In Chris Schwarz Blog, Electronic Drawings

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You can download a deluxe SketchUp drawing of the Schoolbox, a project that was featured on the cover of the Autumn 2009 issue.

This file was made by Randall Wilkins, a set designer in the film industry who uses SketchUp in his job and in his woodworking hobby. This file is extremely cool. Here are some details.

Wilkins has added additional scenes (click on the tabs at the top of the file) that will create shop drawings for you in a variety of views, including some helpful section views. All the surfaces have a nice wood grain pattern on them. And the box’s lid is now a dynamic component , which means it will open and shut with a mouse click. Here’s how to do that:

In Sketchup, go to View/Tool Palettes/Dynamic Components, a new tool palette will open. Click on the little hand and then touch the box lid. It will open and close again on the next click. This will work from any view. Wilkins created these drawings because he is planning on making a copy of the schoolbox for each of his daughters. But he also graciously allowed us to share it with you.

Don’t have SketchUp? You should. It’s a free download from Google.

To download the deluxe Schoolbox drawings, click here.

– Christopher Schwarz

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Showing 21 comments
  • bennyk

    I use Vectorworks professionally, so it seemed natural to plan my woodworking projects using the same package. More expensive than Sketchup but cheaper than AutoCAD. I always draw in 3d because I think that way. 2d pencil drafting used to drive me nuts! I’ve got great respect for all the blueliners who came before me. That is truly a lost art form.

  • Bruce Powers

    Silly said; SU was cumbersome.
    Helpful said; SU was limited for 2D plans, found CAD/Viso better.
    Perhaps my contention was not comprehended.

    Was offered a gold mine once; it was inaccessible.

    Bruce Powers
    Thanks to those who offered solutions.

  • D Grant

    Great model… Sketchup is great for 3D modelling, but it’s been my experience trying to produce 2D plans from them that when projects start getting slightly more complicated, the limitations of SU’s dimensioning capabilities shine through, and I don’t find that Layout is much better. Exporting views to CAD drawings and opening them up in Visio was my solution to these limitations – it has many more dimensioning capabilities.

    The complaints here regarding this download are a little silly – a Sketchup model was posted and a link was given to the Sketchup website if it wasn’t already installed – seems pretty straightforward. Leave it to someone to complain about the manner in which free content was offered to them.

  • Randall Wilkins

    I’m not sure what the link is that’s attached to my previous post but below is a link to get the 2-D plans that were generated from the model. You don’t need Sketchup to download or view the file but it is in PDF form which means you’ll need Adobe’s PDF viewer if it doesn’t open immediately for you. This is a free viewer if it’s not already on your hard drive. These drawings are formatted for 36" x 24" paper so you’ll need to go to a large format printing service like Kinko’s to get full-size copies.

    Hope you’ll find this useful.

    Randall Wilkins

  • Bruce Powers

    My frustration is not SketchUp,but the unsuccessful download, which prevents me from seeing the plan. I don’t now why it occurs, but it seems a common problem and source of complaint.

    If reaching your audience is the goal, then the medium chosen should accomplish it without difficulty.

    I used SketchUp, initially fascinated by its potential, but was disappointed by its demand for computer capacity, learning curve, time drain; eventually deleting it. Perhaps when I am 90, I will reinvestigate.

  • Cliff,

    I, too, have been a 2-D draftsman for over 20 years and fought the change to digital as long as I could. The film industry is the last hold-out for pencil draftspersons as quite a few of us draw with pencil whenever we can. Unfortunately not only has our design time been cut to the bone, we now work mainly for people who have zero visualization skills and spending a lot of time making physical models is usually out of the question.

    By working in a 3-D program like Sketchup allows me to get an approved design quickly which is then easy to slice up and dimension. Even better, with the numerous changes that inevitably come, a change to the model automatically updates the 2-D drawings which are attached to it. This feature alone is worth its weight in gold and saves me endless hours of redrawing. It’s a feature found only on the pro version but makes it worth getting. I’ll be happy to forward a sample of the 2-D drawings which are generated from the model to anyone who is interested. These aren’t the flat, lifeless CAD drawings you are used to seeing, but fully shaded orthographic drawings like those I’ve always done in pencil. In fact, as you’ll see, I incorporate full-size scale hand drawings into the documents.

    I’m never giving up my pencils!!

    Happy Thanksgiving to all,

    Randall Wilkins

  • Cliff

    I guess I am old school. Worked as mechanical
    designer for years. 2D manual drawings then
    Autocad until later versions with 3D.
    I had to think in 3D and found 3D packages overkill,
    took longer to create and for me no gain.

    Give me a simple 2D drawing in pdf format anytime,
    and I can figure it out.

    I guess younger folk are used to 3D like sketchup,
    but very little benefit for me.

    Just my 2 cents, Cliff

  • Roger Nixon

    It is an excellent download. Thanks, Chris. You are most generous in providing quality free stuff, no need to apologize to anyone.

  • Christopher Schwarz

    Like it or not, Google SketchUp has become the standard way to communicate drawings such as this. All other electronic drawing formats of note cost money, which is why we use SketchUp. It’s free, powerful and becoming darn-near universal.

    No matter what format we chose, it would disappoint some people.

    So I’m sorry to disappoint.


  • Christopher Schwarz


    It appears that some of the e-mails we sent out for people to complete their orders were never received. Spam filters got them, most likely.

    Feel free to order it from the site. We didn’t ask for any credit card info on the pre-order so you cannot be charged twice.

    Sorry for the trouble.


  • Wayne Bias

    I realize you are really into the Google SketchUp thing, but I am not. I don’t have it on my computer and don’t intend to. I’m not a Google fan of any of their stuff, because of their political correct leanings. There is a lot of plans that I can not download because of this. Perhaps you can go back to the days before Google and have a way for me and others to download your plans that you have googlized. If you can’t or won’t, then I say "Oh Well". I still enjoy reading your newsletter, you do a great job.

  • Erick

    This is a great little project. Don’t have someone specifically in mind as a recipient, but it will help me develop more hand tool skills.

    Thanks for posting this project and the drawing.


  • I guess I will never get to see this download. Microsoft does not reconize it and I had it a long time ago with having to download more and more programs. If you want to have people view/download an item just let them do it. NO games.

  • Wayne

    Nice plans. A lot of work went into these drawings. The download was simple. Thanks for posting this.

  • hi chris.
    sorry but this is not about the school box. awhile back there was a pre-order for your latest book and i was wondering how that was coming along. I believe i pre ordered but did not get a email response. just wondering.

    mike h

  • Randy Kimery

    Very nice. Not hard at all. Very informative!

  • wood working

    I didn’t think the download was difficult at all and I had to get sketchup first. I appreciate the author making the resource available for free.

  • David Pruett

    Thank you for generously sharing this file!

  • Don Peregoy

    Thank you Mr. Wilkins for such a detailed presentation. It really is amazing what some one who knows SketchUp can do.

    To echo Mr. Schwarz you are very graciously to have to shared it with us.

  • Doug Martin

    Well, I guess I would disagree with it being ‘clear as mud’. Looks pretty clear to me and is quite easy to navigate through. Its nice to see how someone uses the multiple views in SketchUp. I can see this approach as very useful for a lot of projects. Makes me want to fire up SU and start fleshing out a few some new views of some of the models I’ve created. Nicely done.

  • Larry Baker

    this download is as clear as mud, and as easy to wade through. what a waste of time.


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