A couple of Sketchup questions.

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Forum topic by teenagewoodworker posted 04-08-2008 03:41 AM 6318 views 1 time favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3763 days

04-08-2008 03:41 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question walnut

the first question i have is how do you get sketchup pictures on Lumberjocks. i have the design elements worked out for my quaker spice box style amoire. the next one is when i start to make face frames it either completes the box for me all around, or doesn’t fill in the face frame. i hate this because i don’t want a full box i want a face frame that is fully colored in. hope that someone can help. if i can find out how to post pictures I’ll post an example.

19 replies so far

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3810 days

#1 posted 04-08-2008 03:58 AM

To put your pictures up on LJ, open your model and arrange it the way you want it to look (rotate zoom etc) then choose file > export > 2D Graphic. You can choose the type of file you want to export, I usually choose JPG. Now upoad the file to your picture host and link the fle in your post.

I am afraid I don’t understand your second question. Can you elaborate?

-- Scott - Chico California

View Woodshopfreak's profile


389 posts in 3737 days

#2 posted 04-08-2008 04:18 AM

I don’t like useing sketchup that much because it has a “mind of it’s own” It likes to complete things and then its really hard to get things right were you want them as well. It is great for something simple but anything more than that I have trouble with, and I am a very Techy kind of person. AKA Loser lol. :)

-- Tyler, Illinois

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 4081 days

#3 posted 04-08-2008 05:18 AM

Practice, practice, practice…’s much cheaper to make your mistakes in sketchup than with wood. Easier to fix too. I understand the problems both you and woodshopfreak are having. The “stickiness” feature of sketchup can be frustrating at 1st and it can be very easy to end up with unintended geometry. The best advice I can give, and I’ve given it time after time, is to watch the tutorials available on the sketchup website. I know you want to jump right in and just start drawing but you WILL save yourself time and frustration by doing so. I’ve been designing with Autocad and many, many other CAD, graphics, and 3D software packages for longer than you guys have been alive (20 years) and I STILL watched the video tutorials when I 1st started using it.

Once you understand how sketchup works it provides absolute accuracy and you can draw anything…and I do mean anything….you can think of but there are no shortcuts for practice.

A few examples:

Future paddleboard

Expansion of a chocollate factory

This ones a movie….a helicopter approach to a private island.

Last springs challenge table Photobucket

And the matching chair (which was actually built)

A concept for renovations to an existing water treatment plant

All of these are drawn exactly to scale. Sketchup allows complete accuracy once you get the hang of it.

So….my challenge to you my young friends is to watch the videos and practice.

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker

View Chris 's profile


1879 posts in 3986 days

#4 posted 04-08-2008 05:22 AM


Thanks for the pep talk… at 42 I’m not that young but Sketchup still frustrates me too.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3763 days

#5 posted 04-08-2008 12:20 PM

thanks bob. when i get home from school thats the first thing i’ll do

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4294 days

#6 posted 04-08-2008 01:12 PM

I get frustrated, & envious, when I look at the terrific drawings Bob does.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 3952 days

#7 posted 04-08-2008 01:31 PM

Well said Bob….lots of practice, and watch and read as many tutorials as you can. If you do a serch on Youtube there are a lot of really good tutorials.


View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4155 days

#8 posted 04-08-2008 01:46 PM

yah, Bob’s work always inspires me to give it one more try and then 10 min into trying I’m so frustrated I quit again… until the next time Bob posts something and then I try again..

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 4109 days

#9 posted 04-08-2008 04:22 PM

I’m quite the techie guy myself and I even had problems getting started with Sketchup. I finally broke down and bought Google SketchUp For Dummies by Aidan Chopra. It gave me what I needed to get going. Aidan has posted quite a few videos out on that go with his book. You can learn a lot from just watching his videos, but the book has a lot of good information too.

Also over at there is a blog on using Sketchup.

View ww_kayak's profile


70 posts in 3719 days

#10 posted 04-08-2008 11:21 PM

I’ll take a stab at what I think you mean:

The best way (for me anyway) is to actually make each part as you would with real wood. That being said, here is a simple way if you just want to get an idea of how it will look. The basic idea is “make a donut, remove the hole and pull up the donut :) The key is to make sure you are working on the “face” of the rectangle, not a group containing the rectangle, otherwise the inner rectangle won’t cut a hole, it will just sit on the surface. So just keep double clicking to get “down” to the face if needed.

Face Frame

Here is the actual sketchup file with some comments: If this isn’t what you meant, just let me (or us) know.

-- Tom, Central New York

View Slacker's profile


178 posts in 3696 days

#11 posted 04-14-2008 03:00 AM

I’m with Kayak… Sketchup is an excellent tool, but you need to want to invest the time before it will be useful for you. There are videos in that are very good. The program itself has videos that I consult when there is something I know Sketchup does or should do. When I’m bored, I will sometimes go into YouTube and view all the cool things that people do with the program. By viewing the videos, you will gain a mental database of techniques, and before you know it, you’ll be as good as Kayak.

