here are some other colourful entries that we liked:

Well done to all entrants. Some very colourful and imaginative work there. 
Ireland needs your imagination..!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Le Corb: Formation SketchUp in France

Le Corbusier (Also known affectionately as "Le Corb") commented on the level of takeup of SketchUp in France*.... Again, we apologise for any offence caused by Mr Corb's outbursts. These are his views and not our own... Please note: English translation below.

Le Corb- "Making [his] voice heard above the useless noise"

"Il est clair que les Architectes Français ne sont pas à l'aide SketchUp autant qu'ils ledevraient. Sont-ils stupides? Non, bien sûr que non ... Ils sont tout simplement de vivre dans un univers parallèle  tout est rose et que le monde existe en deux dimensions. Bientôt la réalité 3D les frapper comme une brique 7 Dimensions dans la tête.

Lorsque cela se produit, et enfin la réalisation dont ils ont besoin SketchUp, Adebeo sera là pour ramasser les morceaux."


It's clear that French Architects are not using SketchUp as much as they should. Are they stupid? No, of course not... They are just living in a parallel universe where everything is rosy and the world exists in two dimensions. Soon the 3D reality will hit them like a 7 Dimensional brick into the head.

When this happens, and finally the realisation that they need SketchUp, Adebeo will be there to pick up the pieces.

Adebeo, headed by Denis Bolomier is a Google Authorised Training Centre based in Lyons, France. Mr. Corbusier has given his "advice" freely to the public purely out of an obsessive compulsion to "'elp".

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Looking forward to the Computers in Education Society of Ireland Conference

We're giving a short workshop on SketchUp and Google Earth Geomodelling this Saturday 5th September, and really looking forward to it.. Thanks to John Hegarty for the invitation.

In the same vein, (teaching 3D skills in school) here is a really fascinating video about the use of 3D environments for teaching gifted children. This environment called "Mission V" is based on that of Second Life but adapted by James Corbett of

We're looking forward to meeting James at the CESI conference.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

2010: SketchUp Activity in Ireland

Its nearly the end of January 2011. We wanted to tell everyone what we did in 2010.

Well.. we:

Just to recap on our most "memorable" achievement, here's Le Corb in full flight talking about CAD, played at Basecamp 2010 in September:

Thats more than we thought we did! Good to write it down... The initiative to do this was inspired by Seth Godin Thanks Seth!