Once we were satisfied with SketchUp as a tool to create 3D models and quickly put together concept drawings, the next question was whether or not it could output the results in a form that could be easily manipulated by other applications. For example, we might want to design a part, then bring it into a CAD package for complete documentation. SketchUp allows you to add text and notations to your design, but is still pretty limited in that respect. Dimensions you put in one view sometimes show up in weird and totally unexpected places when you change views. Or, we might want to send a particular design off to be machined or laser cut. We can't expect our vendors, nor our customers, to have copies of SketchUp handy. But, we can and do expect that they will have some software package that's capable of reading an industry standard format - like the AutoCad DXF format.
To see how easy, or difficult it would be to export our designs to DXF, we put together a simple 3D robot flea, then used the Files/Export/2D Graphic menu options, and saved a number of views from different perspectives as 2D DXF files. Then we opened each file in a couple of different applications that read the DXF format.
Our robot 'flea' needs a name. Any ideas?
It turns out it was as easy as falling off a log. The drawings came out perfect the first time with no hiccups, and no error messages.