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Method 2 - Optimizing CAD File Prior to SketchUp
Detailed CAD File Review

3.1 – Detailed CAD File Review

0:00 In the last course, we just imported the CAD plan as it was provided to us without doing any work in AutoCAD first.

0:10 In this course, we’re going to spend quite a bit more time up-front cleaning up and optimizing our linework prior to importing into SketchUp.

0:20 This way, once we get into SketchUp, it will be super quick and easy to model our floor plan.

0:27 Keep in mind that a lot of the cleanup and optimization tips and techniques we’re covering in this course require more time than I expect any of you to commit to fixing your already drawn CAD files.

0:38 The reality is, with proper drafting and knowledge of how SketchUp interprets CAD data...

0:44 most of the ‘fixes’ we’re doing here together won’t need to be done after the fact as you’ll likely be addressing them as you draft from the beginning.

0:55 With that said, let’s get into it.

0:58 If you’re following along at home and have access to AutoCAD, then go ahead and navigate to your exercise files folder and locate the same: ‘Arch_FP01_Original.dwg’.

1:12 So let’s take a minute to see what we’re starting with here in order to create our optimization ‘to-do’ list.

1:19 I’ll keep a running list as we go here on the side of the screen so we can easily keep track of all the things we find that will have to be corrected, ideally upfront in CAD, but if not, later once in SketchUp.

1:35 One of the first things that jumps out to me is all the information that won’t import or are not needed for modeling in SketchUp, such as text, dimensions, annotations and hatches.

1:49 So we can add ‘delete/purge non-importable items’ to kick our list off.

1:54 On a similar topic, we can also see form our layer manager that there are a lot of layers in this relatively simple drawing.

2:01 Many I’m sure we don’t need or want since our goal is to keep things simple and efficient.

2:07 For example, if we select some of the interior walls, we can see they’re on multiple layers.

2:13 There’s also a bunch of furnishing layers that as we saw in the previous lesson, we want to consolidate.

2:20 For our needs, just one layer for interior walls and furnishings will suffice.

2:25 So we’ll want to add ‘reduce and/or consolidate layers’ to our list.

2:32 Next, let’s check what should be repeating objects in the drawing, like furnishings, doors, windows, etc, to see if everything that should be was drawn as blocks.

2:44 Zooming into the bottom corner we can see that that some of the doors, the windows and the exterior columns are not blocks.

2:53 Let’s add that to our list. Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix for this one.

2:58 This falls into the ‘proper drafting standards’ category and should have been done by whoever created the original file.

3:04 While time consuming, things that should be blocks but aren’t should re-drafted correctly...

3:10 since the point of this track is to automate as much as possible and reduce redundant drafting or cleanup once in SketchUp.

3:19 So let’s add ‘re-draft blocks’ to our list.

3:24 Next, I’ll then select some walls to see if everything has been joined and closed properly.

3:30 And it appears there are a lot of broken segments.

3:34 This doesn’t necessarily mean that it will cause problems later, but to me, un-joined or broken lines invite the possibility for small overlaps or edge gaps to occur at corners and intersections...

3:45 that should be fixed in CAD when possible – versus relying on extensions to fix later in SketchUp.

3:51 So I’ll add ‘join/close linework’ to our list.

3:55 Now let’s check to see if there are any X-references (XREFS) attached to this plan.

3:60 With the XREF manager showing, we can see that yes, there is a site plan attached that has been unloaded.

4:07 After reloading we’ll later want to take some time to review what data, if any, might be needed for our use.

4:15 So let’s add ‘bind / NCOPY from XREF’ to our list.

4:22 Lastly, we can see from this drawing that there are some furnishing blocks, but no larger blocks or groups.

4:29 Depending on your project type and drawing complexity, it may benefit us to anticipate separating certain things from each other now, so that once we’re in SketchUp later...

4:39 linework comes in as groups and therefore not ‘stick’ together and allow us to work on things individually.

4:45 So let’s round out our list by adding ‘block by type and/or WBLOCK’.

4:53 It’s important to keep in mind at this point that no two CAD plans will ever be the same.

4:58 It’s important for us here to be able to recognize and eventually address as many potential conflicts as we can so that later when you’re working on your project...