Value Control

Tedswoodworking Plans

Ted's Woodworking Plans

Get Instant Access

Axes help i orient your -project in 3-D space

Framing square gives a sense of scale for most woodworking projects

One question J hear a lot is, "What computer program do you use to design projects for Woodsmith?" Our designers use a complex 3-D design software package. I don't

The Right Scafe. SketchUp includes a "woodworking" template with a framing square in the model. It helps give you a sense of scale for your project.

pretend to understand all it can do, but die designers love it.

The drawback is, it's expensive and takes a while to learn all of the features. For my own projects, I want something simpler.

One product that fits the bill is SketchUp by Google. After taking a little time to go through the simple tutorials, you'll be ready to design your first project. And best of all, the price is right — it's free.

VERSATILE. SketchUp comes with a number of templates that help you get started with your design. These templates are already set up at the right scale for a variety of projects. Whether you're designing a deck or a bird house, there's a template that'll work.

The default template is for architectural-scale projects. But there's also a woodworking template that's more appropriate for shop-

sized projects (lower left photo), it even has a framing square to give you a sense of scale.

HO SAWDUST. With SketchUp, you design a project in much the same way you would build it in the shop. After creating each piece at a specific size, you can "drill" holes, "chop" mortises, and "form" tenons right on the screen.

For example, to make a model of the table you see above, 1 started witii the legs. First, I drew a flat, two-dimensional square to represent the outside dimensions. Then ! was able to "pull" the length of the leg out of the flat square to make a three-dimensional shape.

PUSH OR PULL One of the things diat makes SketchUp so easy and quick to use is the Push/ Pull tool. You simply click on a shape and "stretch" it. That's what I used to lengthen the table legs shown in

After designing your project, you can print out scaled drawings including overall project dimensions or detailed views of a joint.

Top corner of tenon aligns with top inside corner of mortise

Smart Assembly. SketchUp is smart enough to figure out how to align objects as you move them into position. In this view, parts are shown in transparent mode.

Use construction lines for layout

Pick two endpoints or select a line to create a dimension

Use construction lines for layout

Online: SketchUp Resources

Dimensions automatically update when you move or resize a feature

I drag fen on

You can download and learn all about SketchUp at:

www. SketchUp. com. There are two versions you can download — the free version and SketchUp Pro that you can purchase for around $500. The free version is for personal use only.

While you're online, you'll find dozens of resources to get you up to speed with the program. There are videos, tutorials, a printable user's guide, and a help system.

There's even a forum where you can ask questions and get answers from other SketchUp users.

And don't forget to check out the 3D Warehouse. You'll find SketchUp models other people have created that you can download and use in your drawings. For example, I found several woodworking tools and projects. And you can even upload your models to share with other SketchUp users.

Drawing the Tenon Shape. You can draw the width and thickness of a tenon on the end of a work-piece before lengthening it.

in the main drawing. You can also use it to make mortises and tenons like you see illustrated above.

Using the Push/Pull tool is a little like working in the shop. To drill a hole, you draw a circle on the face of the object. Then you push the circle in to drill a hole.

DIMENSIONS. What I like about using SketchUp is I can create a conceptual design without worrying about dimensions. But it's more than just a sketch pad.

While you're designing, you can type dimensions in the "Value Control Box," or VCB in the lower right corner of the screen (inset, opposite page). So it's easy to draw pieces to an exact size.

Another handy feature is that you can drop in "construction lines" to help with the layout and

Smart Assembly. SketchUp is smart enough to figure out how to align objects as you move them into position. In this view, parts are shown in transparent mode.

After designing your project, you can print out scaled drawings including overall project dimensions or detailed views of a joint.

design of your project. They're like pencil lines you can erase any time (see the dotted lines in the drawings above). 1 used them to lay out the tenon shown in the drawings.

FROM SCREEN TO SHOP. All this design stuff is great, but the real advantage is how SketchUp helps me in the shop, I can generate all the working drawings I need to build the project, including exploded views, details, and section views.

If you're looking for a design tool that's a step up from paper and pencil, SketchUp is worth a try. It can be a valuable tool for working out all die design details for your projects before you start making sawdust in the shop.

See the box below to learn more about how to get SketchUp and get the most out of using it. OS

"Pulling" the Tenon. After drawing the size of the tenon on the end, use the Push/Pull tool to establish the tenon length.

Dimensioning is a Snap. Make construction drawings in short order using SketchUp's dimensioning tool. Accuracy is no problem — you can dimension to the nearest'/«".

Top corner of tenon aligns with top inside corner of mortise

techniques from ou quick & accurate

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Wood Working 101

Wood Working 101

Have you ever wanted to begin woodworking at home? Woodworking can be a fun, yet dangerous experience if not performed properly. In The Art of Woodworking Beginners Guide, we will show you how to choose everything from saws to hand tools and how to use them properly to avoid ending up in the ER.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment