So many times I see a great SU drawing, but the author totally ignored the idea of file size economy. What am I talking about here? If you plan on sharing your file with someone else, it might be beneficial to both parties to stay cognizant of the size of the file you are creating.
Even though I am getting to the point in SU where it no longer impeeds my progress, I still watch SU tutorials from time to time. Just a few months ago, I came across one that went into a some detail about file size consideration. Unfortunately, for the life of me I cannot recall where I saw it and did not save the link. If you know of that(or another) tutorial that talks about file bloat, I would appreciate you sharing that link so I could review it for myself and pass it on to others.
When building objects, I make every separate piece of wood, a component. Why not a group? Well, when you copy a Group, you are copying each and every line and face that makes up that object. When you copy a component, you are essentially only copying a link to the definition of the object rather than a full copy of that object. The definition is stored in your SU file only once and each copy of that Component points back to the definition to understand how it is built. That ‘pointer’ takes up a whole lot smaller space than the actual definition does.
Another aspect of SU that often contributes to file bloat is curves. Curves are really only a series of straight lines. The default for drawing circles is to make them up with a series of 24 straight lines. You have the option to change that though. When you select the Circle tool, look at the lower right corner of your SU window. See the 24? You can just type 12 and press the Enter key. You have now changed the definition of a circle to only take up 12 line segments rather than the default of 24. Yes, you loose a little bit of resolution and ‘realism’, but how ‘real’ does a hidden hole really need to be in a drawing? Not often in most cases. Take the case below where we draw a caster. The one on the left takes 77kb to draw, whereas the one on the right reduces that to only 33kb:
Once you zoom out to see the whole project, you’ll likely not even notice the resolution difference. To compound that, imagine a Sphere. By default, it is made up of many faces. 288 to be exact. By changing your default circle to just half(12), you reduce the number of faces to a mere 72:
I’m not suggesting that you ALWAYS reduce the resolution, but you can certainly reduce it when it is not needed. After all, the purpose for most of us woodworkers in using SU is to 1) get an idea of an object’s shape and dimensional ratios before we go cutting up possibly expensive lumber, and 2) to have the drawing tell US what the exact dimension of a piece is that we’ve designed.
And as mentioned earlier, using Components rather than Groups, you can further reduce your file sizes. I hope this is helpful to some of you.
-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--