Creating something from scratch requires an image in mind. It’s easy enough to picture a flat scene or even a carved two-dimensional object. When it comes to woodworking, projects tend to be three dimensional and they require accurate measurements to fit the pieces together. SketchUp is a program that is easier to use than traditional graphics or drawing programs and lets you sketch out an idea before you begin building it.
In woodworking, you need to make the pieces separately and make sure the pieces fit together. As easy as it might be for you to draw out your idea, a computer will be better at accurately relaying it visually.
Adobe is famous for their creative suite of programs and there are other three-dimensional sketching programs for the computer. If you like mechanical drawing, you can lay out your image on paper too. But the issue with woodworking remains accuracy of measurements more than the intricacy of design.
A simple graphics program is needed rather than a complicated and cumbersome one to use. In Sketchup, there is no need for learning 3 D modeling. It’s intuitive and has a short learning curve. The software is free and so are the video tutorials, many of which are offered by woodworking magazines and professionals so good teachers are free too.
Sketchup covers simple box diagrams for shelves up to molding, joints and complicated layered and fitted designs. If you change one item on your model, the rest intuitively updates to reflect the change. You won’t need to individually modify parts based on new attachments or adjustments; the program can do it for you. It’s easy to visualize your end result, even if you make a change mid-plan. You can always redo it speedily on the computer.
Begin with Sketchup’s video tutorials which will guide you through the user interface. The interface is a simple set of tools you’ll need for inserting pieces, rotating your item, as well as the traditional zoom, file and save icons.
Using a pencil icon, you will draw lines, or drag and drop shapes. The program fits them at your indicated points and will create a 3D rendering. You can use the arrow icon to increase or decrease the heights and widths of your 3D add-ons. A hand icon allows you to rotate the image to see all sides.
You can find that there is a multitude of videos to be found covering all aspects of woodworking modeling with this simple and intuitive software. Some woodworking magazines and online sites have whole chapters devoted to projects done using Sketchup. It’s a good indication that the program does what it claims. Jay Bates a Youtube Woodworker has a lot of great content for SketchUp seen here below.
As a woodworker, it’s more likely you spend more time with the drawing your project rather than using a complicated artist’s software program. Sketchup is made expressly for woodworkers looking to use a computer guided modeling technique to draw out projects, without complicated or expensive graphic programs.