sketch up

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I have been playing around with the free version of sketch-up and i cant seem to find it any more efficient than drawing by hand. Everyone keeps saying just keep playing with it but it seems like the learining curve must be pretty steep. I love the fact that i could keep files on pieces ive built for future reference and for repeatibility. And what about materials lists? Im just ranting and maybee i should just work at it some more.

Are there any other free versions of drawing programs out there? Thanks guys,

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First, I would recommend checking out some of the SketchUp tutorials available out there. SketchUpForWoodworkers.com has some free videos and of course there are some new paid courses by Bob Lang that you can check out.

But aside from that, you're not alone in thinking that sketching by hand is still worthwhile. After mentally battling with SketchUp and its role in my project planning, I have come to a compromise. I only use SketchUp for figuring out things that are going to be difficult to resolve on paper. Things like proportions and joinery details. Stuff that would have to draw to scale on paper if I were to get the answers I want. I find SketchUp invaluable for those tasks. But to create a project from start to finish in SketchUp, at least for me, is a bit of a waste of time. But I can see why some folks do it. Guess it just depends on how you work. So don't bang your head against the wall. But I would try a few tutorials before moving on.

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Jimmy, as Marc said, don't bang your head against the wall, look at some tutorials or take advantage of the free, personalized instruction available here. The Design. Click. Build. blog has some good stuff.

take a look at the video here for an example of efficient drawing in SketchUp. There's another video here.

You can make cut lists and material lists if you want from your SketchUp models to aid in your work in the shop.

Not only are there strategies for drawing efficiently like using components which can be copied as needed (you don't draw all four table legs as you would have to in a pencil and paper drawing) you can save components for future use so you don't have to draw them the next time you need them. Editing drawings in SketchUp to make changes to the project are easier than doing it on paper. You don't need to spend a lot of time doing the math to figure out the dimensions of the various parts because you can get the program to tell you that automatically.

Wow! I've got a LOT to learn!!! Very cool video, but he's moving so fast I get lost.

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i find it very quick and easy, and im stupid. like marc said sketchup for woodworkers has some great tutorials. i learned a lot there.

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Vic, that 'he' is me. The video of the fern stand wasn't really meant as a basic tutorial but rather as an illustration of the work flow I use when drawing a project in SketchUp. I've done other videos showing the use of the fundamental tools in SketchUp such as the Move and Rotate tools.

One key thing that Tim Killen and I both practice and advocate, and I show in the fern stand video, is the use of components and building models in situ. Some folks teaching SketchUp recommend drawing components and then moving them around to assemble the model. That sort of workflow, though is extremely inefficient and makes it more likely you'll have errors in your model.

Learn to navigate smoothly around the model space using the wheel/center mouse button and the Shift key. Look at my videos showing the Move and Rotate tools and get familiar with them. The rest will come fairly easily.

Vic,drop me a PM if you'd like to talk about personalized instruction.

Dave

I might ask you for that after I get through Bob's DVD. I can definitely see the value in being proficient in Sketch up.

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I have been playing around with the free version of sketch-up and i cant seem to find it any more efficient than drawing by hand. Everyone keeps saying just keep playing with it but it seems like the learining curve must be pretty steep. I love the fact that i could keep files on pieces ive built for future reference and for repeatibility. And what about materials lists? Im just ranting and maybee i should just work at it some more.

Are there any other free versions of drawing programs out there? Thanks guys,

The real value to me in SketchUp is twofold; it makes planning far more accurate than drawing separate views or sketching by hand, and once you get the hang of it, it is far faster than other programs of methods. I'd rather be in the shop making stuff than sitting around planning and SketchUp gives me more time in the shop, and it equips me with all the details of all the parts. This makes my shop time far more pleasant and enjoyable. In addition, making changes or comparing different versions of a project can be done very quickly, if you know how.

If you're finding it slower than drawing, or a frustrating struggle, you could use some help. It's supposed to be fast and easy. In preparing my book and videos, I identified common things people struggle with, and came up with solutions to those struggles. SketchUp isn't particularly difficult, but it is different. To become adept at using it you need to learn its language, get used to some hand/eye coordination quirks, and avoid methods from hand drawing and other CAD programs that will only slow you down. You'll need to get in some practice time, and to make the most of that time you need to practice things that work and make you efficient. People tell me that I've done a pretty good job of putting together an effective program for the average woodworker to get up to speed.

