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SketchUp or Hand sketching ?

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Forum topic by maraziukas posted 12-12-2016 08:35 PM 771 views 2 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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maraziukas

71 posts in 3118 days


12-12-2016 08:35 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hey fellows.I am a fulltime experienced woodworker with basic SketchUp skills wondering which way to choose going forward Sketchup or hand sketching. What questions would you suggest I raise to myself to make a proper decision?

-- Maraziukas, Lithuania, https://www.marius.morazas.com


19 replies so far

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Rich

1981 posts in 427 days


#1 posted 12-12-2016 08:57 PM

Like Robert Lang says, SketchUp allows you build your project on screen before you build it in the shop. You’ll still be susceptible to mental lapses doing hand drawings, but SketchUp is precise. You’ll see things like tenons in legs that butt into each other visually using the X-ray view. You can also make a copy of your completed project, explode it, and take dimensioned drawings of every component into the shop to work from.

I found Robert Lang’s videos on the Popular Woodworking video site to be the most informative, and they got me going quickly to do some very cool tricks like using a tenon to automatically create the mortise in the mating piece, rather than drawing both manually, and using photos of router bit profiles to create profiles in SketchUp that you can add to your component.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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brtech

1006 posts in 2760 days


#2 posted 12-12-2016 09:17 PM

I find that for any complex project, investing the time in a Sketchup model pays many dividends when I build it. But if I’m doing something simple (I’m building a stand for a lathe at the moment), it’s not worth the time.

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Lazyman

1504 posts in 1225 days


#3 posted 12-12-2016 09:40 PM

As a hobby woodworker I find that Sketchup allows me to visualize better and I can check dimension more accurately for complex designs. It is much easier for me to ensure that everything will fit and work together in Sketchup. I even use it for simple designs, probably because my drawing skills are not great. After the design is complete, I also use it to generate cut lists and I also spend time laying pieces out on the lumber and plywood to make efficient use of materials. All of this leads to fewer mistakes.

BTW, Mattias Wandel (woodgears.ca) has some good YouTube videos that may help you better understand how to use Sketchup. They help me come up the learning curve and overcome some of the frustration associated with using Sketchup.

Also, there is a pretty nice free add-on that you can download from the Sketchup website call “cut list” that will even print a cut list with dimensions that is a nice check list for how many of each component you need and even how many board feet are required. It will even lay it out on your lumber if you take some time to set that up during the design process.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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JayT

5455 posts in 2049 days


#4 posted 12-12-2016 09:45 PM

Sketchup for all the reasons above.

Proportions and measurements can be made exact in the same amount of time as it takes to get “good enough”. Not the case doing it by hand—exact takes more time and effort.

The more you use Sketchup, the more you will realize it is capable of and you will find faster and easier ways to do what you want it to do.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

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maraziukas

71 posts in 3118 days


#5 posted 12-12-2016 09:46 PM

I some how find that using SketchUp if I need to make some slight changes in prior steps in a project it is a real time waste, cause you acctualy change the whole project from the beggining. Thats why I feel like learning hand sketcing to create final design by hand before using SketchUp .

-- Maraziukas, Lithuania, https://www.marius.morazas.com

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JayT

5455 posts in 2049 days


#6 posted 12-12-2016 09:55 PM

Making slight changes should be and is one of the strong points of Sketchup. You can make the change and everything else will adjust accordingly instead of erasing and re-drawing multiple times. Maybe I’m not following what you mean about changing the whole project. It might just be a matter of learning how to utilize the program better.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

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maraziukas

71 posts in 3118 days


#7 posted 12-12-2016 10:09 PM

Your point might be just the answer I needed – realising the lack of skills. The problem is that I dont use componens at all. Again because of the lack of skills

-- Maraziukas, Lithuania, https://www.marius.morazas.com

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JayT

5455 posts in 2049 days


#8 posted 12-12-2016 10:45 PM

Components make life so much easier. Definitely learn to use them. Anytime you have a part or piece that will have several all the same (like four table legs) then a component is the way to go. It allows you to make an adjustment or change to one and all of the identical pieces change, too.

Make each piece of a project its own component and it’s also a lot easier to manipulate them. One common problem/mistake I see new Sketchup users make is to draw several pieces all at once without using components or groups and then they can’t figure out how to move one without distorting the whole drawing because any shared edge tries to stay attached to both pieces. Using components or groups allows each piece to remain separate. Draw one part, make it a component. Draw the next part, make it a component. Once you have that done for all the parts, then you can put them together and adjust each component as needed.

With Sketchup, I found the best way for me to learn was to start with some very simple shapes and projects. From there, I started drawing things I’d already built. Only after that did I start trying to draw things I wanted to build. That way I only had to think about one thing at a time. For the simple pieces, it was thinking about the basics of Sketchup. Once those were learned, the already built projects allowed me to move on to learning how to do other tasks with the program. When I finally started drawing new ideas, I was able to concentrate on the project, because the basic Sketchup skills were very familiar by that time.

