I am a newb to Sketch Up. A FREE 3D cad program from Google. I really, really like this program. There are tons of tutorials out there and videos on You Tube which has allowed me to start making my own models pretty fast. I had gotten a $10 gift card from Rockler so I bought a Google Sketch Up for beginners DVD by Fine Woodworking (link to dvd). I watched that DVD and for some reason that broke it open for me. I had been watching tutorials from You Tube and Googles Sketch Up site but that DVD made it all come together. I have been able to, I think, become pretty proficent with Sketch Up.
Here is a recent model of a simple desk and chair for a toddler. I like the fact that you can add colors and textures. There is also a function that allows you to make scenes which I use to show different views. You can export all the scenes as a quicktime movie. This is a really cool aspect of this program I think. I do not show that here but it is a function that I love. It is a great way to show someone exactly what the dimensions are and it is all to scale in 3D. At that point you can break down the model add your joinery and make yourself up a cut list. This of course is much more involved. I am still learning how to do that but I am geting better. Doing this is still taking me much longer than I would wish or have seen others doing. Just like most things it takes practice and once you learn the short cuts to all the tools it gets very easy and fast. Mentioning that, you are allowed to go into the settings and change or add shortcuts to your most used tools. You are also allowed to customize the main tool bar on top. The best thing is all of this is FREE!
Here is a coat cubby someone had wanted me to price for them. They were not sure about the dimensions and color. I think it is really benificial for me as the builder and to the customer. Most people cannot visualize what the piece will look like after it is built and are afraid it won’t be what they want. When I draw these plans it allows them to feel confident that we are on the same page and they will not be wasting there money on something they didn’t envision. I know there is a way to import a picture into Sketch Up and then add your model to that scene. I want to learn this aspect because it will allow me to take there piece we designed and put it in there home before it is built. What a sales tool this has become for me. It allows the customer to become the designer. They love being the one who gets to design there own furniture.
I used to just draw a sketch on a piece of paper and fly by the seat of my pants when building most things. Once I found plans on the internet I started using them and change things to suit my needs. I found this to be kind of cumbersome and when someone mentioned Sketch Up to me I finally took the plunge. The fact that it was free was a huge factor. Most of these kind of programs are very expensive or if open source very hard to use. I had not really tried it before then becaSo thanks for stopping by my page and as always “If I can do it so can you!”