Why should I use Sketchup instead of my usual design software?

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

After a particular time, we sometimes get set in our ways of doing things. To a certain extent, familiarity can breed a certain level of efficiency. However, if you’re in a continuous improvement environment, have you considered new ways to speed up the freehand drawing process?

Whether you’re using AutoCAD, Inventor, Catia, SolidWorks, or any other 3D computer design software, read on to learn how our team at Flexpipe cut design time in half.

Up until 2011, the Flexpipe design team used Solidedge software. We were drawing sketches rather quickly; maybe not the fastest out there, but we thought we were pretty good nonetheless! All our joints had already been drawn previously, and we were producing complete computer designs in about 4 hours. Some took just an hour, such as for boards, while others took an entire day, an elaborate kitting cart, for instance.

The problem was that sometimes we would spend 5 to 8 hours drawing a single sketch, and, in some cases, the project would not get the go-ahead. To reduce this time waste, we developed an extension for Sketchup, which eventually allowed us to cut our drawing time by half! This was a huge gain for our designers who were sketching all day long! In 2016, we decided to offer this time-saving feature to our customers. As of 2019, the extension is available to all pipe and joint users, even if they are not Flexpipe customers.


Benefits of the Flexpipe Creator Extension for SketchUp

The developed extension has several benefits that will reduce your drawing time in half for you too!

1 – Converts lines into pipes with the desired Flexpipe color in 1 click, which makes the design more straightforward and faster to create. You can quickly change your structure with one click to go back to the sketch with lines.

2- Finds and places the right metal joints – and suggests alternatives – in one click for all the pipe intersections. That way, you don’t have to know all the joint options and speed up design time considerably. The Flexpipe Creator extension can spots metal joints that conflict with others to avoid any incorrect design features. It also accelerates the assembly process.

3- Suggests other accessories and puts them in the most appropriate locations. He also offers visibility options to hide pipes, joints, and accessories, allowing you to modify a drawing faster.

Once your structure design is complete, you will be able to generate a bill of material in an Excel format, including a cutting list for pipes, roller tracks, and decking. This will speed up the purchase request and avoid any retyping waste.

You’ll also get an optimized cutting list and a visual diagram to reduce pipe, roller track, and decking wastes. The Flexpipe Creator extension has links to Flexpipe’s online store so you can evaluate pricing, create a shopping list that you can share, or place the order right away!

Want to see the Flexpipe Creator extension in action?
Watch our quick demo


Key benefits of the Sketchup program include:

  1. Low cost for the commercial license;
  2. Minimal hardware requirements;
  3. Access to the Sketchup 3D Warehouse – a comprehensive list of extensions and API;
  4. Access to the Sketchup Library: other CAD models created by other users;
  5. Easy to use;
  6. Flexpipe Creator Extension is available!

The best way to design an optimal structure is to focus on the concept and the structure’s purpose. Try to spend more time with people on the floor to ask them about their needs and what type of structure they have in mind. They usually have already thought about a concept, but sometimes merely need to explain it in their own words.

As you can well guess, we’re all about efficiency. Therefore, with LEAN principles mind, we strive to reduce time wastes in the various sketching steps, i.e., putting in measurements, changing pipe colors, finding the right connector, putting together the cut list. So you can craft your design in the most efficient way possible.

If you need more information on Flexpipe’s Creator extension, please contact your project manager. He will be happy to provide any information you might need.

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