My Adventures in Skechup

It has taken me quite a while to become comfortable with how SketchUp works. I suppose you could say I was disadvantaged by my training in AutoCAD.  

Woodworking projects

This is a Sketchup model of a chess table that I made in woodworking class 1975. Using hand plane, chisels to make dovetail joints and mortise and tenon joints. 

The chess board was made using an overhead radial arm saw.

Side table with twisty legs. Another easy woodworking project.

Scrap wood project wall clock. I would buy a cheap quartz clock movement with hands.

Diy wooden blocks

Model of DIY wooden blocks. Fun things you can do with your scrap wood pile. Add more blocks as you go. 

The dimensions are based on 9mm or 3/8 inch which means that you can use 18mm thick stock or 1 inch timber.

You may have seen a few examples of this geometric sculpture. Turns out it is an easy woodworking project you can make from scrap wood or any other material that takes your fancy.

The SketchUp model is colour coded. Once I made the model, I realised all I need to cut is three lengths of red, three lengths of pink and five lengths of blue.

Cube puzzles

A wooden puzzle designed by Mineyuki Uyematsu. An easy woodworking project that would make the perfect gift.

Crooked playhouse plans

Have you ever wanted to build a playhouse with a difference? How about these crooked playhouse plans.

It may look difficult, but once again when I made the Sketchup model, I realised that the gable ends and the sides are actually the same. 

So now I can make a playhouse of any size using these dimensions. 

Scale the dimensions and you have any number of projects:

  1. An indoor playhouse made with corrugated cardboard. In fact, if you hinge the joints, it folds flat.
  2. Dare I say a dolls house?
  3. A dog kennel. Fido would love it.
  4. Cats love cardboard boxes.
  5. A crooked birdhouse project.
  6. A letter box for your front yard.

3D Warehouse

For all of these SketchUp models and more visit my page at 3D Warehouse.

A work in progress - Sketchup model of a wooden toy train.

A model of a backyard train from a set of sketches I found in a vintage copy of the Popular Mechanics magazine.

I am hoping to build one sometime. This model is a quarter of the size of the one in the original article.

I have been working on this quarter scale model of a backyard train I found in Popular Mechanics magazine. The only plans available are technical illustrations. There is enough detail in there for me to make a model, so I did. 

What I would like to share here is how easy it is to make errors of accuracy when building prototypes from scratch.

Looking at the technical illustrations, I decided that the critical components are the chassis with the drive wheel, and the pilot truck.

wooden toy train work in progressPrototype work in progress

Photo of the prototype that I am using to make the 3D model.

So far, so good, or so I thought. The problem is, and it is not that obvious at all, is that the front end of the component part is higher than the back end by about 10mm.

Only realized this when I came to measure it up for the Sketchup model.

Side view of the chassis, drive wheel and pilot truck.

Read more about the backyard wooden train and download the plans.

Inspired by Pinterest

A few models I made to practice using SketchUp.

Nested Cubes The photo on the left was uploaded by Mary Katherine Gholson to Pinterest.

Without going into too much detail, this is a short description of how I made the model: started with the smallest cube and three intersecting cylinders. Deleted the faces I did not want, and saved that as a component. 

To complete the model, I simply scaled up copies of the component to created a nest of cubes.

How would I make one? At first I thought I would use a drill press, but maybe this is a woodworking project for wood turners.

How you can learn from my mistakes.

How you can learn from my mistakes. I am trying to model a wooden tub with sloping sides.

Starting with a previous model based on a wooden beer mug. Ten segments which means the inside angle is 18 degrees.

I copied one of the segments and rotated it 12 degrees.

Here I have drawn a polygon with 10 sides.

I used the push-pull function to extrude it to the height, then deleted everything to leave just the polygon frame. Offset that to match the segments to achieve what you see in the image.

In this step, I select the edge of the segment and move it to the corner of the polygon.

Have a look at the image, it makes more sense than me trying to describe it.

This is a cut away section of the project. The mistake I made is to leave the slots in the segments. This has caused the faces to misbehave.

Once again, I hope that it is clear if you study the image.

Sketchup is an amazing 3D modelling application, but it does have its quirks. I hope that by sharing my mistakes, you can also learn something.

By the way, there is another reason I wanted to model this woodworking project.

Have you ever noticed in making a box with sloping sides, the miter edges don't seem to match? Well, I thought that if I were to model this in Sketchup, I would be able to solve that by measuring the angle. Also, it would be another reason to practice my modelling skills.

There is a solution for that. Mathius Wandel from has produced a spreadsheet that is free to download.

Angular Dimensions in Sketchup

For those of us who would like to annotate angular dimensions:

Extension for Angular Dimensions Authors Steve Baumgartner and John McClenahan.

I found a few Sketchup for woodworking resources because we use this 3D modelling software in unique ways. Tutorials, tips and techniques

Here are a few places I have been on my journey of discovery.

sketchUcation for beginners.