Alternative to Sketchup (For Linux)

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Absinthe

New User
Abs
I am getting back to woodworking after a few years away. Seems that many things are different, and lots of people like to either design or share designs in Sketchup. Let me start by saying that I am not interested in starting a war, and if what I am about to say makes you feel like arguing about operating systems or large software companies motivations or something of that nature, contact me off-line and we can have an open exchange of ideas. That said, for reasons that are not necessarily germane to this conversation I have done a lot to remove all Microsoft software from my systems. Since I do not run Windows on any of my systems, I don't believe that Sketchup in any of its variants will work as a good tool for me. I also know there are a plethora of 3D cad and other such graphical drawing and drafting programs available for Linux. What I would like to know is which ones someone might recommend to take the place of what people are using Sketchup to do. I assume it would be a plus, if the replacement would also consume the files shared as Sketchup though I doubt I will get that lucky. I have had some Cad experience in the past, as well as 3d modeling, and such in several different programs. I am willing to put forth some effort to learn and even read the documentation ( :) )for a program to use, if it will help my wood working. Thanks,-- Abs
 

Mark Gottesman

New User
Mark
I had Sketchup 8 running on Linux Mint 12 under WINE. It seemed to run OK, but I never got that to far into it. I've since upgraded to the next LTS Linux Mint 17.1 MATE Desktop. I have not tried to get the latest Sketchup version running, but there are some tutorials out there.

I am going to try and stay with Sketchup due to the libraries of items already available and the incredible support available on the board here. couple of resident Sketchup WhizBangs.

So, couple of Questions.
What Flavor of Linux are you running?
Do you want to avoid Sketchup entirely or would use it if you can figure out how?
 

RandyJ

Randy
Corporate Member
Currently running Ubuntu 14.04 but haven't tried Sketchup yet. I will try to experiment with it in the next few days if time permits.
Keep us posted on your progress.
 

Absinthe

New User
Abs
I am using Debian GNU/Linx both stable and test. (Wheezy and Jesse)

I could probably figure out how to run SketchUp under wine. But, that is not my first choice.

I have installed both Blender as well as libreCad. I have not really looked into what the learning curve on libreCad will be, but I know Blender will be a #####, as I have dabbled with it in the past.

Surely, someone is using something other than SketchUp?

-- Abs
 

SteveHall

Steve
Corporate Member
I don't know of a SketchUp alternative on any platform. There are lots of modelers out there but none are really set up to quickly construct in Imperial dimensions and lay in materials as simply as SketchUp does it. Blender3D works in units, so you have to translate for the ones you want to work in. (A huge problem for us foot-inch-fraction users!) And it obviously lacks the interface and orthogonal control fluency needed for furniture/architecture and without all the unrelated animation overhead. There are loads of others, but I've never found anything mature enough useful for woodworking. My Wine setup in Fedora broke years ago when they re-hashed the graphics drivers and I decided to stick to Windows. Now I also use a Maxwell plugin for rendering, so Linux/Wine/SketchUp is simply not an option for me.

As for Linux and CAD, I don't know of any pro solutions cheaper than AutoCAD LT on Windows:

  • ARCAD is mature, but it looks like the full version is €2,185 + VAT.
  • BricsCAD is mature, but it's $1,000 to get to 3D.
  • FreeCAD boasts some nice screenshots and is built on the Open CASCADE platform.
  • CYCAS has been a sharp looking software around for a long time, but it doesn't look like it has been updated in 3 years.
  • DraftSight is "free as in beer" right now with somewhat limited functionality.

I occasionally run across others but am shortly disappointed to find them abandoned, exorbitantly priced, or missing some very basic functionality (like printing or DWG compatibility).

Just to be clear for anyone else reading along, CAD and 3D modeling are two different things. Shop drawings are most useful in 2D CAD, where you can emphasize lineweights, show very detailed dimension structures, and clarify material types. Frankly, if you don't care about pro-level CAD, you should invest in a manual drafting table with parallel bar and some pens because it is going to be just as fast at a considerable discount.

