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SketchUp for newbies

user-5913055's picture

I just joined Fine Woodworking online after many decades of browsing the occasional print version.  Right away I was excited to find the Sketchup link and downloaded a trial version.  In the past I sketched up "plans" for projects using graph paper and pencil and copious use of eraser.  Not being an engineer or draftsman my lack skill at this soon produced something that resembled a monochrome finger-painting.  I thought that Sketchup might finally bring me into the realm of proper project planning by enabling me to "sketch out" simple plans by using basic dimensions of lumber, positioning joints, wheels, knobs etc.  I imagined going to my shop afterwards and cranking out components with all the necessary information to locate dados, rabbets, holes for etc and having it all fit together. 

So when I opened Sketchup I was hopeful when I found th familar graph paper layout and started to draw.  But soon, nearly immediately, I found that, like most drawing software there was steep and rocky learning curve.  So off to the interwebs to find a tutorial.  "Sketchup for Beginners" popped right up on YouTube,  WooHoo!  Again my enthusiasm was short-lived.  The "beginning" turorial started right off in unfamiliar territory with an isomentric view and nothing to do with sketching a woodworking project. 

So my question: "is there a basic tutorial for sketchup that explains how to do simple line, circle & box sketches to render a model that will provide a drawing resembling paper 2D plans that I can take to the workshop and build something with?

BTW, yes I have perused the Sketchup Blog and serached for many other sources for this with no avail.  All seem to cater to the experienced user, rather than the uninitiated.

Thanks in advance

David Bryant

Hobbist woodworker

Ipswich, MA

DaveRichards's picture

First, you should keep in (post #179726, reply #1 of 2)

First, you should keep in mind that SketchUp is a 3D modeling program. It's probably not a good idea to think in terms of drawing with a pencil on graph paper. You can make 2D views of the project and/or its parts but you should approach the drawing from a 3D point of view. For the fundamentals, you should start with the videos available from the SketchUp site. They'll show you how to use the basic tools and more.

If you'd like a tutorial aimed at going from sketching a simple project to creating plans for the shop, checkout SketchUp Guide for Woodworkers: The Basics. It assumes you can use the basic tools but goes into detail about how to put them together.

The Design. Click. Build blog covers a variety of topics from very basic to advanced. Due to the blog format it doesn't have a start here, end there arrangement and the topics are quite varied.


islandman's picture

sketchup guide for woodworkers: the basics (post #179726, reply #2 of 2)

you should really look at this dvd.  i got it and really like it.  the first thing you will notice is that it is by dave richards.  he is the one who posted you first to look at this.  you may think he is just trying to hawk his dvd, and he should because it is really good.  i consider the man damn near a saint.  i had a question on sketchup that i posted to knots, and he told me to give him a telephone call and he's explain my question.  i called him, and he stayed on the phone with me for almost two hours.  there was no charge, and i, at that point had not bought anything from him.  this dvd is a guide for someone like me that did not know anything.  i think you will be impressed if you get it.  it's still not easy, but he explains everything.  it is just a matter of keep doing it and referring to his dvd.