Google Sketchup - Come Along for the Ride #1: The Beginning

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Blog entry by Betsy posted 07-17-2008 02:55 PM 3083 reads 11 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Google Sketchup - Come Along for the Ride series Part 2: In the beginning..... »

So you asked for it, so here it is—- a blog about Sketchup. Now the first thing you have to know is that I’m a complete novice and so this journey we are taking will be interesting. I’m looking forward to the challenge of bringing Sketchup to life for you and me! The other thing is that until Saturday I’m not going to be able to do much. My home internet is down until then when the repair guy comes, so I’m doing a little bit from work before the work day starts and maybe a bit at lunch time. Also know that I’m pretty much typing left handed until after my surgery, so if you see a typo, please forgive me. Fortunately I type for a living and my left hand knows where all the keys are!

First things first. You can download Google Sketchup (for free) at There is the free program and the Pro program. Definitely get the free one!

Having a mouse with a wheel helps a lot, but the program is also easy for us laptop folks. But if you use a mouse – try getting one with a wheel. (Although I think most new computers come with a mouse wit a wheel.)

Well – I need to get to work – a girls got to make a living.

I hope this blog will be enjoyable for you. I’m sur I’ll learn alot as I’ve always said – the best way to learn somethin is to teach it to someone else.


-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

11 comments so far

View Greg Wurst's profile

Greg Wurst

794 posts in 3826 days

#1 posted 07-17-2008 02:59 PM

I’d have to say a mouse with a wheel is almost essential. I’ve used Sketchup on the laptop occasionally and it is very frustrating without the wheel to move the drawing around.

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.

View lew's profile


12052 posts in 3749 days

#2 posted 07-17-2008 03:05 PM

You are my hero!!!!!!!!!!!!

Can’t wait to get started learning!!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View gizmodyne's profile


1779 posts in 4084 days

#3 posted 07-17-2008 04:50 PM

Great start. On some trackpads you can duplicate the mouse wheel zoom features by “pinching”. Works on macs for sure.

Pinching means two fingers on the pads with one held down and one moving in a pinching movement.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 3951 days

#4 posted 07-17-2008 07:35 PM

Ya, a mouse with a scroll wheel is pretty essential. I use a Space Navigator with my mouse. The navigator is handy for making big moves in large drawings and if you want to do multiple things like click and drag with the mouse and pan the drawing at the same time. They are relatively cheap, and easy to use once you get used to them.


View Callum Kendall's profile

Callum Kendall

1918 posts in 3697 days

#5 posted 07-17-2008 08:16 PM

I am also new to sketch up, maybe I could learn somthing :)

Thanks for the post


-- For wood working podcasts with a twist check out

View ryno101's profile


388 posts in 3658 days

#6 posted 07-17-2008 09:35 PM

I’ve been using Sketchup for about 2 or so years now… designed a 36×16 foot deck for my sister that we ended up building almost exactly to the drawing, and I am using it now to design several projects I’m currently working on. I’ve learned along the way, and know there are things that it can do that I’m not even aware of… I find that one of the greatest benefits of using Sketchup is that it forces you to make decisions about HOW things go together that are almost impossible to understand if, like me, you need to visualize something before you get it.

I’m looking forward to following this!

-- Ryno

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3868 days

#7 posted 07-17-2008 09:45 PM

I have finally got a little bit of a handle on SketchUp. Enough to design a couple of things I am going to build. I am sure I will learn more from this exercise. Thanks Betsy. Good luck with the surgery.

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3933 days

#8 posted 07-17-2008 10:01 PM

Good choice Betsy. I’m counting on you to teach me how to use Sketchup. But, don’t worry, no pressure.


-- Working at Woodworking

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3238 posts in 3706 days

#9 posted 07-18-2008 04:52 AM


This is exactly what I’ve been wanting. I’m hoping your tutorial will be written and not video since my dial-up is too slow to download video (and still have time left to get anything done).

I have a couple questions already. I haven’t been able to figure out how to cut a rosette with SketchUp. (I’m talking about a rosette drill-pressed into a corner block (about 3” square) used on miterless moldings around windows and doors.) I’ve tried several approaches but just can’t seem to execute it successfully. Can you shed some light? Another application I haven’t been able to duplicate exactly is a stopped flute that actually has the curved shape that the router leaves at the stop. I know they aren’t all that important to the overall design sketch, but there must be a way to achieve them, and it’s driving me crazy trying to figure it out. If you, or another LumberJock, can give me some pointers, I’d be grateful.

I wish you success with your blog. I’ll be following it. Thanks.

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Zuki's profile


1404 posts in 4071 days

#10 posted 07-20-2008 01:43 AM

View PASs's profile


595 posts in 3092 days

#11 posted 12-03-2009 08:17 PM

Haven’t read through the whole post but have to say after 10+ years of using different CAD programs to try to design projects Sketchup is by far the nicest, easiest, and free-est in the family.
Making standard components has helped me speed things up, although once you get the hang of it you can make a no frills component faster than you can type ‘draw rectangle, enter dimensions, select face, push, enter push length.) I have a series of standard components drawings that I open for differenct projects, then ‘save as’ with the project name, and start modifying those components for the project at hand.
Can’t wait to wade through this string tonight.

-- Pete, "It isn't broken, you just aren't using it right."

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