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I have been using Sketchup for a few months now to design several projects and am generally very happy with it.
I say generally, because "out of the box" it is time consuming and even at times difficult to create the detailed drawings needed to build a woodworking project. In several instances multiple files needed to be created for a project.
My comments are about the free version because, after looking at what the "pro" version feature set is, it doesn't seem have features that I would find useful. Besides which, I also don't have that kind of money lying around.
I bought a Dummies guide to Sketchup which helped a lot with the mechanics of using the program, but much of the book wrote about the pro version which did does not seem to help with building a woodworking project directly from the Sketchup drawings.
I have two projects on the drawing board now that require two separate drawings for each, one showing the as built design and another showing an exploded view (manually exploded since I can't find a way for the program to explode a project) where I can add dimensions and other notations that I can build from.
For example, these projects each have a face frame with multiple components, each of which needs dimensions added, so the face frame needs to be separated from the carcass. Then the carcass needs to "taken apart" and details of the design (dado', rabbit' etc) annotated and add dimensions. Then doors need to be exploded and design details and dimensions added. I could go on but you get the idea.
At the very least I wish the program had the ability to add pages to the drawing so all of the design for a project would be in one file. I could then copy sub-assemblies (like doors, drawers, face frames etc) from one page to another, take apart the sub-assembly and annotate as needed. Also the ability to take apart a sub-assembly in a consistent manner would be nice. Are you listening Sketchup program designers?
I have added a cut list plug-in that helps with the cut list, but it is also requires some manipulation to get the results I need to buy materials and machine the parts.
Anyway that is my 2 cents worth. I will continue to use Sketchup as it is fun to use (most of the time :-) ) I just wish it had more features that us woodworkers need to build our projects.
Thanks for listening Marty
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Try a program named Desktop pro 2000, i use it here to design and create kitchen cupboards ect ect You can scale your creations, store them and compare with your designs.It takes a few hours to get the main idea, but once you have crossed that hurdle it is smooth sailing
Peter Queensland, Australia

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On 9/15/2010 2:06 PM, Marty wrote:

The more proficient you become, the quicker it goes ..
> In several instances multiple files needed to be

Designing numerous complete kitchens with SketchUp, I've never found that a necessity.
Although in a file that includes numerous parts like a kitchen with 25 cabinets (each cabinet an individual component, made of all the individual cabinet components) and a complicated island, I will often "copy" and "paste in place" the island to an untitled file to work on it temporarily ... but, with proper use of "scenes" and "layers", this is not even remotely necessary ... just me being in a hurry and not wanting to inadvertently take the chance of moving one of hundred components that I may have forgotten to "lock" down.

Until SketchUP8, there was really no functional difference in the drawing/modeling side between free and Pro, with the Pro version offering advanced printing and presentation, mostly using the included "Layout" module.
Now the Pro version includes some solid modeling capability that is not included in the free version.
Personally, I think this direction is big mistake by Google, who seems to be getting a bit big for their internet britches lately.

SketchUp can indeed handle that easily, you just have yet become proficient enough with the program to do it. :)
In a word: "Scenes" and "Layers" ... learn them!
(Although I don't use it for exploded drawings (just explode them myself using "scenes and layers"), you may want to try the plugin ExplodeImplode from Smustard.com to see if it makes it easier for you).

Again, "Scenes" and "Layers" are what you want to learn how to wield.
Once you become proficient with these, and with thought and commonsense application of these two features, you can do exactly the above.
I could

The program will actually do exactly what you want it to do with only one file, but, as noted above, you need to become familiar/proficient with the use of both "scenes" and "layers".
Each of my individual kitchen design files often have 20 or more layers and dozens of scenes, all in the same file.
AAMOF, I use layers to such a degree/advantage, that I have a "kitchen design template" with over 25 "layers" already in place.
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> The program will actually do exactly what you want it to do with only