Design is useful with 3D capabilities, where complex and accurate visual qualities (like perspective, materials, light) can be observed almost real time. Modelers tend to make it easy for animators and film makers to represent reality. Most people don't realize this, but nearly 100% of all car commercials and advertising images these days are actually virtual 3D models! (There is currently a truck commercial running where a sunny field is reflected in the chrome bumper of a truck driving in a city in a pouring rainstorm.)

Doing both 2D CAD and 3D modeling? That's what BIM is supposed to be. Unfortunately, even these $5k packages don't do either very well. Theoretically, BIM lets you do both at the same time, but I find it takes longer to build and doesn't represent 2D as well as CAD. But your mileage may vary.

I'd pay for a FOSS solution for Linux that solves both my 3D and my CAD needs. But since I started maintaining a reference lists online of prospects in 2002-ish, I've still never come across anything. (If Blender3D would only add a real-world scaling system capable of Imperial inputs, we might get close!)
 

crokett

David
Senior User
Is sketchup in a virtual machine an acceptable alternative? I run fedora on me work laptop. We aren't allowed to run Wine and I have some software that there is no Linux alternative do I run a VM for it.
 

Absinthe

New User
Abs
Sketchup in wine or even a vm is less than optimal solution. So far the 3 suggestions i am exploring are Blender, libreCad, and qcad.
For the Windows world IMSI is doing the "freebie" wd thing again with DoubleCad.
I still prefer a Linux nati c e and preferably FOSS solution.
-Abs
 

Michael Mathews

Michael
Corporate Member
I forgot to mention that it's also free!
I just googled for the free download and I see there are versions for Fedora and Ubuntu
 

Lhloy

Larry
User
Draftsight is a 2D program, fully functional, at no cost. It is free from Dessault Systems, the parent company for the solid modeling package SolidWorks. Draftsight is an AutoCAD clone and even uses DWG for its native file format. I use it at home.
Sketchup is a solid modeling program, but I don't know much about it. Right now I use SolidWorks at work and love it, but I could never personally afford it.
Larry
 

Dave Richards

Dave
Senior User
I know of a number of people running SketchUp on Linux under WINE. It seems to work fine for them but there is a "gotcha". Access to the 3D and Extension Warehouses as well as some plugins require Internet Explorer (Safari on Mac) in order for the web dialogs to be functional. It doesn't matter what your default browser is. SketchUp only uses IE on Windows and Safari on Mac. Typically Linux users don't have IE installed so the web dialogs don't display correctly.

FWIW, SketchUp is a surface modeler, not a solid modeler.

Solidworks is nice but I could buy all the big machines in my shop new for the price of a single seat of it not to mention the annual subscription fee.
 

boink

New User
boink
is Draftsight a possibility? it works and feels just like AutoCad.
I've been with Autocad for many years. When Draftsight came out I downloaded and designed this wall unit in it. Knowing Autocad as well as I did at the time it took me a only a few minutes to set up DS to draft in. There is some difference between it and Autocad but nothing really to complain about. I know several architects and engineers that use it with excellent results. One of the key things in starting to use a cad program is you need to understand some drafting terminology, learn how to set up the program to be able to draft in it and try to find you someone that uses cad that will give you a push in the right direction CAD can be very frustrating just going into it and not knowing anything about it.


draftsite.jpg
 

RandyJ

Randy
Corporate Member
Can't seem to get it going in Ubuntu 14.04. I'm guessing it has to do with the browser (Firefox & Chrome) as mentioned by Dave Richards. Opens but hangs, then it will open but not let me go to any libraries, etc.
I will keep watching for anything new in this thread.
 

Dave Richards

Dave
Senior User
Randy, anything that SketchUp uses a web dialog for requires IE or Safari. That's unlikely to change.

You might search on the SketchUp forum to see what others who are running SketchUp on Linux machines have done to get the program to run. It can be made to run. It just won't give you all the features.
 

Mark Gottesman

New User
Mark
Can't seem to get it going in Ubuntu 14.04. I'm guessing it has to do with the browser (Firefox & Chrome) as mentioned by Dave Richards. Opens but hangs, then it will open but not let me go to any libraries, etc.
I will keep watching for anything new in this thread.
Here is a Sketchup Link on Mint forum that has a possible fix. Mint is based off of Ubuntu so, maybe it will translate or give you an idea.

http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=171814&hilit=sketchup
 
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