Open Building Institute

How to Use the Library in Sweet Home 3D


Installing & Importing

File Format Overview

Use the Library to Design a Structure in Sweet Home 3D

Edit or Study a Module in Sweet Home 3D

Import Modules into Other Applications

Designing a Structure in Sweet Home 3D

Sweet Home 3D Overview

Using the OBI Library in Sweet Home 3D

Modules Properties

Module Placement

Module Alignment


Installing & Importing

TL;DR

The simplest and most direct way to use the library is to import an entire collection (contained in a single file) into Sweet Home 3D—an open source interior design application.

Collection files are available for download from each Collection’s page (example - click “download this collection”).

  1. Download and install Sweet Home 3D
  2. Download the Collection
  3. Unzip the Collection file
  4. Open Sweet Home 3D
  5. Navigate to "Furniture -> Import Furniture Library" and then select the [library name].sh3f file you unzipped.
  6. That's it! Now check out the section below to learn how to use your library in Sweet Home 3D

File Format Overview

The simplest and most direct way to use the library is to import an entire collection (contained in a single file) into Sweet Home 3D—an open source interior design application. However, 3D models for each module are also available in standard formats, which can be imported into other CAD applications—including FreeCAD and Blender.

The choice of format depends on the intended use:

Use the Library to Design a Structure in Sweet Home 3D

To design a structure in Sweet Home 3D, you may either download and install an entire collection or download and import only the modules you wish to use.

To Download and Install a Collection

Collection files are available for download from each Collection’s page (example - click “download this collection”).

  1. Download and install Sweet Home 3D
  2. Download the Collection
  3. Unzip the file
  4. Open Sweet Home 3D
  5. Navigate to "Furniture -> Import Furniture Library" and then select the [library name].sh3f file you unzipped.
  6. That's it! Now check out the section below to learn how to use your library in Sweet Home 3D

To Download and Import a Single Module

Module files are available for download from each Module’s page (example - click “3D CAD and build instructions”).

  1. Download and install Sweet Home 3D
  2. Download the OBJ file from the module’s files folder
  3. Unzip the file. The folder contains 2 files: an .OBJ and an .MTL. The .MTL File Format is a companion file format that describes surface material properties of objects in .OBJ files. The .MTLs must be kept in the same folder as the .OBJ they accompany.
  4. Open Sweet Home 3D
  5. Navigate to "Furniture -> Import Furniture" and then select the [modulename].obj file.
  6. That's it! Now check out the section below to learn how to use your modules in Sweet Home 3D

Edit or Study a Module in Sweet Home 3D

To study (learn how it’s made) or edit a module you should download its individual SW3D file - available in each module’s page  (example - click “3D CAD and build instructions”).

  1. Download and install Sweet Home 3D
  2. Download the SW3D file from the module’s files folder
  3. Unzip the file
  4. Double click the file or open it from Sweet Home 3D
  5. That's it! Now check out the section below to learn how to use Sweet Home 3D

Import Modules into Other Applications

Although the modules were designed in Sweet Home 3D and, for that reason, are easier to use on that application, designs for each module are also available in Wavefront OBJ format, which can be imported into a large number of CAD applications—including FreeCAD and Blender. In the future, we hope to be able to offer a FreeCAD ready-to-use version of the library.

In Blender:

  1. Download the .OBJ zipped file from the module’s files folder
  2. Unzip the file
  3. Open Blender
  4. Navigate to "File -> Import -> Wavefront (.obj)" and then select the [modulename].obj file.

Designing a Structure in Sweet Home 3D

Sweet Home 3D Overview

Note: Sweet Home 3D is an open source interior design application. We selected it for the OBI library for its stability and ease of use. However, since this was not its intended purpose, we had to take advantage of existing features for alternative purposes. One of the first things you’ll notice is that all library/object panels and operations are labeled “Furniture.” This is because that is what the application is meant to do: allow you to arrange furniture objects for interior designs. However, in practice, there is no limitation as to what category of objects can be used. So, for our purposes “furniture” just means objects, and “furniture library” just means library. This may a bit a confusing at first, but you’ll soon get used to it.

The Sweet Home 3D user interface is divided into 4 panes: Catalog (upper left), Used Modules (lower left), Plan (upper right), and 3D View (lower right).

The Catalog pane contains all the objects available for use on the design. Several categories of objects come bundled into Sweet Home 3D: Bathroom, Bedroom, Characters, Doors and Windows, etc. To this we added the OBI collections - which will show up on this list after being imported.

The Catalog can be viewed in two ways: as Category Folders or as a Searchable List. The searchable list displays the object icons as a grid and the category folders as a list.

Category Folders View

Searchable List View

OBI structural module names include their dimensions. The differences between module dimensions can be subtle and are not visible in the modules’ icons used in the Searchable List view. For this reason, we recommend adopting the Category Folders view. To do this, navigate to “Sweet Home 3D -> Preferences” and check the Category Folders option.

The Used Modules pane shows the objects used in the current design. These objects can be grouped in folders for ease of organization. To do this: select the objects you want to group and then navigate to “Furniture -> Group.” Objects and groups of objects can be made visible or invisible by selecting/deselecting the “visible” button in front of each.

The Plan pane shows the layout of the current design as seen from the top. Objects are added to a design by dragging and dropping from the Catalog pane into the Plan pane.

The 3D View pane shows the 3D rendering of the design. There are a couple ways to view the model: the aerial view shows the design from an aerial point of view, the virtual visit view shows the design from the point of view of virtual visitor. To switch between views open the 3D View menu (at the top) and select the desired view. The 3D model can be manipulated either with the mouse or using the 3D navigation arrows.

>> Learn more about how to use Sweet Home 3D

Using the OBI Library in Sweet Home 3D

After importing any of the OBI collections into Sweet Home 3D, you’re ready to start designing your structure.

If you’re using Sweet Home 3D for the first time, start by setting your Preferences:

  1. Navigate to “Sweet Home 3D -> Preferences”
  2. Select a language
  3. Select a unit. For the moment, OBI modules are in inches and it may be easier to use the “inch/decimal” option.
  4. Select your preferred Furniture Catalog View - “Category Folders” is recommended

Modules Properties

Start by dragging and dropping a wall module from the Catalog into the Plan. The placement, orientation and dimensions of each module can be altered either by direct manipulation or through their properties panel.

1) Direct Manipulation

Select the module on the Plan.

2) Properties Panel

Double click a module on the Plan to open its properties panel.

Module Placement

We find it easier to start the design by placing the top left edge of the first module at the (0,0) point. In Sweet Home 3D, the object’s registration point is its (x,y) center. For example, if we set 4 ft as the x location for the module, its horizontal center will be placed at the 4 ft mark.

So, to place the top left corner of the module at the (0,0) point, we must divide its width and height by two. For example, on a module that is 48 inches (4 feet) wide and 4.5 inches deep, we’d set the x coordinate to 24 inches (2 feet) and the y to 2.25 inches.

Module Alignment

The easiest way to align modules is to use Sweet Home 3D’s alignment options. Start by dragging and dropping a wall module from the Catalog into the Plan. Position it where you want the wall to start. Drag additional wall modules next to it. Don’t worry about positioning them, just form a rough row. Once all the modules for this particular wall are on the plan - forming a rough row - select the first one and then all the others (so that all modules are selected). Navigate to “Furniture -> Align Side by Side.” All the wall modules should now be perfectly aligned with the first one.