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Fine Woodworking Google Sketchup Guide for Woodworkers(2010)BBS.pdf

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ch a pter one
satisfied having SketchUp produce accurate and detailed basic construction

What to learn before
you begin drawing
Although SketchUp is a remarkably intuitive program, it does have a learning curve. In the years that I’ve taught
woodworkers how to use SketchUp, I’ve
developed a set of beginning steps—
what you need before you can begin
effectively producing furniture or other
woodworking models. I’ve structured
the early chapters of the book to impart
the following basic skills.
Setup Covered in Chapter 2, the setup
includes which Toolbars to show, how
to set up dimensioning so it works best
for furniture, and how to have frequently
used dialog boxes readily available on
the screen. You’ll also learn how to save
the setup as a template, so that the settings you need are there each time you
open SketchUp.
Moving around the model Being able to
move around the model is the most important basic skill for a beginning SketchUp
user. It’s covered in Chapter 3. You’ll learn
about the three axes that define a 3D view
in SketchUp and how to stay on axis so
that your drawings are rendered properly.
You’ll also learn how to pan, zoom, and
orbit to move around a model.
How to use basic drawing tools In Chapter 4, you learn the proper ways to use
the Line, Polygon, Circle, and Arc tools



for drawing basic shapes. I’ll also introduce other tools in the SketchUp array.
These include the Push/Pull Tool, which
adds depth to 2D shapes, and the Tape
Measure Tool, which not only lets you
check the accuracy of dimensions but
also lets you place guidelines to use
in drawing components or positioning
them accurately.
Drawing to precise length In Chapter
5, I’ll take you through the creation of
a component—part of the tail vise on
a Tage Frid workbench—to show how
inputting data using the keyboard lets
you draw to exact dimensions. You’ll
also learn more about using the Tape
Measure Tool, the one I use more than
any other.
Making, editing, moving, and connecting
components A critical feature of SketchUp, described in Chapter 6, makes it
possible to treat each piece in the model
as if it were a real part of the furniture.
Understanding how to create and manipulate components is the key to using
SketchUp successfully.
Sure, it can be daunting to learn another computer program. But SketchUp
is worth it, especially for woodworkers.
It takes work and lots of practice, but
you will be amazed at how SketchUp
will change and improve your woodworking. It is a powerful tool for your
workshop. Learn to use it as if it were
a tablesaw, handplane, or router. It can
have an effect on your woodworking
ability as much as or more than the best
shop hardware.

Figure 4. This rough model of a Maloof-style rocker illustrates SketchUp’s limitations. The program is fine for showing joinery and construction details, but not for the artful sculpting that’s
the hallmark of the Maloof style.