Google SketchUp for Mac OS X – Render Your Home Electronics in 3D

Google SketchUp was released a few days ago for Mac OS X. I’ve been waiting for this one to render my real and imagined home theater rooms and electronic components in all their detail.

Searching through Google’s 3D Warehouse (keywords: hifi, electronics, audio, HDTV, etc.), I found many SketchUp users already had the same idea. After a quick search, I discovered three or four nicely detailed theater or listening rooms. One SketchUp-er created super nice replica’s of his Classé system including CD player, processor and amp. You can download and edit or use any of the models as components in your own SketchUp constructions. This is a great way to learn the application by reverse engineering other’s hard work.

After working through the three included interactive tutorials, I was ready to begin SketchUp-ing. I started and quickly abandoned the following projects: Music Hall MMF-5 turn table, my home theater and listening room. I’ll take up these projects again when I have researched all the proper measurements of my electronic components, cabinetry and room. Once I have all the elements built I can experiment with repositioning loudspeakers and fitting additional equipment in the room accounting for the furniture.

I have always laid out my media rooms in Adobe Illustrator. Illustrator cannot deal with scale well, so I always had to move decimals around in my head for all my measurements. SketchUp has architectural measurements and scaling built in that you can intuitively type in to the measurement field when you have an object selected. SketchUp promises to be a huge improvement over Illustrator for turning all my stuff into little dollhouse toys.

To further illustrate my life in miniature I’ve been playing around with Bricksmith and Lego Digital Designer. The problem with Lego construction is finding a sweet spot between Lego’s fixed peg resolution and the amount of detail I need in my media room. Plus, if I do construct a room on screen I want to order the required Lego bits and build it for real, only possible with the official Lego software.

If I finish any electronic component models, I’ll post them to the 3D Warehouse.

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