Sketch up is it worth it?

Does anyone use sketch up if so what do they use it for and is it worth investing in for a beginner?
Hope all are well.

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Hi Jason,

In my (very personal) opinion it used to be a good tool (and I liked using it back in the days, I remember modelling MY WHOLE HOUSE to exact dimensions…man I was crazy) but currently if you have to spend time learning a CAD tool from scratch, you would be better off learning Fusion360, if only because it got so popular that support/training material will be more readily available, and it is incredibly powerful. AND, it has an awesome integrated CAM module, which (last time I checked?) is not available in Sketchup, so to cut mill things you would have to export the 3D model from Sketchup into another CAM tool anyway.

And then again it all depends on whether your intended use (personal or business), because the Fusion360 is a “free drug”. But so is Sketchup, so…

Tell us more about what you want to do with it, and people can comment on how optimal one software or the other will be ?


Have to agree with @Julien RE: Fusion 360,awesome program for our hobbyist needs and great for pros too.

There is a series on YouTube from Paul McWhorter for absolute beginners here:

There’s a lot of repetition, which makes it easy to keep up.

@CNCInspiration has pointed me to a more advanced series that will help guide you through using Fusion at a higher level. These are by Lars Christensen and are outstanding:

I’m using an educational version that was installed for me by a colleague, but I’m sure someone on the forums here can provide better info then I have for getting a copy. Pretty strict licensing rules for using as a hobbyist, so please keep on eye on those.
Keep in mind that you can’t enter the current community challenge using anything other than Carbide Create though :wink:

Sketchup is great for construction projects such as designing a deck or remodeling your kitchen. I’ve also used it for designing and modifying objects for 3D printing. It uses faces, edges and vertices for modeling, rather than true solids like Fusion360. I have not used it for CNC projects (yet).

It’s actually a lot easier to learn than parametric solid modeling tools like F360, Solidworks, etc.

You can get free access to Sketchup online training videos on from local libraries. All you need is a library card number and password. Typically this is offered only in the big city libraries, so you should check with your local library. In my case in California, the San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles city libraries offer it. Usually you can get a library card even if you don’t live in the city. You just have to physically apply for the card at a library there.

By the way, there are a number of good online training videos for Fusion360 on as well, including at least one specifically on the CAM features.

Most people don’t know that libraries offer this free service. I’ve found the videos to be high quality, since some people actually pay for them.

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There are some notes on it for CAM at:

FWIW, I find the licensing problematic — be sure to read the fine print.

If you plan to do a lot of simple 2D or 2.5D stuff check out Carbide Create. Personally I am a fan of Fusion, but if you never expect to go past a couple engraved signs or some v carvings CC is the tool for you. I know they made some significant updates so it can do quite a bit more. You can check out Winston’s carbide create office hours and see him do some two-sided machining

That said, if you’re willing to invest in the learning I highly recommend Fusion 360! In my day job I routinely use Autodesk inventor, Autodesk hsm works, and ansys. Fusion has elements of all of these, and more, baked into one program.
And compared to any one of the software packages I just listed it is much simpler to use. So if you want the ability to use around $20,000 worth of software for free that’s your option.


Sketchup is going to the cloud. There are no more free installed versions. Well, except for the cloud. Subscriptions are common.

I’ve upgraded to the last one I’ll ever use of Sketchup. Now I only use it for everything around my place for property planning, decks, porches, sidewalks and buildings. I’ve worked out dimensions for many of my Shapeoko projects because it allows me to rotate around in space and see how things fit.

Its fun to use, but it has its own problems.

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my main laptop is being held hostage by my daughter for her work at home for about 3more weeks, so I’ve been working on learning fusion 360. I’ve has a free subscription for a couple of years, but never have taken time to really try and learn it.

My local libraries are all closed and they are offering Lynda subscriptions free. Check with your library, they probably do the same. But for fusion 360, it is just ok. The software is update from 2 to 4 times a year and controls change, any video from 2017 is worthless and even 2018 is behind a lot. You can learn from these but it is difficult and setup is totally different. 2019 and 2020 videos are all good.

I’ve tried sketch up a few times, but I can’t see using it for cnc work.

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