If you don’t want to spend the time, then don’t bother… don’t complain, neither.

It is one of the things about Sketchup that when you connect three or more lines which lie in the same plane, you will create a solid surface. You can select the surface and delete it if it annoys you.

-- Adapt, improvise, overcome

View leonmcd's profile


204 posts in 3966 days

#12 posted 04-20-2008 04:50 PM

Lots of LJ’s have posted here about how easy it is to use. SketchUp is so easy a child could do it. I must be an idiot if I can’t just pick it up and use it. After lots of frustration, I bought the Google SketchUp for Dummies book. It provided all the basics I needed to get me started. In two days, I went from not being able to put two boards together to creating my entry for the bookcase contest. I think that after you discover a few basics, it gets much easier.

The following are some of my frustrations and the solutions I’ve discovered.

#1 When you first get SketchUp it is set for archtecture and all the examples are about drawing buildings. The default dimensions are feet. Not very useful for woodworking. I have since found some tutorials that are better suited to woodworking. BEFORE you start drawing, you need to go Window/Peferences/Template and set the Drawing Template to Inches (Woodworking) – 3D.

#2 Creating things the exact size.
  • When you create things, the size shows up in the box in the lower right (VCB). It seemed obvious that you could click in the box and change the value. NOT POSSIBLE. Start using a tool to create or move the thing, move the mouse in the direction you intend to go then just start typing dimensions. They will magically show up in the VBC. If you haven’t clicked to complete the create or move, you can backspace and correct errors. Hit Enter when you are done and the object will be the exact size you specified.
  • If you don’t know the name of the little box in the lower right (VCB) you will never find it in the help.
  • Tape Measure only measures things.
  • Dimensions only labels things with dimensions.
  • Scale only changes the size as a percentage. This is still annoying. If I have something 12” long and I want it 12.5” long, I have to calculate 12.5/12 = 1.0416 and use that as a scale factor. I’d really like a resize tool.
#3 Placing things where you want them.
  • You can pick up things by clicking on them anywhere and you can move them but you CAN’T place them precisely. In order to place them precisely, you must click on one of the hilighted dots ( later learned these are called inferences ) then move that dot to another dot on another object.
#4 Messing up things I’ve alredy drawn.
  • Keeping a group of objects together is very difficult when you try to select and move them. The answer is components. When you make something a component it becomes one thing which is much easier to manipulate. Components can contain components so make and use lots of components.
#5 Moving things the direction YOU want to go.
  • Apparently SKETCHUP decides which of three axis’ to use when you move the mouse. Many times it won’t let you move the way you want to go. I discovered that if you change your viewing position, SketchUp will change what it allows you to do.
  • Sometimes things “stick” to a surface and you can slide around but can’t move toward or away from the surface. If you slide it completely off the surface, you can then try again.
#6 Can’t get the configuration I want.
  • I found it much easier if I don’t expand my objects to 3d ( using push/pull ) until I’ve got the cross section laid out in 2d.
  • Sometimes I have lines left over from joining pieces together. If you delete them, your object falls apart. You can use “Hide” from the edit menu to hide them.

Thanks to those of you that tried to help me learn. Your tips got me started. I hope that this post will help others.

-- Leon -- Houston, TX - " I create all my own designs and it looks like it "

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3869 days

#13 posted 04-20-2008 06:19 PM

Dennis, I was having absolute fits trying to learn SketchUp.Bob was kind enough to take the time to write a very clear explanation of what was boinking me, which allowed me to get past it. I am no pro, but I have been able to design a couple of projects I intend to build. My thanks to Bob and others who have been so helpful.

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 4081 days

#14 posted 04-21-2008 04:56 AM

Good post Leon….those are all some of the early hurdles. Even experienced users get frustrated with some of those. It’s a question of figuring out how to work around the limitations or features of sketchup sometimes. Some of the ways that sketchup controls the creation of geometry, like inference and stickiness, can cause a lot of confusion at 1st but they are great tools that allow for quick drawing once you understand them.

Thanks for the kind words Rikkor.

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker

View leonmcd's profile


204 posts in 3966 days

#15 posted 04-21-2008 08:28 PM

For those that are still struggling, I think that the items I listed earlier are the keys.

If you can …
  • get the environment setup for woodworking
  • create things the size you want
  • and precisely place them

you are well on you way.

Everything becomes easier after that point. You don’t get so frustrated that you quit so you keep learning.

If you still have problems, just post (or message someone) what you are having problems with and I’m sure you will get lots of help.

I’ve had as hard a time as anyone learning to use SketchUp. Don’t know how many times I’ve given up. BUT it feels great now that I have some capability (still lots to learn and some frustration yet) . I’m excited about getting all the ideas out of my head and into an actual design.

I think it is really worth the effort to learn and I know that there are lots of people here that will help.

-- Leon -- Houston, TX - " I create all my own designs and it looks like it "

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