Sketchup for Fitted Furniture Makers: Part 1

I’Ve been getting requests for months now for a sketchup training series. If you don’t already know me, my name is Alistair Johnson that free building series now we design making fits fitted furniture from Sheffield, UK and I’ve seen for some time that there’s a real gap in the market for Sketchup training aimed at UK based woodworkers using metric. I’Ve put off starting it. I’Ve not been quite sure where to pitch it, but I’ve just decided: let’s go right from the beginning, so this video will be helpful to you if you’re an absolute beginner. It will also be helpful to you.

I think if you’ve dabbled with Sketchup and what I want to do is to show you how to make a simple carcass like this first off, though, I’m going to just talk you through how to get started downloading Sketchup how to get hold of it for free Demystifying – some of some of that and before that I wanted to show you a little bit about what we do with Sketchup. So you know what’s possible and I don’t mean this to be intimidating if you’re an absolute newcomer. But I just want you to to know that if you are considering what sort of software you might move ahead with that, in my opinion, Sketchup can do probably everything you’re hoping to do so. This is an example of a recent project that we’ve worked on. We can now draw full carcasses with doors on and show the customers and how it’s going to be from outside and inside.

We can animate the opening of doors drawers and we can put Hardware in, and the really powerful thing now is that we can use these drawings, which are accurate to the millimeter to output, to cutting lists. So once we’ve drawn them in Sketchup when they exist in 3d, every one of these parts can be optimized onto a sheet and we can even tell them to have scribing allowances. So, for example, where we’ve got our scribe strips hitting the wall, it can be drawn to that width, but it can be outputted with an extra 20 millimetres scribe in case of the need to cut it on site so I’ve over the years. I’Ve tried different things. My background was in architecture.

I tried a piece of software called cabinet sentence. In fact, I spent 2,000 pounds on that which is really made for this. This cabinetry industry and I just kept going back to Sketchup because it’s very flexible intuitive. It looks great in front of customers, you can quickly produce drawings and that’s something we do as we will draw something like this in front of customers now and I found that cabinet sense was demanding more and more money, even for what I thought should have been Fairly basic features: it’s only relatively recently with the use of certain extensions that we’ve we’ve got this kind of functionality from Sketchup. So if that’s where you want to go, stick with makers, I will be working towards this.

This kind of use of Sketchup and I’m not going to be giving you stuff, you don’t need to know – that’s not particularly relevant to being a woodworker or specifically a fitted furniture maker in the UK. So let’s give them to how you get hold of Sketchup. Now I suggest you just type Sketchup downloads into your web browser and there are two routes you can go down. I’M going to show you both briefly. The relatively new development with Sketchup is what’s called Sketchup free.

That is a web browser-based version of it. I’M just going to give you the overview of that, but I’m not going to do most of this tutorial on it, because the interface is different to a lot of the other tutorials that you would find online. However, this is a pretty fully featured version of Sketchup. You won’t have to create a Trimble ID so you’ll have to log in which you can do with a google account, and that’s that’s no trouble really. That really just allows you to to save your files in the Trimble Connect as it’s called to Trimble now on the Sketchup.

There’S that there’s a lot you can do in here, but it’s much the same as what you will see in Sketchup make, which is what I want to show you mainly so to get to Sketchup make. What actually suggest you do is go to Sketchup download all so just google that and find this webpage. Sketchup comm smash download all spit hard-to-find directly on the Sketchup site. Now this gives you a list of all the downloadable desktop versions. The ones at the top you’re gon na have to pay for the pro versions.

This is the old Sketchup make which they are now discontinuing so they’re, not updating this in favor of the free version on the way, but this is a really great place to start pretty fully featured and and in fact, when you download it, you get the pro Version for 30 days so that causes some confusion, you’re actually working on the pro version that expires after 30 days, but that just dangle downgrades to make which is the free version. So you will continue to be able to use that legally, although strictly not for business purposes ongoing, so you can download your Windows or Mac version. I leave this page. Do take note that you can download some quick reference cards here. This one for pro 2018 will be near enough.

The same choose your windows of your Mac. I suggest you download and print this and keep this in front of you, because this gives you the keystrokes, which will enable you to more quickly go to the tools that you use, so you to download Dayal to get rap. Make I’ve already done that. So I will bring it up. What’S this one so start using Sketchup down here, it will prompt you to choose a template when you first use it.

