How to convert Sketchup imports into "smoother" NURB cloud .STP's

Hi all,

I downloaded Rhino because my company uses Sketchup as our primary modeling platform. I was told I can use Rhino to import Sketchup files and convert them into smooth-surface NURB cloud .STP files, much like files produced on Solidworks. Is this the case? and if so, how would I go about doing that?


Hello - No. ‘Converting’ is a big word… depending on what you want there are various ways to rever-engineer a mesh to a smooth surface(s) but in general these are not conversions so much as a lot of work. What sort of shapes are we talking about here?


Ok I’ll try to explain more and use a better word than convert; this part is a tube with specific geometric cuts made in the outer wall.

Just generally speaking, is there a command/sequence I can use to turn a faceted mesh into a smoothed surface/NURB cloud?

Hello - generally speaking no, that can be a very complicated business - again, what you have and what the quality of the output needs to be, would largely determine the tools you’d use and level of difficulty in getting there.


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ok thats fine. Is there a way I can export a Sketchup imported part as a .STP file?

No STEP files don’t support meshes.

Some CAD and CAM products can work with mesh files, so it’s a matter of…what is this all about? What is the product? What are the STEP files needed for? WHY in God’s name is it being modeled in Sketchup? The best answer is probably to model it in actual CAD which can make STEP files.

I’m modeling in sketchup because thats the modeling platform my company could afford when they hired me. I learned on solidworks during my undergrad curriculum, so I’m well aware it isn’t optimal.

STEP files are needed for our machinist to be able to properly read our part geometry.

I think the higher ups in your organization will need to be informed that any work done in Sketchup will need to be redone for machining, essentially doing it twice.

Pushbutton approaches to convert meshes to CAD models rarely provide useable results.

As Jim has already suggested the ideal process should move away from Sketchup for development for parts that require machining.

Yeah, the best thing to do at this moment would be for the machinist to use the (usually laughably awkward) modeling capabilities of his CAM software to recreate it, unless the CAM can actually work with mesh files directly, IF the Sketchup models are good enough.

The commercial version of SketchUp is like $800, they could have gotten Rhino for a bit more, or any number of crappy Solidworks wannabes.