Bob Lang

craftmanplans.com

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...it makes planning far more accurate than drawing separate views or sketching by hand, and once you get the hang of it, it is far faster than other programs of methods... In addition, making changes or comparing different versions of a project can be done very quickly, if you know how.

Amen to that!

To become adept at using it (SketchUp) you need to learn its language, get used to some hand/eye coordination quirks, and avoid methods from hand drawing and other CAD programs that will only slow you down. You'll need to get in some practice time...

There is a saying - to be a pro at anything, you have to do it for 1000 hours. Now, I'm not saying go spend the next 1000 hours practicing SketchUp, but my point is that people should not expect to master SketchUp in the first couple of sessions of them using it. SketchUp is like any other tool in the shop, it takes getting familiar with, trying it out, practicing it, figuring out how to best use it for yourself, and only then after some more practice will it become a most valuable tool - and it will!

practice, practice, practice.

And there are lots of folks here that can help with any bump along the way - gladly.

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Practice is essential, but it is easy to get sidetracked and practice inefficient techniques. That will only slow you down by reinforcing your own bad habits, or the convoluted techniques of whoever you're learning from. Most of the people I have taught struggle because they are trying to make a drawing. The light bulb goes off when they realize the process is more like going out to the shop, sticking hunks of wood together and seeing what it looks like. In SketchUp you can copy, shrink and stretch those hunks of wood in very little time. Here is something I think is helpful for beginners to practice on.

Bob Lang

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Practice is essential, but it is easy to get sidetracked and practice inefficient techniques. That will only slow you down by reinforcing your own bad habits, or the convoluted techniques of whoever you're learning from. Most of the people I have taught struggle because they are trying to make a drawing. The light bulb goes off when they realize the process is more like going out to the shop, sticking hunks of wood together and seeing what it looks like. In SketchUp you can copy, shrink and stretch those hunks of wood in very little time. Here is something I think is helpful for beginners to practice on.

Bob Lang

true.

nice challenge! (1:20)

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Nicole's out of town and I am waiting for glue to dry in the shop. I think its time to catch up on my SketchUp tutorials. I have Bob's DVD and I think I'll download the SketchUp videos on the Pop. Woodworking Bookstore as well. Let's get it on!!

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Nicole's out of town and I am waiting for glue to dry in the shop. I think its time to catch up on my SketchUp tutorials. I have Bob's DVD and I think I'll download the SketchUp videos on the Pop. Woodworking Bookstore as well. Let's get it on!!

Boy Marc, you sure party hard when the wife is gone. Look out!

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Well, I will be having a coffee and a chocolate chip cookie as well, so that's kind of risque, no?

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I spent about 20 hours learning the basics sketch up 6 months ago but unfortunately I did not continue learning and using it.

That only saying, use it or lose it, came back to bite me.

Ouch!

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so how does this program measure up to autocad? i currently use autodesk autocad 2011. downloaded sketch up because i was under the impression that there were templates and some easier pre-drawn items.

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so how does this program measure up to autocad? i currently use autodesk autocad 2011. downloaded sketch up because i was under the impression that there were templates and some easier pre-drawn items.

As it's name suggests - it's a Sketch app compared to ACAD. it does not contain the high level of detail ACAD creates for exporting, but it's good enough for many uses.

As for templates and pre-drawn items - there is a VAST library of pre drawn elements and templates on 3dwarehouse: http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse you can freely search and download models/parts/elements to use in your own models and drawings.

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I have been playing around with the free version of sketch-up and i cant seem to find it any more efficient than drawing by hand. Everyone keeps saying just keep playing with it but it seems like the learining curve must be pretty steep. I love the fact that i could keep files on pieces ive built for future reference and for repeatibility. And what about materials lists? Im just ranting and maybee i should just work at it some more.

Are there any other free versions of drawing programs out there? Thanks guys,

jimmy: I've been using sketchup for 2 or 3 years for woodworking designs, it is a great piece of software. All of the people on this page are very efficient and knowledgeable on the use of SU. I think I have had converstations with all of them over the years and they have always helped me through my problems. There is lots on support - so keep trying. Bruce

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I have been playing around with the free version of sketch-up and i cant seem to find it any more efficient than drawing by hand. Everyone keeps saying just keep playing with it but it seems like the learining curve must be pretty steep. I love the fact that i could keep files on pieces ive built for future reference and for repeatibility. And what about materials lists? Im just ranting and maybee i should just work at it some more.

Are there any other free versions of drawing programs out there? Thanks guys,

Same here. I can make all kinds of things in AutoCAD but I'd rather use paper than use Sketchup. For me, it just isn't intuitive. In AutoCAD I just click a point and type in a distance like 48" and the line goes there. Maybe I'm just retarded but it doesn't seem that easy in Sketchup. I keep loading it, telling myself I'm going to learn it... watch the tutorials... uninstall it...

Only reason I'm looking in this forum currently is because I loaded v.8 and I don't see any difference compared the old version. It annoys me the same... but, I'm still trying to learn it.... again.... :)

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so how does this program measure up to autocad? i currently use autodesk autocad 2011. downloaded sketch up because i was under the impression that there were templates and some easier pre-drawn items.

I come from an AutoCAD background (my company deals with architects and engineers all day) and I am trying to learn/like Sketchup but its no AutoCAD, thats for sure.

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In AutoCAD I just click a point and type in a distance like 48" and the line goes there.

SketchUp does the same, click, type 48 for distance, click ENTER, and you have a 48" line.

I loaded v.8 and I don't see any difference compared the old version.

It's the same app, same engine, same baseline, just added some convenience features, not a revamp of the user interface.

No, it's not AutoCAD, and it seems like ACAD users are having the most trouble getting into sketchup. It's not intuitive like other modeling apps - I'll agree with that but once you figure it out - it becomes much more handy than any other (at least to me) in most cases.

Feel free to post issues, or things you are having trouble with on the forum, and you may get some pretty easy solutions. knowledge is power.

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SketchUp does the same, click, type 48 for distance, click ENTER, and you have a 48" line.

It's the same app, same engine, same baseline, just added some convenience features, not a revamp of the user interface.

No, it's not AutoCAD, and it seems like ACAD users are having the most trouble getting into sketchup. It's not intuitive like other modeling apps - I'll agree with that but once you figure it out - it becomes much more handy than any other (at least to me) in most cases.

Feel free to post issues, or things you are having trouble with on the forum, and you may get some pretty easy solutions. knowledge is power.

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Have not used AutoCad, but have gotten pretty good with Sketchup thans to Dave, Tim, Adrin & Go-to-School. If a disabled Vet with half a brain (left side is gone) then I would think a person that cane run AutCad should be able to learn Sketchup. Off my soap box. Do have a question or problem, maybe some can help. Have two computers for my use. Both are the same. One works normal now while the other one has two cursers for all the tools. Pencil, push/pull, move/copy, etc. Do not know how to get back to one curser. Emailed Sketchup & got stock (Machine) answer. Video card. Both have the same guts. Both worked when State had XP. Now Windows 7.1. One works the way it should, but the other has double vision. Help please any one. Mother said she raised a fool, not a dummy. She may have been wrong.

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... One works normal now while the other one has two cursers for all the tools. Pencil, push/pull, move/copy, etc. Do not know how to get back to one curser. Emailed Sketchup & got stock (Machine) answer. Video card. Both have the same guts. Both worked when State had XP. Now Windows 7.1. One works the way it should, but the other has double vision.

TH, haven't seen that one before - with two cursors. Does it only happen in SketchUp or will it happen with the cursor in all programs? My thought is that it might be a general windows setting, not a SketchUp thing. You might start by playing around with your mouse settings in the Windows Control panel - there is an option that displays "pointer trails" which could cause what you are seeing. If it is this, you should see the "other" mouse cursor trailing behind the main one, and catch up when you stop moving for a second.

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