erikreagan

When and why do *you* use sketchup?

29 posts in this topic

I noticed a number of woodworkers talking about SketchUp, so I downloaded it a few days ago to check it out. I'm working on a train table for my son and figured I could pseudo-design the table and some options in SketchUp before landing on a final path forward.

As a newbie to the craft, I haven't built much of anything yet so I don't have projects behind me where I didn't check out SketchUp. But I know it's only been around for a handful of years while woodworking has been around for, well, millennia. So my question is this:

When and how do you choose to use SketchUp?

For this train table I found it really useful to mock up some ideas digitally to decide on a final path. I stink at sketching on paper so this gave me a lot of confidence before cutting any pieces. Just that was worth the time I spent playing with it. But given I've only spent about 3-4 hours in the application, I'm sure I've hardly scratched the surface of what it can do.

Thanks!

 

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I used it to scale some rafters. I took known measurements and played around with some flat roof angles to make some decisions about material purchase dimensions. I could have with paper and a calculator, but it is easier and faster sometimes to Sketch. 

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I use sketchup for designing and hashing out ideas. It's way easier to digitally erase than paper and pencil. What helps me the most is being able to see how every piece goes together. It's fun to just build on the fly but some things need a plan. Sketchup is awesome.

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I use it when I need a quick and dirty drawing to get an idea out of my head. Clients like to see something to let them know you understand what they want.

There are other programs that are much better for this purpose, but Sketchup has the market by the short and curlies. 

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Like Mel, I use Sketchup to get the ideas out of my head and on to paper - or a screen..  There's a lot of details that I tend to leave out of my drawings as I tend to change my mind a lot when I'm working in the shop.  So, the drawings just help me to stay focused on what I envisioned the end product would look like.

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I only use it when I don't know exactly what I want. Let's me change things any number of times with ease.

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I love using it. Mainly because it keeps track of the math much better than I do.

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For quick ideas, I follow Coop's method (except I like engineering graph paper). About the only time I use Sketchup is to work out or verify dimensions within joinery.

And then I go build the thing and dimension it all relatively, anyway.

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6 hours ago, wtnhighlander said:

And then I go build the thing and dimension it all relatively, anyway.

What does this look like practically? Do you cut some key pieces first, then base additional cuts on those initial dimensions as needed?

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I use it to try out design ideas, check scale, dimensions and angles, make parts lists, test more complicated joinery and do quick examples to help me show things on the forum.

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What does this look like practically? Do you cut some key pieces first, then base additional cuts on those initial dimensions as needed?

Yes. For example, a cabinet with dadoed shelves. Cut the sides, top and bottom as required, then mill the dadoes. Use a piece of the shelf material as a sizing gauge to set the dado width. Dry assemble the sides, top and bottom, then use the assembly as a gauge to mark the shelf length directly in the shelf material. Where that isn't practical, use a set of "pinch sticks" to transfer the length from the carcass to the shelf. Wherever possibly, it is generally more reliable to transfer measurements using gauge marks, rather than ruler markings.

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Ive used it to draw up a few projects but i dont use it for everything. Simple projects i dont bother, but i will if its going to be a more complicated piece and i need to see how all the pieces come together. It really helps to see proportions and how joinery is gonna play out on casework especially.

I also like it for unusual designs. If you have an idea but are having trouble visualizing how it, sketchup helps.

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EVERYTHING.

Usually start with sketches but almost immediately move to Sketchup to mess with exact proportions and angles that can only be roughly approximated with my sketching skill.  

Sketchup is also versatile as an architectural design tool (I'm a student).  I use many other programs and could stand to learn a few more, but everything from space planning to rendering starts in Sketchup.

 

 

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I don't use it at all.  Woodworking is my way to relax, and generally speaking, for me, technology works against relaxation.  I can usually build a piece based on a rough sketch, I really don't need a precise plan.   I really dislike using a computer.  

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I use it for everything I design and I find it to be fantastic. I have to say, however, I spent a LOT of time really getting to know it and I find that I now make use of it WAY more quickly than I did at first. There are a lot of tricks to making really effective use of it.

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I only use it so I can see my design in 3D.  Tends to give a better perspective than my 2D CADD program.  Also allows others who can't read drawings to see what the project will look like. For the geomatry and working out the design details I stick with CADD since it is what I have used for many years.

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I used it to layout and map my shop dimensions so I could do some space planning to give me a better idea of how and where to put all my stuff. 

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I only use it on big projects to check proportions and get rough dimensions. 

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I use Sketchup all the time, often just for fun. I'm a bit obsessive and probably won't take on a woodworking project if I haven't already designed the entire thing in Sketchup. Sometimes it all starts with me playing around on Sketchup and then thinking, hey, I could make this from wood.

I redesigned our kitchen in Sketchup. I've modeled our living room in Sketchup and try out colours for painting the walls and placement of artwork on the walls. I've modeled our swimming pool (odd shape) in Sketchup so I can calculate the water volume. I've used that same model to get the dimensions and shape for a tarp that covers the pool.

But lots of times I use Sketchup purely to "build" something that I know I won't have the time, tools or motivation to "build" in real life. I really get a kick out of labouring over pieces of wood and shaping them into a table or a chest. But I also somehow get a kick out of messing around on my computer and "building" something that will only live in electronic space.

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4 hours ago, Dewald Swanepoel said:

redesigned our kitchen in Sketchup. I've modeled our living room in Sketchup and try out colours for painting the walls and placement of artwork on the walls

Five years ago I redesigned my kitchen. I tried with Sketchup at first, but ended up buying Live Interior 3D Pro for my Mac. Found it to be a lot easier to use because if has features like floor plant view and comes with an extensive library of furniture and materials. And it can also import Sketchup models right from the 3D warehouse.

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2 hours ago, Immortan D said:

Five years ago I redesigned my kitchen. I tried with Sketchup at first, but ended up buying Live Interior 3D Pro for my Mac. Found it to be a lot easier to use because if has features like floor plant view

AS DOES SKETCHUP

and comes with an extensive library of furniture and materials.

AS DOES SKETCHUP (although for the furniture, you have to find libraries of it on the internet)

And it can also import Sketchup models right from the 3D warehouse.

I think you may have overlooked some of the features of sketchup

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3 hours ago, phinds said:

I think you may have overlooked some of the features of sketchup

Fitting a door or window takes a lot of steps on sketchup and only a single drag & drop on software like Live Interior 3D. The library that comes with Sketchup is super basic, and like you said, no furniture at all. Having to search for items like kitchen cabinets on the Internet is another waste of time, and most of the time those items are crap (it's a user supported library after all). Rendering videos with multiple cameras, pdfs with floor plan views (including details like door aperture) are only a couple of clicks away on Live Interior 3D, while again, it requires a lot of steps on Sketchup and sometimes even paying for additional plugins. Sketchup doesn't know the difference between a door and pot, has no idea what baseboard or crown moldings are. Interior design apps know the difference and know how to deal with items like those, that's the main reason why everything is so much easier and quicker.

I use Sketchup for woodworking but I wouldn't use it for interior design. It's just not a practical solution, I don't like to waste my time.

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