Super cool info. I just dove in headlong to SU a few years back and never looked for such typical tools. I just did modeling. Glad to hear they are there. Thx!
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On 9/15/2010 3:04 PM, Swingman wrote:

Instead of just talk/BS, here's "some show and tell" regarding the use of layers (30 or so) and scenes (20+) with a complicated model with many parts and dimensions:
http://www.e-woodshop.net/files/Kitchen-Layers-Scenes-Example.zip
FWIW, this is an actual kitchen design model, used for the both the clients input during the design stage, and for shop drawings for actual build ... it is scheduled to start build/installation very shortly ... it is not a drill. :)
(There is a color version, but I prefer the non-color for viewing)
CAVEAT: I closed it out using SketchUp8, so you will probably have to upgrade to 8 to open it ... something you will want to do as a SU usser in any event.
If this version thing causes someone a big problem, post back here and I will save it in 7 and put it up on the site also.
Let me know here of any download problems.
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Actually IIRC I saw that when you save in 8.0 you can choose any of the past version formats to save the file in. You don't have to go back to Sketchup 7.0.
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On 9/15/2010 4:04 PM, Leon wrote:

You can indeed "save as" a file in any past version from SketchUp 8. :)
AAMOF, uninstalled 7 when I installed 8 (left the material and components folders because there are some nice ones with previous SU versions that are no longer in version 8).
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wrote in message

I have not pulled 7 yet but used Opus to syncronize the folders under 7 to those in 8. ;~)
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When you -buy- SketchUp, is it a one-time deal, or do you have to buy each new version, too?
-- Not merely an absence of noise, Real Silence begins when a reasonable being withdraws from the noise in order to find peace and order in his inner sanctuary. -- Peter Minard
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On 9/16/2010 11:29 AM, Larry Jaques wrote:

As a Pro version owner (or "renter", depending upon the EULA de jour) the upgrade price for me from 7 to 8 was $95.00.
The original outlay for the Pro version is circa $495.00.
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OK, $500 to join and then roughly $100/yr for updates. Wow.
-- "A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government." --Edward Abbey
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On 9/16/10 2:51 PM, Larry Jaques wrote:

See, I knew you could. :-)
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On 9/16/2010 2:06 PM, FrozenNorth wrote:

:)
... cheap at ten times the price, and pays for itself multiple times each and every project.
Money making software when wielded with a modicum of business sense and without preconceived notions.
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others don't have. That allows you to create your own markets. The whole thing about my investing in computers and software, as far back as 1986, was to have the capability to show a customer what I was about to build for them. Prior to that, I used to use Lawson charts and draw things on a board by hand. Show and tell goes a long way. Ultimately, there only two justifiable reasons to invest in equipment: a) It makes you more efficient and there is a ROI which can be projected. b) The guy across the street, the one you're competing with, doesn't have the capability you're about to invest in.
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Yeah, but only one of those reasons has gloat factor automatically built in. :)
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Overheard: "No point buying a cnc in this town, that mad Dutchman is two years ahead already."
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Add my grin, too. :^)

That's the way to do it! You would probably like using Chief Architect or SoftPLAN, too, but they're tougher to get up and running with and are 5x the cost.

So, how many/which of the of the $500 v. Free functions are you using? LayOut, etc? I still haven't spent the time to come up to speed with it.
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wrote:

The trick about those 'write-offs' is that you need to show a taxable profit first. *S*
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On 9/16/10 4:37 PM, Robatoy wrote:

I am sure Swing is making money, or he couldn't afford that Festering stuff. :-)
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The people who bought my countertop business are doing all their proposals and quotes with SketchUp. They are vey happy with the freebie and learned quickly to sketch and dimension countertop layouts. Just playing with it at their office, I found that it has come a long way since the days I found it to be merely a toy. It's all growed ups now. =o) And my goodness, the quantity of support libraries and aps is just astounding. It still looks like shit, though....g,d & r.
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