SketchUp alternative for Linux users

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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.

— Abs

Gimp works.

-- Alec (Friends call me Wolf, no idea why)

Sketchup runs reasonably well on my Fedora 20 Linux box under wine. A little roughness at startup, but once you are rolling it does fine

wow, The Gimp? I would not imagine using that to design a piece of furniture, maybe Inkscape, but Gimp, really? I am not being sarcastic when I ask “How specifically, are you using Gimp for design?” Is there an addin or something that makes drawing and measuring and such. I remember one a while back that added in easier ways to do rectangles and such.

I do realize that certain versions of Sketchup will run under certain versions of wine, under certain versions of Linux. But that is a completely different question. At some point, I may ask who has gotten it to run under wine and howto this and that. But for now, I am hoping that someone is using and liking something other than SketchUp.

I am currently looking at LibreCAD for 2d and either FreeCAD or Blender for 3D. I have also heard rumor that the Blender people are working on BlenderCAD but as of yet I have not heard a lot on it.

— Abs

Tbh, I use a pencil, two triangles, a T-square and an eraser. It’s worked for me for years and never needs an upgrade.

-- Alec (Friends call me Wolf, no idea why)

Wolf (& Rabbit!) That is certainly an alternative! It is a good one too. I have done many of those, some of which were done on the back of a napkin, and at least one was done on one of the 2×4′s making up the railing in my garage. :)

And, even though I like the occasional session with my hand planes, chisels and old diston handsaw… I still enjoy the table saw, thickness planer and router as well.

Last night I gave QCad a try. It seems pretty usable. I have, so far only done otho’s with it, but it does have an iso grid so in theory I could give that a try too.

I trained on a minicomputer back in ‘86, used autocad a lot later on pc’s. I worked 8 years doing topographies by hand, though, so when an idea pops into my head, i grab the pad of paper first…and almost always…last.

Good luck with your search.

-- Alec (Friends call me Wolf, no idea why)

Sounds great! I am sure I will work on getting back to hand doing some stuff again. Not sure if I still have my portable drafting board, but I know where my triangle is, and a T-Square can’t be too far away :)

QCad seems very usable so far. Next step is to see if I can do the actual 3D modeling in Blender. It feels like an exercise in discipline to learn the interface, but it can do sooo much besides furniture and cabinet design.

I think the learning curve on freeCad will be nearly as high as Blender, so I believe I will simply discount that one. I have a simple pet project (a drill press stand) and I am recreating that in each tool that I try so I have a comparison of difficulty as well as an apples to apples comparison.

It is likely a 10 minute project with pencil and paper (even without a triangle), unfortunately, it has taken more than that in each tool I have tried so far.

That’s the rub for me. It seems to add complexity without value (for me) and I’ve worked quite hard, ironically, to simplify my life these last few years.

Still if I was doing this for a living you can bet I’d have autocad running. I think if I was a client a nice, clean, drawing would help me buy something. It adds a degree of professionalism.

Nice chat, thanks

-- Alec (Friends call me Wolf, no idea why)

Well, lots of things take time, especially when you are just implementing them. I assume, and this will be the golden test, if I am good enough at it, it will NOT take longer to do it with the program, than by hand.

I spent a fair amount of time trying to come up to speed in Blender last night. That will be a huge curve, and I have yet to decide whether there will be any ROI on that.

It’s a journey, right? Not a destination. :)
— Abs

Hey Abs,
Please do keep me informed on how you do. I would be quite interested to know if you find a good Linux native alternative. I’ve got Sketchup working ok, but if there’s something better in the Linux world, I’d like to give it a try.