Need some free shop floor layout software- sketchup?
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  1. #1
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    Default Need some free shop floor layout software- sketchup?

    I want to make a bunch of cubes representing some machinery that needs to be easily moveable on the screen, ie., able to drag each cube around the floorplan with a mouse to rearrange. It can be very simple, basic blocks, but I would like to have text labelling on them, and 2D is fine, using squares instead of cubes. Can I do this with Sketchup? ideally this would little to no leaning curve....

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    I dont know about sketchup, never used.

    I have done what you are talking about in Solidworks, Pro-e, and a bunch of different free "home remodel" software that I found online. Here is my take on it:

    Solidworks and Pro-e are weak when it comes to easily moving the machines around on the screen.

    The home remodel software either had a steep learning curve, or was too limited while using the free version.

    I have done a half dozen or so shop layouts. Simple ones for adding a piece of new equipment, and hard ones for moving buildings. It always seemed to me, the best way was the low tech solution. Measure everything. Scale it down. And cut out shape on paper. Can't be a $10 budget and something you can manipulate with your hands.

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    You can do this in Sketchup. It'll be fine for that (and more).

    Cautionary tale: Years ago I used a freeware version of Sketchup to import topo lines from googlearth into a Sketchup version of a house design. Was an absolutely fantastic feature. Crazy cool that GoogleEarth embedded data was that accessible. Basically saved the cost of a preliminary survey and allowed me to rough site a house on a lot...until Google sold Sketchup and the lock-up period expired with the buyer and Sketchup no longer supported that particular feature. When I went to reimport fresh topo data the feature was disabled. The work I put into designing the house in Sketchup was worthless. Not at all their fault. Mine for cheaping out with freeware. And nothing you need to worry about moving simple 2D shapes around.

    Sketchup would be fine for what you're doing. As would graph paper.

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    There has to be something. I've got 40 pieces of varying sizes I need to experiment with, cutouts won't work. MS paint would almost do it if it had dimensions and it was easy to move the shapes. If this isn't a thing it should be! Edit: just found something that might work here:
    Shop Tools and Machinery at Grizzly.com

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    Almost any 2D or 3D CAD program will work.

    Generally, in those CAD programs you have features like layers what can be turned on or off in the display so you can have the walls on one layer and different types of interior features on others: electrical, plumbing, air, benches and furniture, machines, etc.

    They also have a feature which allows you to combine various elements into an assembly or object that can then be moved, rotated, scaled, and copied as a unit. Most of the time this is called a "group". This allows you to construct an object, like a lathe or milling machine, with as much or as little detail as you want and them work with it.

    Layers can also hold alternate arrangements so you can instantly switch back and forth between two or more arrangements to compare them.

    I have my shop drawn in FastCAD (2D) using all of the above.

    Many have also used 3D software for this. Several of the major 3D CAD programs have free versions. I am presently learning and using the free version of Fusion 360 but have used other 3D CAD programs in the past. The free version is 10% functional, nothing is left out. Their only condition is that it not be used for commercial purposes. I like it. With a 3D CAD program you can model a machine down to the last nut, bolt, and washer if you want.

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    I used Broderbund 3D Home Architect to do a garage a while back. It's a 3D drawing program for about $50, was a detuned version of Chief Architect which was a $5K program, (don't know what it costs now). At the time the symbols were a little limited, only one type of car, workbench, etc but You could resize them if you only cared about the footprint. Lots of other furniture that could be reworked to simulate machines as well. I found it really handy, I could place windows and doors, garage doors, staircases, etc then do a walkthrough to see how it looked from on the floor. A quick search shows lots of similar programs available now, not sure which one would be the best deal

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    I think Grizzly has a free program with templates of their big tools. Just choose ones similar in size and shape to yours. Never used it. No idea if it is any good or if the shapes can be imported to other drawing programs.
    Bill D.

    Shop Tools and Machinery at Grizzly.com

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    Yes, above I found the grizzly thing, its exactly what I need. You can resize and drag around the machines.

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    I'm with Mud on this, if you're going to bother with a computer, the home architect stuff is nice. Doors, windows, floors, walls, all predone and then you get the 3d zoomaround views to give a better idea of how the real layout will look.

    If not, I'm a paper-cutout guy myself ...


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