I suggest you choose the one, that’s near the top. That has this white background, and that says it works in millimeters. If you do find yourself in a template that you discover it isn’t millimeter based which you’ll find once you get drawing as you’ll, see down the bottom bottom right, there see dimensions once you start using drawing tools, if that’s not in millimeters, go to window on a Mac model info, it might be a slightly different place on Windows, I’m sure you can find it. The model info ends units and then here you can choose the format and the units. So personally I mean I’m usually working the millimeters and personally I prefer for it to just be rounded to the nearest millimeter, but you can choose very high levels of position so to start with, let’s familiarize ourselves with the workspace.

What you’ve got here are axes. So if you think back to school days, working on graphs, you had your x-axis going along the bottom, so red is X, Y or Y axes going that way, green is y and the z axis is heading upwards for a 3d space. This is the sort of thing that will be helpful as you get more advanced in sketchup, but just a basic understanding is fine for now. You’Ve noticed I’m spinning around in space. Now, what I’m doing right now is called orbit, and you can see how the cursor has changed.

You can find that tool in the tool set over here. If you don’t have that on your screen, you can go to tool palettes again. You might have to hunt around a little bit on Windows, but you go to tool palettes large toolset and that will bring this up so down. Here. Are your your navigation tools for positioning yourself in 3d space so orbit?

You can just click on like that. You can also hit o on the keyboard over a little bit and, if you’re, using a mouse with a roller wheel in the middle, then, if you press that roller wheel down and hold it, then that will activate orbits, even if you’re, using a different tool. The roller wheel on the mouse will also zoom in and out, so I’m rolling that back towards me and rolling away from me to zoom in the other tool for navigating around the space. That’S very useful is the the pan tool or the hands tool or the keystroke. For that is H.

You will notice that if you have, if you hang around over any of these tools on the toolbar you’ll, see the keystroke in brackets after the name of the tool, you’ll also find these on the sheet that I suggested you print out so the hand tool will Just drag what you’re looking at sideways or up and down, whereas the orbit tool is spinning you around in space. Now it’s worth noting noting that there’s a special feature to this man now he’s he’s here as standard to give a sense of scale. As you start drawing, but especially programs, to always face you if you’re working with a box or something you would be able to sort of turn around to the back of it. Well, let’s get started drawing a basic carcass, so select your rectangle tool, it’s fairly self-explanatory! What these tools do you can click on it here or you can hit R when you’re draw it.

It’S giving you a little hint of the face on which the rectangle will be drawn. Now, one of the great things about Sketchup is it’s very intuitive. It allows you to just start drawing into 3d space, and it makes certain assumptions when it does that so the plane, if you think you’re like the floor, plane that you’re looking at so the view is most orientated towards the floor plane. That’S where it’s assuming you want to draw this rectangle, so to start drawing that’s where it’s going to be just hit escape to cancel that. If I was to be facing more upwards, then it automatically assumes that I probably want to draw and more in that plane.

You’Ll get used to this just hit H to pan back to get myself in position. So an Arthur X angle. Now, the way that I recommend you draw is you click and release, and then the action is in progress and the size of the rectangle will be set. When you click again now you can see the size that you’re drawing by looking down at the bottom right. There so that’s currently 766 by 76 millimeters, that’s just fairly arbitrary, it’s just where I I’m floating in space.

It’S also giving me a helpful guide by showing me that it’s square, but I can I can break away from that and that now is a golden section. So that’s that sort of traditionally a world proportioned rectangle, so I can just click and make the rectangle but to work with precision. I’M just going to hit ctrl Z to undo that to work with precision. It’S better that I tell it the exact dimensions. I want it to be so the dimensions box down at the bottom right there.

It will read out what you’re doing, but it will also receive instructions now. The way you give it instructions is you you don’t have to click into it or anything. You simply start typing. So I’ve activated a rectangle by clicking once and releasing, and I’m going to make this rectangle. Let’S say: 500 by 600 millimeters.

You don’t have to type millimeters, because you’ve already set that up as the units that you’re working in so it’s 500 comma 600, the enter. Now it may be helpful before you type in the sizes to just observe the long and short direction. Do you see how I’m dragging a rectangle out here? You can clearly see which is long, which is short, and you can see in the dimensions box that the long dimension is coming first. So that’s actually the X dimension, followed by the Y dimension.

