Google SketchUp, Anyone Using it...

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Forum topic by iamwelty posted 12-12-2009 04:33 PM 2488 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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259 posts in 3142 days

12-12-2009 04:33 PM

Just found out about Google Sketchup… Downloaded it and have been playing around with it… Is it worth learning how to use it for basic cabinet and project designing … seems really neat, but then a pencil and a sheet a graph paper is much faster… but then, I am not familiar with all the options and tools for the program. Basically, what I’m saying is it worth the investment in time to get to get accomplished with the program. I do not do a ton of projects, but it’s growing…

-- There is a fine line between eroticism and nausea...

12 replies so far

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 3170 days

#1 posted 12-12-2009 04:37 PM

Just learning myself, but some of the things I have seen people do on here are amazing.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View lew's profile


12102 posts in 3782 days

#2 posted 12-12-2009 05:08 PM

Check out DaveR. He is the LJ Guru on Sketchup!!

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

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3584 days

#3 posted 12-12-2009 05:12 PM

It has a learning curve, but then again, if you spend time with it it is well worth it.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View rhett's profile


742 posts in 3694 days

#4 posted 12-12-2009 05:30 PM

I prefer the pencil and paper approach. I get enough staring at a computer screen from LJ’s, but you can do alot of cool stuff with sketch-up. From the a business stand point I have found people like to see a real sketch of what you will be making for them. Drawing well with a pencil takes a fair amount of skill, so its like a little taste of what they will be getting. It takes a little more time, but that is time spend thinking through how things will be made. Besides, the time you spend trying to use a program to plot out a woodworking joint is time you could be spending actually making one. Guess I’m old school, but making quality solid wood anything is old school.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View davidpettinger's profile


661 posts in 3227 days

#5 posted 12-12-2009 05:45 PM

Hey DaveR, I finally got the bugs worked out of my laptop and have started learning to use sketchup. I have looked at a few of the tutorials and think that I have an understanding of the basics. Once you understand to operate in complete reverse to what you are used to, its not so bad. Like you said, it has a learning curve but so does everything else in life. Bye -bye paper and pencil.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3848 days

#6 posted 12-12-2009 05:49 PM

I will say that the program has made a marked difference in my ability to plan and design cabinetry. Like you, I do not turn out of lot of projects but I find using Sketchup to “build” the project before actually starting to cut lumber has helped me to avoid problems that I would not have envisioned just using a rough sketch. And I really enjoy seeing the project in 3D which is something that I can’t do on paper. For me, at least, it had ( acutally has is probably a better term) a fairly steep learning curve but with practice and Dave's comments, suggestions and help I have gotten to the point where I can design a cabinet and present it to “The Boss” for approval (and she does tend to be fairly picky and detail oriented). :)

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Alonso's profile


949 posts in 3265 days

#7 posted 12-12-2009 07:16 PM

I’ve been using Sketchup for a few months, since I saw Dave’s amazing work, since then he’s giving me a few “tips” how to improve my skills, like the other day, I didn’t had a clue how to draw simulated threads, after his advice I was able to come up with this

He also has an article on Fine Woodworking where he talks about making dovetails with the help of a plugin, trust me this dovetails are the fastest and more accurate I had ever done :)

I do like sketchup a lot and I do respect a lot anyone who use paper and pencil, but theres just some things that you can’t do on paper but will be able to accomplish easily on sketchup, like Dave said, it only takes a couple of seconds to have an accurate qty of board feet for any given project using cutlist, (again thanks Dave for that one too).


-- The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me.

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3200 days

#8 posted 12-12-2009 07:29 PM

I’m at the very bottom (below sea level) of the learning curve, but am intent on learning how to use it.

While I didn’t give DaveR a chance to show me how good he is, he has surely shown me how generous he is with his time, by offering to help me.

But … since I now know less than nothing, I found a used copy of “Sketchup For Dummies” online for about four or five bucks, shipped. I’m waiting for it :-)

I’ve already found out how excellent and useful Sketchup will be for me.

Since my wife likes the night stands I’m starting on, how great would it be to be able to do just what DaveR did, and scale them up for dressers? Then … using the cut list plug in gives you your materials-needed list AND how to most efficiently cut the needed bits from the stock??

I want in!!! It may cost me some Tylenol and a few more gray hairs, but …. I’ll get there!

-- -- Neil

View GFYS's profile


711 posts in 3497 days

#9 posted 12-12-2009 07:48 PM

We understand rhett, it’s ok.

I have found that people love the fact that you can email a set of plans in pdf format a thousand miles that can be zoomed to view it easier…and in 3D format!...for $0.00 postage…instantly. I bet there are people that prefer snail mail.

I have found that storage of plans to previous projects with matching photos of completed projects sells jobs and makes a presentation with which no pencil/ink drawing can possibly compete. (also easily delivered in several electronic formats)

I have found that 1 million plans drawn in SU can be stored the space required for a single rolled up pencil sketch in a tube and is reproducable, transferable and editable. If that isn’t small enough you can compress the files even smaller and carry your entire portfolio on your key chain. Don’t worry about losing it…it’s a COPY!

I have found that accurate SU 3D images drawn to full scale contains all the dimensions and geometry one would ever possibly require to construct the project even though they aren’t actually visible until you need them.

I have found that in the time it takes to formulate the protests commonly used to justify the lack of desire to learn a better, more efficient means to create accurate representations of ideas capable of real time collaboration between people that don’t even speak the same language, some one on this very web forum can help you get a grasp of that user interface that is so easy a frikin cave man could do it.

Oh and btw…remember those dremel like eraser machines that were all the rage in drafting offices back in the day? SU doesn’t need them…the eraser comes included with the FREE VERSION….along with the calculator, scale, triangle, T-square, reference manual, data logger, detail database, font reference, materials reference and hundreds of associated web pages of support, documents and plugins to add to the functionality of the program.

...and even if you discount the above plethora of reasons to use this method of producing documention and images of your projects remember…not a single tree was harmed in the production of an SU plan. You don’t even need an icky printer!

Think of the CHILDREN! :)

View rhett's profile


742 posts in 3694 days

#10 posted 12-12-2009 08:49 PM

Hey, I never said SU wasn’t an excellent tool to use, or that it hasn’t revolutionize how drawings can be made. I prefer not to spend my time learning how to use computer programs. Yes there are a million reasons to draw in sketch-up. The reasons I donot are mostly philosophical. It might help for insight purposes to tell everyone I also don’t own a cellphone.

No prints can come from fingers, when machines become our hands.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View rhett's profile


742 posts in 3694 days

#11 posted 12-12-2009 09:32 PM

Dave, I’m not completely neanderthal, I am on a computer chatting with you. I hand draw all my pieces mainly because I like to draw. I don’t try to jazz up my presentations with multiple views of the same thing to try and win bids for woodworking jobs. While I can see where the ability to alter a design without an eraser and redraw is ideal, 95% of the people I deal with are already decided in purchasing a piece from me. They usually let me run. Yeah a CNC would cut wood better than I do also, but that too is seperating the craftsman from the craft. I don’t advertise and don’t get in a hurry. Just basic solid honest woodwork and craftsmanship. As far as understanding my approach, keep it real and keep it simple. Yes I use powertools and I hope to get indoor plumbing soon. =)
As far as the cellphone thing, I don’t feel people should always be at the beck and call of others. Not to mention the fact we are just now beginning to see the long term negative efffects of cellphone use.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View iamwelty's profile


259 posts in 3142 days

#12 posted 12-13-2009 01:23 AM

Thanks for all the replies… OK, I’m convinced that this is going to definately be worth my time… I can see other applications that I can use the program on, not project related. I have already learned something… didn’t know there was a “cut list plug in” feature. I’ll definately have to check that out. I also appreciate the “SketchUp For Dummy’s” Sounds like something that was written with me in mind. Thanks Everyone… feel free to deposit your wisdom with me… I am a blank slate.

-- There is a fine line between eroticism and nausea...

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