SketchUp Collection and the Official SketchUp Blog - Popular Woodworking Magazine

SketchUp Collection and the Official SketchUp Blog

 In Shop Blog, SketchUp Tutorials, Woodworking Blogs

I’ve always felt a bit guilty about our collection of SketchUp models on Google’s 3D Warehouse. It is such a great resource for our readers (and us) that it doesn’t seem possible that it’s free. This resource is available to anyone with a web browser, we don’t have to pay for it and you don’t have to pay for it. SketchUp has changed  the way we plan and illustrate our projects here at the magazine. The easiest projects to make are those you’ve made before, and the process of making a 3D model is almost the same as building in real life, except for the unloading lumber trucks and sanding part.

Because we have models anyway, and because many of our readers pitched in to help, we took the opportunity to use this resource as an exercise in community building, not a way to make a quick buck. I’m pleased that we’ve been able to turn woodworkers on to this program.

It also works the other way; folks are starting in SketchUp and becoming woodworkers. Shortly before the holidays, I received an E-mail from one of them, Steve who works for the SketchUp team. He was curious about our collection, and wrote about it recently in the “Official Google SketchUp Blog”. You can read his post by clicking here. Because he said nice things about us I won’t feel guilty any more. And I can let you know that we’re working on some new ways for woodworkers to learn to use SketchUp.

– Bob Lang

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Showing 2 comments
  • Ryan M. Bruzan

    I must say a few things. I started my woodworking career about 5 years ago working for a custom closet factory. I learned everything from design to functionality to manufacturing to finish to installation. So far so good.

    A few months ago a customer called for an estimate and that he had been messing around with Google Sketchup. First I ever heard of it. Best I heard him tell me was, "It’s free."

    So, after of conversation, I jumped online and downloaded the program. In discounted web acronym, WTF! After trying to figure it out a few minutes, even after watching some of the basic tutorials that go with it, I gave up.

    A few months later I started I got a call on a fair-sized shaker style kitchen cabinet project. The customer was moving in from California. Now I knew I could just draw up the design old school on paper, fax it and all that other traditional methodology stuff or try to find a cheap program (yeah right, not a good one anyway) and learn it quickly. So I went online and tried again to find something good and easy about Sketchup and I stumbled onto Let me tell ya. Not only did he explain how SketchUp works, he drew up an entire basic bookcase project. After I watched the video, I restarted the video, hit the pause button, and opened the Google SketchUp program. Four days later, I had a complete kitchen designed with Shaker doors as profiled, added crown molding and the rest is to become history for my gold find.

    Here’s the link to the video by Gary Katz. Thanks Gary.

    Find “Sketchup Tutorial: Drawing a Bookcase Using Groups & Components"

    By the way, I have a few SketchUp designs posted on my website. If you need any help using the program, shoot me an email and I’ll do my best.

    With Google Sketchup the two absolute most important rules are creating components and groups. Ever individual part must be made into a component. Group is used for modules, i.e., after you’ve created a carcass with panels and back, making it a "group" makes it a complete module in itself. Then create and attach a face frame and make it a group again creating an open cabinet. Add the doors and you made you entire cutlist to scale.

    It is a very easy program, like a calculator. It seems people may be afraid of it because they think it is AutoCAD. Not so, but it does support those programs. That’s advanced to me; we won’t go there.

    Good luck!

  • Doug F.

    I’m glad PopWood IS working on new ways to learn Sketchup, because it has been nothing but a source of frustration to me. I don’t have a design background, but I’m always looking to learn more about it. After all the buzz about Sketchup, ("It’s free! It’s easy! A three year old designed a Chippendale highboy within a half hour of downloading the software!"), I had high hopes. But no matter how long I work at it or play with it I just can’t seem to get what’s in my head onto the screen. I look forward to seeing these "new ways".

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