Lab Design - SketchUp

Creating the Model - SketchUp

3D models help us communicate exactly how a lab will look. As a result, our customers have a better understanding of the design. They become more involved in the process and are more confident when suggesting changes or making modifications. No more: “I didn't know it was going to look like that.”

We use SketchUp to create these models. SketchUp is easy to learn and fun to use (some would say addictive). As we continue to build out more components (cabinets, sinks, fixtures and fume hoods), we’re able to produce designs more quickly. And with accuracy to a thousandth of an inch, we can design, specify and plan with as much or little detail as necessary.

Lab Design - SketchUp
Image 1: Lab Model - SketchUp app
Lab Design - SketchUp
Image 2: Base Cabinet Layout - Plan View - Layout app

Creating Docs with Layout

Pictures are nice but at some point 2D drawings with dimensions become necessary. That's where the Layout app (included with SketchUp) comes in. After we complete the model in SketchUp, we use Layout to create a set of drawings including model shots, floor plans, elevations and section details. For instance, the Base Cabinet Layout - Image 2 was developed in Layout from an auto-generated view of the Lab Model - Image 1. To get a better understanding of the capabilities of Layout, a set of lab renovation drawings we made using SketchUp and Layout is available:

Example Lab Renovation Drawings - 2.11 MB

We often describe SketchUp as both design and communication software. Some folks don’t get the communication element, but for anyone who needs to share and collaborate with clients or partners, the fluid nature of SketchUp Pro and LayOut is essential.

-Mark Harrison - SketchUp Marketing Manager

Thinking Ahead

In the future, we want to share our SketchUp components so that, if interested, you can use them to design your lab. Additionally, we want to check out some rendering apps for situations where photo-realistic images may be required.

3D Warehouse

SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse is the world's largest repository of free 3D models. Several manufacturers have created and shared models. Having the ability to download these models makes it easy to design things like offices, kitchens and bathrooms. We want to get our models up there, too, in case you get the “lab planning itch.” Note: SketchUp Make is the free version of SketchUp.


Several rendering plug-ins are available for SketchUp to generate photo-realistic images. While not needed for every project, we think that there are times when nice looking renderings may be helpful – when trying to get funding for a lab renovation project, for instance. Plug-ins that we have looked at include:

Also, Piranesi, a 3D painting tool, is interesting. Cool looking results. Examples can be seen at the Piranesi Gallery.

Need Some Lab Design Assistance?

Feel free to contact us if we can help with your lab design. We can either provide a complete design or help you get started with SketchUp by furnishing components which you can use in your model. We can be reached toll free at 866-522-3498 or email us at: We would be glad to help.



Designer / Installer -

Let me know if you have questions or if you would like any additional information regarding this post.