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SketchUp Extension Review: TrueBend

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Swarna Karmakar: Editor

Arguably the most popular 3D modeling and design software on earth, Trimble SketchUp gathers its immense following and customer base due to the user-friendliness and flexibility of the application. The flexibility comes from the enabling of adding external code, called “extensions” or “plugins”, into SketchUp. These extensions enhance the way SketchUp tools behave, add new tools or new content to enrich and ease your usage of the software.

One of the points to remember while intending to use SketchUp extensions is that only the SketchUp Pro version or above allows the users to import extensions within it. The Free, Make or Shop versions do not have this ability.

Most extensions for SketchUp are found in the Extension Warehouse from Trimble, which has released the 2.0 version of it recently with new and improved features. Other third-party web sites also host SketchUp extensions. One of these Extensions is called TrueBend, and it is that of which we will talk about today.

What is TrueBend

SketchUp Extension Review: TrueBend

TrueBend from Thom Thom is a quite popular Trimble SketchUp extension found in the Extension Warehouse. When integrated with SketchUp, it enables the user to bend a given object for a certain degree. It will retain the original length of the object instance. The plugin uses the bottom front of the bounding box edge, therefore the user needs to line up the instant axis line up with the bend.

    How TrueBend Works

    The TrueBend plugin helps the user in bending an object within SketchUp for a given radius. It will also help you to bend the instance while maintaining the length of the object. Let us take an example to understand this better. Consider that the user wishes to bow a shape 60 inches long and the curvature of the bend is 180 degrees. To do this, the user needs to select ‘TrueBend’ in the menus or toolbar, and then click and drag the red bar on the SketchUp design screen to bend the object. Alternatively, you can click the red bar and enter the curvature value in degrees in the VCB for a precise manual curving. After finishing the dragging, or hitting enter after giving the value, you will see that the object instance has bowed to form the expected shape yet it still retains the original length.

    SketchUp Extension Review: TrueBend

    Advantages with TrueBend

    SketchUp Extension Review: TrueBend

    One very significant way TrueBend differs from other similar extensions is that it allows the user to create 360-degree curvatures; while the different comparable plugins only allow you to bend an object up to 180 degrees. Not only that, you can control how many segments will be created in the end product by typing an ‘s’ after the provided value in the VCB. This will come in particularly handy in the creation of models that depend upon a preset number of segments; for example, a spiral or curved staircase. The user can also control the hidden geometry generation in the created curved segments in order to control the smoothness or softness of the solid.

Technical Details about TrueBend

SketchUp Extension Review: TrueBend

Thomas Thomassen, the mind behind TrueBend, has created the extension in order to help SketchUp users overcome the difficulty in creating curved objects. Instead of mucking about with arcs and curves to create the bowed shapes, you can just create them as they would be if they were straight instead of bent; and then use TrueBend’s magic on the straight object to bend it to your needs. The extension adds buttons and menu entries called ‘TrueBend’ in the SketchUp interface and in the context menu. Other than in the Extension Warehouse, this extension can also be found in the GitHub repository and in SketchUcation. The latest version of the extension is 1.1.3 and was last updated by Thom Thom in July 2018. It is compatible with either Windows or Mac. The TrueBend extension is free to download and free to use with no restrictions; however, you will need a SketchUp account in order to get it. The software is open-source (the source being available at GitHub) meaning anyone can modify it for personal-use enhancements.

Meet the Maker

The creator of TrueBend is Mr. Thomas Thomassen, a genius model maker, is a software engineer by trade. He’s an accomplished web designer and 3D modeler, and he is also focused on the arts of traditional and digital designing of various objects. Residing in Trondheim, Norway, Thomas has been working with Trimble since

2013.
SketchUp Extension Review: TrueBend
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