Learning Google SketchUp for Woodworking

I had tried to learn to use Google SketchUp before to aid in design of woodworking projects.\

The program, on its face, is very easy to learn to use and really cool (and free).  Unfortunately, in my prior attempts to use it for “real” I have always been stopped by small details that I just could not get to work the way that I wanted, and I always reverted to pencil and paper.  The program is far more powerful than it looks, and there are a myriad of  tiny details and tricks that are hidden from the user.  This hidden power makes the program LOOK much simpler to use than it really is.   To do SketchUp right, it takes some practice.  But it’s worth it.

This year, prior to going to WIA last month, I became determined to learn SketchUp and fight may way through my hangups.  After all, I deal with technology all day and I ought to be able to learn to design using this program.

I’m happy to report, that after taking Bob Lang’s SketchUp seminar at WIA, and then practicing at home using Bob’s SketchUp DVDs, I’m now successfully using SketchUp to design furniture.  I love the program.  It is very useful.

For those of you wanting to learn to use SketchUp for furniture making, I highly recommend buying Bob Lang’s two DVDs. Bob makes clear the small “details” that turned SketchUp from frustrating to highly useful.  Bob generated many “ah-ha” moments that solved my prior problems.  Additionally, I bought the book  Google SketchUp: The Missing Manual by Chris Grover.  Between Bob’s DVDs and the Grover book, I have been making rapid progress at learning SketchUp at last.

I will post the small SketchUp tips that have made a difference for me as I come across them.

First tip, you need to learn to use the keyboard shortcuts.  I did not do this until now.  I am not sure that you can use SketchUp effectively without the keyboard shortcuts, particularly for the camera and view tools.

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About mattsanf

Matthew Sanfilippo is currently Executive Director of PSII (Pennsylvania Smart Infrastructure Incubator) and ICES (Institute for Complex Engineered Systems), and Associate Director of PITA (Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). Prior to CMU, Matthew was Director of Applied Technology for Michael Baker Corporation, a large engineering and energy services firm. Matt managed a technology consulting division for Baker including Geographic Information System (GIS), software and web development, multimedia, virtual reality (VR), visualization, Global Positioning System (GPS), mapping and surveying services. Before joining Baker, Matt was an Innovation Director for Redleaf Group, a Venture Capital/Operating Company focused on Information Security, Supply Chain, Network and Mobility Solutions. While at Redleaf, Matt managed technical due diligence for seed-stage investments and coordinated relationships between Redleaf and their partner companies after investment. Prior to Redleaf, Matt was CIO of GZA GeoEnvironmental Technologies, a Boston-based engineering firm, and operations manager for their Internet start-up division that focused on web-technologies for health and safety and manufacturing metrics. Matt is current board member and past Chairman of the Board for the Botanic Garden of Western Pennsylvania, a board member of the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation (PHLF), and a former member of the Information Sciences and Technology Advisory Board for the Pennsylvania State University Beaver. Matt is also a former Vice President of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Association of Internet Professionals and former Vice President of the Board of Trustees for Baker Combined Charity of Pennsylvania.

Posted on October 16, 2010, in Google SketchUp, Tools and Shop, Woodworking. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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