How to Convert SketchUp to G-Code

By Ryan Crooks

Google SketchUp is a free computer-aided design (CAD) application that designs objects and visualizations in three dimensions. The software is easy to use and links to Google's 3D Warehouse, where people can share their designs and modeling techniques. G-Code is a control language used to instruct 3-D printers and computer numeric control (CNC) mills how to build or remove a volume. Google SketchUp does not convert to G-Code by default; however, you can download plug-ins to convert the G-Code.

Step 1

Download the G-Code plug-ins for Google SketchUp. There are three available: Phlatscript, Zomadicam and Sketchup to G-code.

Step 2

Copy the downloaded plug-ins to the Google SketchUp "Plugins" folder on your computer. You assigned the location of the "Plugins" folder on your computer when you installed SketchUp. Using default settings, SketchUp will install in "C:\Program Files\Google\Google Sketchup." Open Google SketchUp.

Step 3

Select "Open" in the "File" menu to open your file to convert. Select your file, click the "Open" button and pan with your mouse to the model object to convert to G-Code.

Step 4

Convert your file with the Phlatscript plug-in. Select the "Safe Area" tool in the "Phlatscripts" menu to draw the G-Code draw area, instead of generating code for the entire area. Move your elements to convert inside the safe area. Use the Phlatscript tools, such as the "Outside Cut," "Inside Cut" and "Fold" tools, to layout the G-Code operations. Select the "Generate G-Code" button to convert your SketchUp elements to G-Code.

Step 5

Convert your file with the Zomadicam plug-in. Select "Get Models" from the "3D Warehouse" item on the "File" menu. Download "Virtual Shopbot" from the "Collection Zomadicam" folder on Google 3D Warehouse. Explode the model once with the "Explode" tool. Select the table on the Zomadicam "Virtual Shopbot" in SketchUp and click "Set Z-Zero" in the "ZomadiCAM" item within "Zomadic Tools" on the "Plugins" menu. Select your model to convert to G-Code and click "Transform Model Directly to Partfile" in "ZomadiCAM" within "Zomadic Tools" on the "Plugins" menu; your G-Code will appear in a folder under "C:\SbParts\."

Step 6

Convert your file with the "Sketchup to G-code" plug-in. Move your models to the "X-Y" plane in SketchUp. Explode any groups or components. Select the objects with the mouse, right-click over the objects and click "All Connected" item in the "Select" option. Click "Sketchup to G-code" in the "Plugins" menu and select "Single." Press "OK" and the plug-in will create the G-Code in SketchUp.