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Forum topic by Randy_ATX posted 02-19-2014 05:08 PM 1059 views 1 time favorited 40 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Randy_ATX

676 posts in 1098 days


02-19-2014 05:08 PM

Topic tags/keywords: sketchup advice tips tutorials

I see some pretty amazing sketchup drawings and I can see how it would be very useful to have this skill.
The purpose of this post is to collect some of the best tutorials, tips, or advice on how to best to get into using this program. Thank you for your input.

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH


40 replies so far

View Minorhero's profile

Minorhero

228 posts in 1261 days


#1 posted 02-19-2014 05:44 PM

Sketchup has some pretty great video tutorials on its website, that is where I learned.

View BPatterson's profile

BPatterson

28 posts in 257 days


#2 posted 02-19-2014 06:28 PM

http://woodworkingwithsketchup.com/

Lots of useful and short tutorials here. He is good about only showing one skill at a time (ie, mortise and tenon, rabbets/dados, etc) for skill building but then he is very descriptive in all of his projects as well.

-- Brandon ~ Aim Small, Miss Small

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

799 posts in 973 days


#3 posted 02-19-2014 11:06 PM

My method was pretty simple. First, learn how to use all the basic drawings tools and memorize the hot keys for them. Second, start making simple drawings of basic, square furniture. I don’t care much for broad-scope tutorials because I’d rather learn the ins and outs of each tool through experimentation. My preference is to use a search engine to find instructions on individual tasks I’m trying to do.

Once you know how to do the basics introduce more complicated elements one at a time and figure out how to use the tools to pull it off. Experiment heavily and don’t worry about mistakes. If you get stuck for more than 5 minutes Google the questions you have and see if any forums or videos have the answers. Oftentimes there’s a plugin that will easily do whatever you’re attempting.

After you’re fairly advanced continue to push the boundaries with more and more complicated items. Do not fall into the trap of drawing things that are easy to draw. Instead, draw the things you want to draw even if it’s seemingly impossible and takes hours to figure out each step.

Nowadays I’m able to do a little in the way of compound curves in Sketchup and the program isn’t even designed to handle that sort of work. The software is a lot less limited than people think but it does require a major time commitment to acquire the skill.

If you’re working on a small but complex item, scale it up by 10 until the modeling is done. Sketchup doesn’t handle tiny lines well and you can always scale back to original size once the work is done.

If you intend to do really complex stuff you’ll want the professional version with the solid object drawing tools.

Buy a good gaming mouse with adjustable sensitivity and a scroll wheel for maximum productivity. You’ll strain your wrist a lot less if you can move the cursor across the screen with a slight movement of the fingers.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2528 posts in 1008 days


#4 posted 02-19-2014 11:21 PM

I have been learning using this ebook, _Building Blocks of Sketchup. So far so good I’ve learned a lot.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Randy_ATX's profile

Randy_ATX

676 posts in 1098 days


#5 posted 02-20-2014 02:02 AM

Minorhero, Brandon, JAAune, Bondo – thanks for the suggestions. This was the type of advice and link suggestions I was hoping for.

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

View Laughran's profile

Laughran

28 posts in 585 days


#6 posted 02-20-2014 11:29 AM

I bought Bob Langs Woodworkers Guide To SketchUp and found it very helpful.
Also Mastersketchup.com has some really good tutorials

-- David

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BobLang

99 posts in 2057 days


#7 posted 02-20-2014 11:53 AM

Not trying to shill, but trying to point in the right direction. The link above to my book “Woodworker’s Guide to SketchUp” goes to a general search on E-bay. You can get both of my SketchUp books in enhanced PDF format (videos embedded in the text) and most of my print books directly from my website at the link below.

There is also a lot of free SketchUp content on my site.

-- Bob Lang, http://readwatchdo.com/

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MT_Stringer

1903 posts in 1887 days


#8 posted 02-20-2014 02:29 PM

Thanks Bob. Do you reckon it will help me? Although I am computer literate, and knowledgeable with Excel, Word, Adobe Lightroom and other photo editing programs, I don’t have any experience with drawing programs and definitely no CAD experience at all.

I have tried on several occasions to learn Sketchup, but I can’t get passed get-go. Each time I get frustrated and give up.

I could be the worst possible user to teach. :-(
I am using Google Sketchup 8.
Thanks
Mike

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View HarveyDunn's profile

HarveyDunn

286 posts in 388 days


#9 posted 02-20-2014 02:55 PM

If you are a Mac user, be aware that the current version of SketchUp requires OS 10.7 or higher. For me that required an upgrade. Chat with someone at the Apple store to find out which one you need.

View Randy_ATX's profile

Randy_ATX

676 posts in 1098 days


#10 posted 02-20-2014 06:06 PM

Harvey – thanks for that info. I’ve got a mac and pc. The required mac OS upgrades catch a lot of people when it comes time to install a newer software application package.

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

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Randy_ATX

676 posts in 1098 days


#11 posted 02-20-2014 06:08 PM

Bob Lang – thanks. I will consider the purchase after looking at some tutorials first.

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

View HarveyDunn's profile

HarveyDunn

286 posts in 388 days


#12 posted 02-20-2014 06:18 PM

You are welcome. There is a chat feature on the Apple store website. You can use it to tell them the serial number of your Mac and the OSX version you are currently running, and how far up the upgrade path you want to go. I chose the bare minimum – 10.7. To get there from 10.6.8 cost me $22. However, they don’t deliver the upgrade instantly – it can take up to 3 days (even though it is a digital download). So you may need to plan ahead.

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

1437 posts in 454 days


#13 posted 02-20-2014 06:30 PM

I’m a bit perplexed by my inability to master sketchup for woodworking. I’m something of a computer wiz. Self-taught, ended up putting myself through grad school installing computer networks, setting up businesses with their first e-mail systems, building systems from scratch, troubleshooting hardware and software, desktop publishing, database development. Not trying to blow my own horn, but I have been able to do anything on a computer/with a computer that I’ve ever tried. But I’ve gone through online and dvd tutorials with sketchup, and I can do basic drawings and such, but can’t use it well enough to actually design an arts and crafts piece of furniture in such a way would include mortise and tenons, etc. That is, I can get a basic shape, but would still need to figure out actual length of a piece (with tenons, for instance). It may just be my personality doesn’t work well with something that demands a high level of precision. One of the reasons I was so good at computer troubleshooting was that I could rely on logic and intuition to figure out what was wrong even if I didn’t understand exactly how everything worked. I’ll give it another try at some point, but for now I use a pencil and grid paper.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View BobLang's profile

BobLang

99 posts in 2057 days


#14 posted 02-20-2014 06:33 PM

“I have tried on several occasions to learn Sketchup, but I can’t get passed get-go. Each time I get frustrated and give up.

I could be the worst possible user to teach. :-(
I am using Google Sketchup 8.
Thanks
Mike”

Hi Mike,

My classes and my books are geared for guys like you. It’s a different program and a different way of designing/planning/problem solving. I try to deliver a thorough understanding of the basics, and like anything else, when you have the basics in your pocket you can pretty much do whatever you want.

People struggle with a couple of things. The first is getting around in the 3-D space so you can see and control what you’re doing. You also need to catch on to what the things you see on your screen mean and what happens when you work with them.

-- Bob Lang, http://readwatchdo.com/

View Randy_ATX's profile

Randy_ATX

676 posts in 1098 days


#15 posted 02-20-2014 06:40 PM

CharlesA – that’s an interesting perspective. I’m a technical person by profession too, yet sketchup just seems to have a bit of a barrier to it. My reason for this thread. Your input helps justify what I am feeling.

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

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