I know this is probably too specialized or not practical but it would be awesome if Pololu would provide SketchUp models of their most popular components, or organize the community to build them. Maybe maintain a page on the site that lists what items have models and what items people want to have as models…
Adding 3D models for our parts to our website is something we want to do. We just put up our first few models in the form of STEP files. You can find them on under the “resources” tabs for the brackets for micro metal gearmotors and the carrier with Sharp GP2Y0A60SZLF analog distance sensor. Are you able to import these models into SketchUp? Are there any specific products you are interested having models of?
These are the import formats supported by SketchUp:
A quick google shows that converting STEP files to something SU can use is doable but not perfect. There is an SU plugin but it costs a lot of money for casual hobbyists.
I would mainly like to see chassis and related components in 3D, such as motors, wheels, casters, hardware and the like. That way we can figure out exactly what we need and what works together before ordering. Of course the more generic items might already be in the SketchUp 3D warehouse but it would great if items have a link to the warehouse in their resources tab so that we know for sure that the model has the same spec as the part.
Anyway, it’s great that you guys are interested in supporting 3D modeling for items. I think it adds real value, even if at the moment there are not a lot of people using modeling to build their bots.
Thanks for letting us know what file types are supported by SketchUp. We chose STEP files because they are a widely used 3D model file type for exchanging 3D objects between modeling software. Step files also tend to be easier to work with in CAD programs than other file types like .STL.
In looking at 3D CAD software for home use, I came across FreeCAD I haven’t used it extensively, but it seems to work well with STEP files.