SketchUp to AutoCAD

It is possible to export dwgs from SketchUp. This is useful if you are given a 3d model and want to produce drawings in programs such as AutoCad. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do so.

Below is a model of a staircase which was to be turned into a physical model. There were no drawings of the staircase, only the digital model. The physical model was to be 1:10 scale with the focus on the curvature underneath. I decided early on that it would be best to create the staircase by slotting perspex together in comb-like effect and to then skim the curve with filler for a smooth finish.

3d Model

3d staircase model


To take accurate sections of the model, first create evenly spaced markers to snap the section plane to.

Section Plane Set Out

Create markers

Once the line markers are in place, create a ‘section plane’.

Section  Plane

Create a section plane

It is then possible to snap the section plane to the markers created. Don’t forget: to get the section plane to snap to a certain axis, hover over a surface and hold down shift. You can then move the plane around, still fixed to that axis.

Section Plane 2 Copy

Snap section plane to markers

Creating a section will then split the model along the axis of the plane.

Section Plane 3 Copy

Create the section plane

Once the section plane is in place, you will then need to change the viewport to show the model face on. Don’t forget to select ‘parallel projection’ in the ‘Camera’ drop down.


Change the viewport

It is then time to export the viewport. To do this select File > Export > 2d Graphic. You will then have the option to save as a dwg.

3d Model

Export the viewport

You will then need to delete the ‘section plane’ and follow the steps again for each marker created. Once you have exported all the sections as dwgs it is then time to load up AutoCad.


Here are all the sections taken from SketchUp. Some sections will need cleaning up; multiple lines can be cleaned with the ‘overkill’ function.

Autocad Import 2

Sections in AutoCad

The physical model

Once all the drawings had been edited I Laser cut the elements in perspex and slotted them all together

Physical  Model Process 2

Physical  Model Process 3

The underneath of the staircase was later filled and sanded smooth.

Physical  Model Process 6

Physical  Model Process 5

The final model was all sprayed white and finished with handrail detail.

Final Model

Final staircase model

Posted on February 03, 2016, in Techniques & Processes

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