I think you are still on try #1. After you play with it for a week,
quit for a month or year, and re-start... then you will be on try #2.
It took me 4 tries, not 3 but I think you skipped try #1, which is
normally to install it, and see what you can do with out RTFM.
Regardless of number of tries, Sketchup is almost perfect for the
hobbyist wood worker. You can quickly draw up cabinets, shelves, work
benches, chairs, tables, pencil holders and golf net frames to scale and
with 3D graphics, color the designs with wood types or paint so you can
get a nice look at what your project will look like before you build it.
You can print out the design with dimensioned drawings to make
building it a snap. This is all FREE, so it's impossible to beat the
price. The pro version is like $500 and has about no features the free
version doesn't have. The few things the pro version does would not be
of much value to the average home hobbyist woodworker, or even a small
shop professional. You probably can design, draw and build (and pay for)
an entire kitchen for your loved one with the free version faster than
you can learn to use (and pay for) Autocad.
If you are designing a launch pad for NASA, or hooking your drawing up
to a $500,000 CNC water jet/laser cutter, you probably want to look into
going to school for a few years and getting familiar with AutoCad types
of programs that cost as much as most wood shops.
Otherwise, let us know how many tries it takes you to figure out how
good free can get.
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You may be right -- either that or I am on 1.5, but it will take me 5
I haven't even started looking at colors and textures, but I did watch
an amazing video showing how to model a structure from a photo:
BTW: This site, which is a companion to the book, has a ton of
That's for sure. A full-scale CAD program was never an option. ;-) If
something like SketchUp was not available, it would be pencil and
I quit upgrading my TurboCad at version 10, so I can't speak to
version 16. If you'll take that into consideration, I'll echo
Swingman. TC is a much more full featured 3D CAD system than SU. As
such, I found TC's learning curve somewhat harder to climb but, once
climbed, it's more versatile.
A specific item I recall is the dimensioning, formatting and
production of shop drawings. I wouldn't call it a "piece of cake" in
TC, but it does a fairly nice job. If you need dimensioned shop
drawings, SU is somewhat cumbersome, and the dimensioning package
isn't nearly as versatile as TC. If you don't need or use shop
drawings, then that's a non-issue.
Another specific that I remember TC having the edge of SU is in the
category of non-rectilinear sections. The set of curves and 3-d
geometry operations, addition, subtraction, etc. is more general with
TC. SU makes many assumptions about what it thinks you want to do.
Many time, SU is right, but there are times I find myself going from
Chicago to New York by way of Atlanta because of those "I know what
you want" assumptions.
I'd almost compare the two as similar to a comparison between Visual
Basic and C++. Visual Basic (SU) does a lot of things for you behind
the scenes that C++ (TC) doesn't. You may not want those things done
by default in a particular application, but, if you do, developing the
application can be faster in VB/SU than in TC/C++.
I'd like to give you a more detailed, point-by-point comparison, but
I'm way non-current both in version and recent experience with TC (and
VB and C++ also for that matter). My last use of TC was designing my
Gazebo several years ago. It did a fine job with a lot of weirdly
shaped, non-square, components. For something of like complexity, I'd
reinstall TC and refresh my expertise. For simpler tasks and
conceptual modeling of furniture and cabinetry items, my go-to is SU.
I'm currently working on an 80x28x20 walnut wine cabinet for my oldest
son and SU is the tool I'm using for the conceptual layout and design.
One thing I really like about SU is a wide variety of plugins. One I
find very useful is an interface to CutList Plus that exports an input
file for Cut List. The SU model has to be made with that in mind, but
that pair, CL and SU, does the vast majority of the things I need for
my shop projects.
On Sun, 24 May 2009 22:11:31 -0700 (PDT), RicodJour
I hadn't though about it, one way or the other, but there's no reason
not to. It may be a while before it's published since I just started
looking at it yesterday when he sent me the dimensions (yes, inches,
BTW) We've a ways to go before the model looks like much more than a
coffin standing on end. I'll have to take some pictures of finished
walnut to use for the SU material image.
The walnut was given to me by a neighbor. He's a building contractor
who was remodeling a house for some physician. They stripped out a
bunch of paneling and was hauling it to the dump. On the way, he
stopped by my house to see if I might want to try to salvage it.
The bed of his pickup was loaded with 3/4" walnut T&G boards about 6"
x 9 feet. After ripping off the damaged edges and planing down the
reliefs on the back of the boards, the actual surfaced dimensions
calculated out to about 120 board feet. Would have been more except
they didn't take any pains to preserve the wood while they were
tearing it out and quite a bit was too damaged to be worth trying to
save. Still, some pretty boards that were headed to the burn pile,
didn't quite get there.
Glad to hear it's inches - I was worried about his liver. ;)
Obviously there's no rush on the thing, but I would like to see the
process as it moves along. Pixels to pouring as it were.
I'm guessing the drool coming out of the corner of your mouth tipped
him off that you would be willing to save him the trip to the dump. I
think that neighbor is a keeper.
Damn! A literal drive-by gloat and I walked right into it! You are
the suck meister!
As a point of reference, the latest 2D - 3D TurboCAD 16 communicates well
with sketchup. It can import sketchup files and export to sketchup.
Sooooo. if you need to use a CAD program later, you can buy a new TurboCAD
16 2D - 3D for about $130 list. I am sure some one will give you a little
I suggest trying the free version of SketchUp. If you find that it
doesn't do everything you want, then find a package that can at a price
you're comfortable with.
For getting started, free should be fairly comfortable. :)
...and with the sketchup cutlist plugin, you don't even have to put all
the pieces in their proper place - just drag the appropiate number of
each part to the layout screen, select all of them and render the cutlist.
Just did this for the Rockler Murphy bed with bookcases. Saved a few
sheets of expensive ply.
I was off the wreck for a while and I came across this thread.
In case anyone is looking for something more, Carrara 6.2 Pro, and Hex
v? can be gotten for about $20 at http://www.daz3d.com/ (but their web
site is down today, so I can't post a link to the exact product).
The two are included on the CD ROM of a book they are selling for $20.
Carrara is a 3d animation program used to make photo-realistic or
cartoon animations, or just pretty pictures. But it also includes a
vertex modeller which is more than sufficient for doing CAD design.
The only issue is that there is a quite steep learning curve to it. I
personally model with Cararra, because I'm used to the interface, but
from what I've heard, Hex is even better, and is likely easier to
learn. (There's a learning curve to both of course). Here's some
preliminary designs of a table I designed with Carrara (it was REALLY
helpful for this project -- for planning the length and dimentions of
the legs, slides etc. My first few models ended up having pieces
colide with each other when the table folded/unfolded, but after a few
adjustments I got a working model and I was able to take my
measurements directly from the program).
Note: My final table design is actually a bit different than the
picture -- I reduced it to having a single gear, and reduced the
number of pieces significantly. I also got VectorStyle Plug in since
then, and can publish much nicer diagrams, but I'm at work, and my
files are at home, so I can't post anything except what's already on
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