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Thread: Follow ALong Project - Part 3a - Drawing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA

    Follow ALong Project - Part 3a - Drawing

    This is a long post, as I went into some detail about drawing with SketchUp. That's for you folks who wanted to learn how. I'll post it here but I will also attach a .pdf file so you can easily print it and try the drawing yourself.

    Don't forget to save when you are drawing. The program automatically saves the file every 5 minutes which you can change when you get fast. Open a new file and save it first. Then draw and you'll be fine.

    OK, you've been warned.

    Drawing the cabinet.

    The material I am using is Baltic Birch plywood. Its thickness (which is relevant to joinery) is measured in millimeters. So I will change my units to metric. I find the „fixed‟ dimension of what I am drawing and change the units to match. In this case, the thickness of the material is an important dimension of the joinery and I can‟t change the thickness. It is what it is. So, to make things easier, I simply choose the measuring units that match what I can‟t change. The brain will catch on pretty quickly. It is quite adaptable!

    Windows>Preferences>Template>Product Design and Wood…Units: Millimeters

    The really cool thing is that I can mix my units – as long as I indicate so in the Measurements Box. Use „mm‟ immediately after the number for millimeters and „ “ „ immediately after inch measurements. Or, since my brain is also using inches, I keep a calculator handy. To get millimeters, I multiply the inch measurement by 25.4. To get inches, divide millimeters by 25.4. Round to one decimal point. If, in this set-up I stay with entering millimeters, I don‟t need to include the “mm” after the number. It is only when I mix the units in the Measurement Box. But because it can be done, doesn‟t mean it ought to be.

    Make a little crib sheet of important measurements for this drawing.
    Thickness of the sides and ends = 19mm
    Thickness of the back = 7mm
    Height = 28” or 711.2mm or rounded up to 712mm
    Width and Depth = 18” or 457.2mm or rounded up to 458mm
    Thickness of the back = 7mm

    I rounded up to get to a whole number; the beauty of working in millimeters. I went up because there will be drawer slides. They are metric as well. And allowances there are critical, so I give myself the fraction of a millimeter. Besides, whole numbers are just plain easier. And I can see a half of a millimeter, if it comes to part of one, but I can‟t see less than that.

    I draw each piece of the cabinet, draw the joinery, make as many identical pieces as needed, and connect the pieces. It is easier than it sounds. First I draw the left side.

    Select the Rectangle tool. It is the square shape in the tool bar. The curser will change to a pencil with a little box behind it.

    Click on the intersection of the colored lines, move the mouse to a shape like the edge of a board, so the thickness is along the red line and the width is along the green line. Click again. Before you do anything else, type the thickness of the side and the width of the side, separated by a comma. In this case 19,458. Enter. The shape will snap to the desired measurements. You are looking at the footprint of the side.

    If you can‟t see what you just drew, you will need to zoom in. Place the curser at the intersection of the colored lines and roll the mouse wheel away from you until you can see the shape.

    We all have always wanted a board stretcher. This is the greatest! We will use the push/pull tool.

    Click on the push/pull tool. It is a box shape with an up arrow on it in the toolbar. Your curser will look exactly like the toolbar button. Click in the middle of the shape. Notice that the shape (called a „face‟ in Sketch-Up) is filled with little dots. That confirms that this is what you have selected. Holding the left mouse button down, move the cursor up. The face comes with it, making a 3 dimensional drawing of the side. Release the mouse button. Type 712 and press Enter. Viola! Instant board stretcher!

    Push the space bar. This keeps from drawing, moving, or changing things unintentionally. The cursor becomes an arrow. Think of it like „neutral‟ or „park‟ on the car‟s gear shift.

    If the side is bigger than the screen, press Alt+Z or click on the Zoom Extent button. It looks like a magnifying glass with arrows. The side will now take up the whole screen. This is a really cool button. It instantly shows you everything you have drawn, even if it is way off somewhere. I use it as a housekeeping tool to keep my drawing clean of errant stuff. Hey, it happens!

    If you are following along for the purpose of learning how to use SketchUp, take a moment to look around – literally. Type “O” (the letter). The cursor becomes circled arrows. Click anywhere on the drawing, holding the left mouse button down, and move the mouse around. Notice how your view of the side changes. You can look at it at any angle. Now roll your mouse wheel towards you. It‟s like you stepped further away.

    Click on the Pan tool. It looks like a hand. Place it on your drawing, click and move side to side or up and down, or diagonally. When you get done, click of the isometric view of the little houses. Your drawing immediately takes on that view. Click on the other houses and watch what happens. I‟ll bet you are a whole lot more comfortable now with what you are doing.

    Now SketchUp becomes a milling tool. Orient your view to see the top front corner of the side. Click on the front elevation of the little houses.

    The intention is to draw the rabbet to receive the top. It will sit on 13mm ledge of the rabbet, flush with the end of the side. (See the numbers in my crib sheet above.)t Click on the Tape tool, or type „T.‟ Click anywhere on the right edge of the side and move the cursor to the left. Click. Enter “13.” Now click on the top edge, move the cursor down. Click. Enter 19.” You will have intersection dotted lines that indicate the side of the rabbet.

    Click on the Line tool or type “L.” The cursor becomes a pencil. Draw a line from top along the dotted line and then to the right along the dotted line.

    Change the view so you can see the entire top width of the side. Click on the Isometric view of the little houses or use the orbit tool. Zoom as needed.

    Select push/pull, or type “P.” Place the curser on the little rectangle you just drew. Click and move the cursor to the back of the side. You just milled the rabbet. Now change your view until you are looking at the bottom front corner and mill another rabbet there.

    The back will be rabbeted in as well. I like to sit it on a 3/8” flat. In this case that would be 11mm. The thickness of the back material is 7mm.

    Reorient the view until you are looking at the top back corner. Repeat with the Tape, Line, and Push/pull tools to mill the rabbet for the back.

    Time to make the other side. We will do that with the Copy command. This command is embedded in the Move command so pay close attention. But first we want to group all those lines of the left side into one entity. There are two commands to do this. One is Component and the other is Group. They will both look alike, but they will act differently to changes. Components can be named. Groups cannot. Either can be exploded to separate the entities (lines) if needed.

    I just want to copy this side and flip it around so the inside faces face each other, so I will group it. I want all the lines I‟ve drawn thus far to be included, so I typed Ctrl+A. Notice every face has dotted lines. Now Edit>Make Group, or if you‟ve added my keyboard command additions, type Alt+G. There is now a blue bounding box surrounding the side. Press the space bar and the bounding box goes away. Click on the drawing and it comes back, meaning this is what you have selected.

    There are probably better ways to do this, but this is what I understand. The left side has been grouped. I want to make a copy. Orient the view to isometric. Select the side. It turns blue. Select the
    Move tool. It looks like 4 intersecting arrows. Hold down the Crtl key and move the side to the right, maintaining a red dotted line between the two. It means you are moving the along the red axis. That means the front edges of the sides will be in the same plane. Click. It is where it is.

    The rest in Part 3b.

    Part 1

    Part 2

    Part 2 - Update

    Part 3a

    Part 3b

    Part 4

    Part 5

    Part 6
    Last edited by Darren Wright; 08-12-2010 at 01:12 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Great write-up, Carol. I've got it bookmarked for further digestion. Same with Part 3a. thumb:
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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