Use Google Sketchup + Inkscape to create laser-cut designs

Two instructabes by Flights of Ideas.

Flights of Ideas has posted two instructables investigating a method of translating data from Sketchup, into Inkscape and on through Ponoko into 3D object.The first instructable describes how one can use a plugin that he himself has authored for exporting faces in SVG format, that is, Scalable Vector Graphics format, which can then be imported into Inkscape:

"When I first started using Ponoko I found that there weren't any specific tools to enable me to export my SketchUp 3D designs. It is really hard to design in 2D and visualise a 3D result (unless you're an architect or do this for a living); that's why I wrote the SVG plugin."

Flightsofideas' cube in Sketchup

Flightsofideas' cube in Inkscape

Flightsofideas' cube in Ponoko

From Sketchup, to Inkscape, to Ponoko - images from Flightsofideas on Instructables

In the second instructable, the author discusses in detail the various outcomes of his experiments with the plugin, and generally with prototyping using Ponoko. As such it is a useful read for any Ponoko user, discussing comparative cutting costs for differing joints and materials. The thorough and clearly passionate author comments:

"I (and others) can't afford to use [professional software packages] for hobbies - hence why I wrote the plugin and released it as open source. It's essentially a zero cost pipeline right up until the laser cutting or milling, etc."

Via Todbot blog

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