Dwg import/export has been removed in SketchUp 8 Free version.  The best thing to do is to go out and buy the program if you need or use this feature.   Here are more reasons to Go Pro…

One workaround is to install SketchUp 7.1.  It starts out as 7.1Pro for the first 8 hours of use, then reverts to the free version after that.  The 7.1 dwg import plugin allows for importing from there.

http://sketchup.google.com/intl/en/gsu8/download.html

Windows SU 7.1 dwg import plugin

http://dl.google.com/sketchup/gsu7/AllowDWGImportInSketchUp7.msi

Mac SU 7.1 dwg import plugin

http://dl.google.com/sketchup/gsu7/AllowDWGImportInSketchUp7.dmg

The other way to do this is to download the SU8 PRO version (it installs in a separate location from the free version) and ONLY use it for importing/exporting files.  The first 8 hours are free, just don’t use them up.

So now that you have brought a dwg into SketchUp, how do you manipulate it?  Here are a number of videos showing how to change a flat CAD file into small(er) 3D model.  A little extra work right away will save you loads of work as the model gets more sophisticated.

Here is a video on techniques for bringing in a dwg to SketchUp

Best practices for preparing dwg’s for SketchUp (First 20 minutes will save SO much time!)

More advanced dwg techniques

DigitalArchLand shows specifically how to change AutoCAD dwg contours into 3D topographic model

Exporting dwg from SketchUp using Color by Layer to make new layers in AutoCAD

These are my favorite YouTube videos for learning advanced techniques like terrain modeling

http://sketchupland.posterous.com/my-favorite-advanced-sketchup-video-tutorials

More Advanced techniques

start at 3:30 to see how to use Scenes to manage Layers/Shadows/Components

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