SketchUp to AC3D exporter

SketchUp to AC3D exporter
Developed by James Turner and others
Initial release 0.1 (1 September 2008)
Written in Ruby
Development status Not under active development as of 05/2016
Type SketchUp extension
License GNU General Public License

With the SketchUp to AC3D exporter, developed by James Turner and improved by others, you are able to export SketchUp models to the AC3D file format. The script works in both SketchUp Make and Pro.


You can download the script from this link. Then, follow the extension installation instuctions here. Then restart SketchUp and the script should be visible through the via PluginsExport to AC3D, or ExtensionsExport to AC3D in SketchUp 2015 or later.

Note  In Sketchup 8, users are able to export as a .dae file, and AC3D is able to import .dae files, meaning no conversions are necessary if texturing in AC3D.

A note about textures

The AC3D exporter is set to export textures to the PNG format by standard. That means that for FlightGear to be able to display your model correctly, you will have to provide your textures in the .png format.

So if you have a texture in a format other than PNG, you'll have to transform it into PNG. One free program capable of this conversion is ImageMagick. You can download it from

See also AC files: Textures and SketchUp: Correct display of texture colors in the AC file.


The script is still in development at the moment. The current progress as of 12 September 2008 is:


  • Geometry export
  • Texture export

Known Issues:

  • Texture scaling on the model may appear wrong, further testing required
  • Material properties are guessed, so may appear different from Blender defaults. SketchUp has very limited material controls, so manual editing may be required.

To do:

  • Conversion of latitude and longitude locations.

Development update July 2011

SketchUp models which are completed using the existing SketchUp to AC3D exporter are rendered in FlightGear with double sided faces.

Though there is nothing wrong with double sided faces, there is a considerable saving in FG processing if single faces can be used. This affects fps (frames per second) and is particularly noticeable when entering an area which is heavily inhabited with buildings/models.

It is possible to export SketchUp models with single faces by using a new version of the exporter (adapted by VicMar & i4dnf).

The new version is named "ac3dS_export.rb" and is available for download from

The "ac3dS_export.rb" file should be placed in the same folder/directory as the existing exporter. In the SketchUp Plugins/Exentsions menu, it will appear as "Export to AC3D (Single_Faced)" and should appear with the existing exporter. Do NOT remove the existing exporter.

The new version is recommended for use with SketchUp models which do NOT have any see through textures. It is also not recommended if your model has apertures like open hangar doors, which allow a view inside the building, as the opposite walls will be invisible.

There is a work around for models which have see-through textures, but it is a chore to do, so it is recommended you use the existing exporter for such models.

Read in another language