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
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
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
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.
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.
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:
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.
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).
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
The same for the purchase of a tool which will give you capability
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
b) The guy across the street, the one you're competing with, doesn't
have the capability you're about to invest in.
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
"A patriot must always be ready to defend his country
against his government." --Edward Abbey
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
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
And my goodness, the quantity of support libraries and aps is just
It still looks like shit, though....g,d & r.
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