"Install" is probably my middle name, with curiosity being the middle letter you don't see in there. So my computer is loaded with all kinds of software "just in case". sometimes i play with 3d apps. the ones i really use are Blender, Wings3D, Yafaray. other 3d stuff i have installed now includes Google Sketchup, an old version of Amapi, trueSpace 7.61 beta, Softimage Mod Tool, Mapzone, Terragen 2 and the open beta of Genetica 3 (no longer available, since the full version was released. i just hope they don't come after me for using it past the beta period).
anyhow, i had a few Sketchup models i wanted to import to Blender, since Blender is what i use for primary scene setup. i found out that Sketchup can export compressed Google Earth files, which internally use the Collada format. i exported the models, uncompressed them, and attempted to load the Collada file into Blender. all i ended up getting was a set of axes, most likely because the Blender Collada importer is about two years old. the free version of Sketchup can only export to Google Earth. the paid version is available for 480 minutes of trial, and can export to other formats, including 3DS, Wavefront OBJ and DXF (Blender does an excellent job of importing and exporting Wavefront). so i was in a quandary. Google, clear thinking and patience turned up three no-cost, honest solutions: