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

My Adventures in Skechup

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

sketchUcation for beginners.

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.  

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

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.

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.

Instead of embedding the 3D warehouse code directly into this page, I shall make a Image/Text list for each one.

For the purpose of testing, I have included the frame busting code into the Edit Page Info.

This is a great feature, but it may take too long to load if I have many of them on one page.

So, I shall export an image, save it in the WTP image files folder under the newly created Sketchup folder.

In the meantime, here is a direct link to the 3D Warehouse model of the toy car roadster.