I have recently been making extensive use of SketchUp to model my woodworking projects before I make them. The more I use it and the more competent I get with it, the more I realise what an astonishingly valuable tool it is. Particularly given that its free.
As woodworkers, like any other artists, we will often have a vision in our minds eye as to how a project we are planning will look when completed. But how often is that vision flawed? How often do we wish, once the project is done, that we could go back and tweak this dimension or that? Or change a line, or soften a curve, or simplify the design?
Well now we can.
SketchUp of course is not new – its been around for years in fact. And to tell the truth if, like me, you want to do more than pull a few flat shapes into a rough 3D representation of your piece, it’s not that easy to learn .
In fact, if you want to construct the virtual work completely, just as you would the real world counterpart with all it’s joinery and fine detail, it can be a real pain in the ass to learn.
But its worth it!
SketchUp will help you better visualize and understand your design, it will help you make few makes when you are building your piece and will make the end result all that it can be.
If you don’t have SketchUp, get it from here: http://www.sketchup.com/download.
If you have it already, fire it up and learn to use it well (competence is it’s own reward!).
If you’re already great at it, find someone you can teach to use it.
I promise you that using SketchUp will make you a better designer and it will make you a better woodworker. And hey, now you can do woodworking when you’re sitting at your desk. Gotta like that right?
This chair is my latest project. The model is as yet unfinished, but its getting there. No doubt you’ll be seeing more of this chair as it is constructed.
A few useful SketchUp links:
If you have any good sketchup related links, please feel free to put them in a comment.