Often it’s useful simply to start dragging out the shape and just check which way around you’re going to need to type the dimensions in so now. If I wanted this to be say, a thousand five hundred I’ve just typed that in a thousand comma, a hundred and then I hit enter so hitting Enter, does the job of just clicking. To finish, you don’t have to then click once you’ve typed the dimensions. In now, let’s make this rectangle the base of our cabinet. So now I’m going to go through a 3d operation, so you’ve effectively just drawn a 2d rectangle with in 3d space.

You now want to give it some thickness, and you do this using the push-pull tool. You can click on it in the toolbar or you can go to the keystroke key. That’S on that. I’M hovering over surfaces and the surface that goes. Dottie is the one that I’m going to work on so click and let go, and then I am in process of extruding this face into a 3d shape.

Now, there’s just one dimension in the bar down at the right. They see so I can just type 80 millimeters. My border thickness hit enter and I’ve got my 80 millimeter thick base. I mentioned their faces. The terminology in sketchup is that you’re working with edges and faces, so a line is an edge and you can individually select that now I’ve gone back to the point, that’s all by hitting spacebar and that’s a very useful keystroke to know so it tells you there As you contraire over it so any side, it’s all active.

You can just hit spacebar to go back to the selection tool and I hit the middle roller button to orbit. So this starts to become second nature to position yourself in space. So yes, as I was saying, you’ve got your edges, which you can just select by clicking on and your faces, which can only exist when they’re bounded by edges and faces will automatically appear. When you create a 2d shape, which is bounded by edges. You can individually select each of these and you can delete them.

So if you just select that and hit backspace or delete delete that you see, it’s had to delete the faces that that was pounding. So controls is called commands it on the Mac that undos that undoes that now we’re going to start drawing the sides of this cabinet. It’S no just to leave that and once I’ve drawn them. I want to talk to you about grouping your geometry, which is very important in Sketchup, and that’s it sir. It’S if you don’t do it things will be a lot harder for you.

Let me draw something else, and this will start to make sense. I’M going to deliberately draw the sides away from the base, so let’s make that 18 millimeters thick on its edge, comma 600, millimeters and then P for push tool or push-pull. I should say I’m going to extrude that out, let’s say 800 millimeters hit enter, so I’ve got my two our two objects here. I want to start putting together now to put them together and just delete that man put them together only to select one and move it to the other. Now there are a few ways of selecting you can just click on a single item or two selects a lot.

You can drag a bounding box, so I’ve gone back to my pointer tool, and so you know yes, so I’m just dragging and whatever is contained within the box. If I’ve dragged from left to right will be selected, it’s not soaked at all that geometry. If I just do that, it doesn’t select anything if I was to drag from right to left, then whatever is touching, the box will be selected. It’S about selected, the parts that are touching, but it hasn’t selected the lines at the top there. So, to bring these two items together, like it selects one of them so be careful, because I just selected that line over there select one of them drag it together, and this is where we’ll start to get problems, because we haven’t grouped geometry.

So that seems to be okay, however, if I now want to independently edit one of these sides or move it elsewhere, I can’t really do that because it’s it’s stuck together, so this line now has become shared. That’S just one line and if I try to individually select that and move it, which I’m doing with, I should say I’m doing with the move tool. So that’s keystroke, M and Sketchup has given me a little bit of help because it’s showing me these endpoints to grab you see how it’s sticking together and it’s affecting the geometry of the side there. So it’s going to escape from that. I’M going to do command-z or control-z to undo that, so what I really want to do is to independently group this.

These sets of geometry. The way to do is you start by selecting which you can also do by triple clicking. That’S actually my preferred method. Double click will selects the face and the edges around it triple click will select all of the geometry. This connected to what you’re clicking on to once that’s selected, you can right click and go to make group.

What that means is that when you single click on that now, it’s considered as one entity and it’s no longer sticky, so it’s independent within itself. Let’S do that to the side here as well, triple clicks that right-click and down here make the group now you can also go to mate group under the Edit menu it’s grayed out now, because I’ve already made us a group. So now we’ve got these two independent entities. We can move them together and they won’t stick. Let me just show you the move tool cause.

