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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
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Mike and others have done plans with Sketch Up. Is it hard to learn and can you do basic cabinet and shelf designs with the free one?

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 10:54 AM
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You can do just about anything you need with the free version, I've been using it for about 13 years. You can learn the basics pretty quickly and then there are a lot of videos out there that will teach you nifty shortcuts and techniques. One of the first things to do is to go into the Preferences settings and change the Drawing Template to "Woodworking".

The real secret to using Sketchup is to make each piece you draw a component. That way if you need 4 shelves that are 3/4" x 11" x 36", you only have to draw one shelf and then add the other three from your component library. That's important because if your design changes and you decide the shelves should only be 34" long, by editing the component all the shelves are automatically changed. The same applies to cabinet sides. Let's say you draw one side of your cabinet and make it a component. You can copy that component, drag it to the other side and flip it for a mirror image. Then if you decide to add a rabbet or dados, you only modify the component and the other side auto updates and matches perfectly.

I find Sketchup very helpful for large projects and it helps me avoid a lot of errors that wouldn't have shown up until assembly.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 12:10 PM
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Yeah, what Oliver said. To take that assembly point even farther - SU allows me to visualize not only the components for their fit but also think through the process of cutting and assembling. It also allows me to think though structural issues for furniture. I can run through building the project virtually. When I hit the shop I pretty much know each step.

Also, I use SU to try different design approaches to get the proportions right. Then I do a walk through/walk around with my wife so she gets input on the project before it gets too far. By getting her invested in the design process, she is much much more supportive of my shop addiction (but I can quit any time...).
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 12:42 PM
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I've used several professional CAD programs, and Sketchup is the easiest to learn by far. I've never needed to do anything the free version won't do. It will almost read your mind.

Start Here:

Watch a while, then draw a while. Soon, you'll be producing masterpieces.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 01:24 PM
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That looks doable. I never had much luck with CAD type program.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 03:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by old coasty View Post
That looks doable. I never had much luck with CAD type program.
This is WAY easier than CAD programs. It's more like working with wood or playing with blocks. Draw a bookcase panel 12" x 36". Use the pull tool to make it 3/4" thick. Then use the ruler tool to mark where your dados go. Use the pencil tool or box tool to draw the dado. Instead of pulling, push the dado faces down into the panel 3/8". Very simple.

I often draw the material to match my board (1 x 4, 1 x2, 2 x 4, etc.) and then use the ruler and protractor to mark my cuts. Draw lines at the cuts and erase the waste. Just like I would in the shop.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonkeyHody View Post
I've used several professional CAD programs, and Sketchup is the easiest to learn by far. I've never needed to do anything the free version won't do. It will almost read your mind.

Start Here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPHc...jG4gwxjxaOmLK5

Watch a while, then draw a while. Soon, you'll be producing masterpieces.
need to down load this and add it to the tool box. thanks for all the info.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 05:43 PM
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Oliver and Phil nailed it, it's free - JUST DO IT! There's some really great videos on youtube, I particularly like Jay Bates' tutorials. They are short lessons targeted to specific features of SU. What's best (for me) about Jay's vids is the fact that he says the shortcut keys for every operation as he does them. That gets a little monotonous at times, but embeds the shortcuts to your long term memory. But don't stop there, lots of other great authors on youtube.

One thing that really upped my game with SU was when I added a SpaceNavigator. It's a 3D mouse that lets you manipulate the 3D image as if you were holding the design in your hand. You can do the same operations using a regular mouse, but it involves multiple short mouse strokes using the middle mouse button and the shift key (MMB = rotate, shiftMMB = pan).
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonkeyHody View Post
I've used several professional CAD programs, and Sketchup is the easiest to learn by far. I've never needed to do anything the free version won't do. It will almost read your mind.

Start Here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPHc...jG4gwxjxaOmLK5

Watch a while, then draw a while. Soon, you'll be producing masterpieces.

That's funny. I was going to suggest that. I just looked it up and was ready to post it. That is how I got started.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-19-2016, 09:43 AM
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Phil can quit anytime? He'll be giving seminars soon! All anonymously, of course.
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