Don’t know if that path would work for you, but might be worth a shot. Another of the common issues I see with someone new to Sketchup is that they try to draw something pretty complicated right off the bat instead of starting with simple. Just like woodworking, the simple and basic skills must be learned before trying to build something harder.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

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hotbyte

989 posts in 2813 days


#9 posted 12-12-2016 11:02 PM

Yes… ;-)

I really like the Wudworx extension for Sketchup. It lets you draw boards that are automatically turned into components. It also will “cut” basic joinery into your boards.

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jbay

1857 posts in 737 days


#10 posted 12-12-2016 11:03 PM

Using components will open up a whole new world in sketchup for you.
It only takes a second to turn a piece into a component, then once it is, nothing sticks to each other and they are very easy to manipulate for making changes.

Make a drawing turning every piece into a component then try changing it.
Plus when you make something into a component you can copy it however many times you need to and if you have to change it, it will change all of them at the same time.

Keep at it and ask questions and the more you get it the more you will like it.

-- If anyone would like to see my Portfolio, PM me and I would be glad to send you the link.

View Lazyman's profile (online now)

Lazyman

1504 posts in 1225 days


#11 posted 12-12-2016 11:26 PM

I agree 100% with jbay’s advice. Make everything a component. Makes it possible to move things around and you will ultimately do a lot less drawing by reusing components throughout the design. Even if a piece is only similar, you can make a copy of it, make it unique and modify it without affecting the original components. You can also make a component that is made of other components. For example if you make the components of a drawer, (front, back, sides and bottom) you can join them into a drawer component and then move them around or copy them with ease. You can use groups as well but copies of groups are not modified when you change one.

Another handy tip with components is the flip on axis. For example the right side of a drawer may be exactly the same as the left side but reversed. If you draw the right side, make it a component, make a copy and flip on the correct axis, it will create a reversed copy of it. If you decide you need to make a change to it later, the change will be reflected in all copies of it, even the ones that are flipped.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Logan Windram's profile

Logan Windram

341 posts in 2299 days


#12 posted 12-12-2016 11:49 PM

I’m probably in the minority here, but a detailed shop drawing is what I prefer. I like rendering in a computer based program, but I can draw much faster than I can do things in sketch-up, and I find I am better able to think through construction when I have a t-square and the project laid out in front of me.

View Loren's profile

Loren

9630 posts in 3485 days


#13 posted 12-13-2016 12:25 AM

If you roll up your sleeves and apply yourself
you’ll find it’s not difficult to draw casework
in Sketchup.

In designing seating for, example… I dunno.
I’ve tried to draw chairs a few times in Sketchup
and, well, I should practice more before I dismiss
it as a chair design tool. It’s pretty awesome and
fast once you get used to using it for the range
of things you know how to do with it. There’s
a lot I can’t make it do that I know it can do,
efficiently.

I’d say if you’re going to make a commitment to
doing a substantial amount of design drawing,
draw some cabinets up in Sketchup, a table
or two, etc.. and if you still don’t like it,
don’t use it.

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jbay

1857 posts in 737 days


#14 posted 12-13-2016 12:51 AM

Here is a pretty good example of how a sketchup drawing is better than a hand drawing.
Draw the desk using sketchup. You draw every part so you learn how everything is going to mesh and fit together before you start building.

Then explode the drawing so that you can zoom in or view every single part as you wish and put measurements to every single part so that you can take each pc to the shop and build.

I can print each piece out for shop drawings. As many different views of each piece as I want. Gives you a full understanding of every detail.

Now all you do is put all the pieces parts together and everything goes together just like the drawing.

The ability to look at every single angle of every part is totally unrealistic to try to do drawing by hand. Plus if your working with clients it gives the client 100% confidence that you are building what they want and if there is anything they don’t like you can change it, most of the time right in front of them ….opposed to going home and re-drawing everything. (By Hand)

-- If anyone would like to see my Portfolio, PM me and I would be glad to send you the link.

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maraziukas

71 posts in 3118 days


#15 posted 12-13-2016 08:09 AM

Thanks guys for your time to help me with my decision. It did help. I see that I definately need to develope both skills. Sketch Up is great for cabinetry and as the majority of my projects are of this type, I need to learn SketchUp better right now. But I still love the idea of being able to quickly draw some professional sketches right on the spot meeting my clients, as well as finding new shapes for my own portfolio. And for me – hand sketcing is more pleasant, more attractive, more creative and artistic way of visualing my ideas? So now it’s time to find the best teachers. Apprentice is ready :)

-- Maraziukas, Lithuania, https://www.marius.morazas.com

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