I think I went a bit quickly over that before so the move tool is over here, it’s keystroke M and the geometry that you’ve got selected is the one that will move when you activate the tool. So like most tools, I’m going to just click release and do the operation and then click again to position it. So whenever I move on, I’m always wanting to work off a precise reference point, so I can precisely place the part it’s worth. Knowing that the move tool will work from anywhere, so you can just click in space, and so if I just click over here, then I’m bringing that part with me. So I can just click randomly and I can also tell it a distance to move again by simply typing in so if I just want to move a hundred millimeters, so I’ve set the direction with a dotted line.

That’S telling me it’s in the direction of the real axis title e-100 and I’ll hit enter so there’s a way of moving, but most often I’m wanting to take a precise point, which I know will meet another precise point which is indicated there by that circle. Now that process is called inferencing, Sketch ups very clever at giving you a little bit of help. So it will let you know when you are, if you were to click your you are on that line, it sort of snapping to that, even if you’re, like a few pixels away as you’re moving the cursor will, let you know when you hit the the midpoint. So that’s the midpoint symbol and I’ll, let you know with a different symbol when you’re on an endpoint, so that’s the end of a line or a few lines where they meet so at precisely positioned back side where I needed to be now. I want to create another side, that’s the same so using the move tool again rather than redrawing this.

I can simply copy move it. So you start the move operation in the way we said I’m going to click it from this corner. Now, while that’s in progress, I’m just going to hit alt or option on the keyboard, and that has, if you see, there’s little plus next to the move tool, that’s converted by move tool to the copy move tool. If I hit alt again, it’s just moving it. So I can, I can do that mid operation and I’m just going to reference that to exactly where it needs to be click and complete the operation.

So in a similar way, I can take my base. I’Ve just been using keystrokes their spacebar to go to the point at all clicks to select it because it’s grouped and then m4 move take my reference point click its alt or option on the keyboard to copy it and now in fact you see I should have. I should have clicked the other corner, because now I can’t I can’t precisely position it. So what I could do is just place it there and just to show you again the way that you can work them with the move tool. I’Ve got that part selected.

I’M just going to click randomly anywhere. I’Ve set my direction it sort of snapped to the blue direction, which is the z-axis the up and down axis. So I know that it’s sliding perfectly vertically having set that direction, I’m just going to type in 18 and that’s now exactly where it should be. So now I just need to draw my bath towel and, let’s assume that it’s going to be an inset panel. So I’m going to hit off the rectangle again using inferencing or snapping.

So it’s telling me that’s on the end or so. No that’s exactly what needs to be, and, as I draw the rectangle its we’ll just guess where I want it to be lined up which plane it wants to be drawn in. So here is its assuming that I just want to be stuck to that face here. It’S again sticking to that face which would make us angle rectangle. What I’ll come over to here is snacking again to where I want it to be, so it clicked to do that and P the push-pull on I’m gon na push that in let’s say, there’s an 18 millimeter back panel.

So well, you can’t see it I’m pushing in that direction. That is actually pushing come this way. It’S going that way. So, once I’ve set my direction, I can then just then type in the actual distance. I want it to extrude, so I’m typing in 18 1/8 hit enter clicking the wheel on the mouse to orbit and there’s my back panel as it should be now note when you use things like the orbit tool or the hens tool just get aged there.

It’S M: well, I was going to say actually is so it’s I was on fish ball when you use the orbit tool on the mouse, it reversed to the tool that you were using. If you go right ahead and select it either by clicking on it or by using the keystroke, then it stays on that’s all, and it has to use the correct keystroke like keys, to go back to fish for matching and hit spacebar, which takes me to the Pointer, which tends to be most useful thing, I’m going to select that which, as I said, my preference is the triple click lights and then just orbit brown to check that the right yeah, the rear face is not selected. So I probably just double click. So triple click – that’s also like to see is right, click to make that a group, and then we have our carcass. Well, that’s about it.

For now, there’s certainly lots more. I could tell you that what would be great is, if you give me feedback on. What’S been helpful, anything that this has helped you to understand or anything that I’ve have skimmed over too quickly and do tell me if there’s anything in particular, that that would be a great next step for you to learn and I’ll see. If I can feed that into the videos that are coming up, I’m going to build this into a series – some or possibly most of it will ultimately be on mind. My patreon site that I’m going to launch but I’ll try to keep putting helpful content out here.

For free and perhaps directing the slightly more advanced content to two patreon for a small subscription, so look out for that are the announcing more details about that before too long. Thanks for watching.


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