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daveo
01-20-2012, 04:11 PM
Before I download Google Sketchup and sink a bunch of time in it, does Sketchup have any practical purpose?

As in, will it make drawings of basic parts and dimension them for a Cam program... Curious, I see a few people using it. I guess im curious to see what everyone else is using it for:D

Gunney
01-20-2012, 04:41 PM
I have been using Sketchup for a couple of months now and really like it. I use it for designing stuff I'm making, and then for printing out dimensioned drawings. I don't know if the free version will interface with CAM packages, but there are some others here who may know. One thing I will say, though, is that if you have previous experience with CAD packages, Sketchup is not at all intuitive. Once I got used to it, though, I was ecstatic about what all it could do with respect to its price (free). I bought a PDF book titled "Sketchup Guide for Woodworkers" from Taunton Press that saved me untold hours of frustration.

Peter.
01-20-2012, 04:55 PM
I use it all the time to produce method statements and sequence-of-work documents in demolition. For that, it's brilliant.

Evan
01-20-2012, 07:42 PM
The spider that I used in my fan assembly I posted a couple of days ago was drawn in Sketchup, exported to DXF, imported to CamBam and cut from aluminum on my CNC mill. Design time was a few minutes. I could have designed it in CamBam but Sketchup was faster and easier.

I'll be posting a rather much more complex project either tonight or tomorrow which is entirely designed in Sketchup complete to the last screw. You will be able to download the model from the 3D Warehouse. I routinely do all my designing in Sketchup and always work to .0001 tolerance in the drawings even though that may not be the build tolerance.

Sketchup is far more powerful than it appears at first glance. It is a matter of learning how to use it for precision designing. It is well equipped for it although it doesn't look like it at first. It will work to 0.000001". Good enough for most jobs.

alsinaj
01-20-2012, 07:47 PM
Evan, Can you give some pointers on where to learn more about using Sketchup as a precision design tool? Thanks. J

Evan
01-20-2012, 08:03 PM
A general but very important concept is to stop trying to draw things accurately with the mouse. Whatever the particular command being used the mouse it used to create the initial direction, extrude, rotate, scale, or whatever but the actual value for the distance, angle etc you input via the keyboard. That is the same as other 3D cad programs but Sketchup is so easy to draw with that it seems to make it unnecessary. It is still necessary.

Go here for the official documentation.

http://support.google.com/sketchup/?hl=en

For the best help resources join the SketchUcation forum and when you have a question ask there. There are a lot of helpful people there. I even drop in sometimes in the Sketchy Physics forum.

http://sketchucation.com/

A little hint on using Sketchup is to pay very close attention to the tiny icon that appears beside the mouse pointer when drawing. What it indicates is very important as it is telling you where the inference engine is placing the vertex or endpoint and to what it may be connected.

Every command in Sketchup also has keyboard modifier keys that make the drawing engine behave in special ways. Learn how to use those keys and life will instantly become much easier.

The Quick Reference Card at the support link above has all those special keyboard modifiers listed.

Evan
01-20-2012, 11:33 PM
I completely forgot to mention what is probably the single most useful plugin for Sketchup, especially for precision work. It is called Mover 2. It is a small utility that permits moving a group of entities or many groups with absolute precision in any direction. It also provides angular movements in any axis. It is absolutely invaluable for placing duplicate objects to rapidly construct arrays of entire groups such as rows of screwheads on both sides of an object. Simply select the items, Copy from the edit menu, move the already selected items to where ever and then on the edit menu select Paste in place. Instant duplicate entities in the correct places.

You can download Mover-2 from here along with a raft of other excellent free plugins:

http://sketchuptips.blogspot.com/2007/08/plugin-mover-2.html

It is also far more convenient than the hide function because the hide function is very limited. Select a group and use the mover to shift it out of the way in any direction. I use this constantly. Put the item back by selecting it and shifting the opposite direction. Note that the mover tool can only move groups and components.

That brings up another important point. Group everything, absolutely everything. That way it protects geometry in that group. It will not be changed or interact with other geometry in another group. Nothing should be left ungrouped. It makes that geometry vulnerable to accidental changes. This will result in surfaces that look planar but really aren't. Use the show Hidden Geometry on the view menu to discover invisible vectors that indicate a plane isn't actually planar. Grouping makes it much more difficult to corrupt the model geometry. That is by far the most common problem people have working with Sketchup.

The hide function is also very useful for reaching inside objects. You can hide anything at all including single faces, single lines, faces and line, entire groups or the entire project. When items are hidden they are still interacting with the rest of the model unless they are locked. When finished dinking around with something that was behind a face then go to the edit menu and select Unhide last.

When you are messing around with hidden objects you must be in the same context to unhide them. If you had group 49 selected and open when you hid the front face you must have the same group open to unhide it. Or, you can select Hidden Geometry and all hidden objects will show up. Select what you want to unhide and on the edit menu select Unhide selected.

Another item for precision work is the ruler tool. Use it to create Construction lines that you can snap things to. This is an absolute must for all facets of precision work. I make, use and erase C-lines constantly for nearly everything I draw. If you find that you cannot seem to erase the C-lines just pick Select none from the edit menu and then select Delete guides.

Whew....

quasi
01-21-2012, 12:50 AM
Evan, are you using the Pro version?

Evan
01-21-2012, 01:24 AM
No, the pro version doesn't have anything I need that I can't get with a plugin.

Black Forest
01-21-2012, 02:05 AM
Sketch Up is great for Evan. He likes to dig around and find the plug-ins that you need to get the job done. Not me. I like to open the program and design something. Not spend my time trying to "get" the program to do what I want it to do. I hate work arounds.

I use Alibre Design Expert. It is not cheap but not quite as expensive as SolidWorks.

Evan always writes that he doesn't like Alibre Design but he hasn't tried the latest version I believe. He has invested so much time and effort to learn to use Sketchup that he doesn't try other software. I don't blame him.

DigiSnapMark
01-21-2012, 01:14 PM
+1 on Alibre. I've been using it for years, but still remember the joy I had at finding how easy it was to design 3D stuff. I looked at Sketchup once, and was quite unimpressed. Are you going to design machine stufff, or wooden toys...

I think you can get started with Alibre quite cheaply.

Evan
01-21-2012, 02:00 PM
Are you going to design machine stufff, or wooden toys...

Heh. You be the judge.

http://ixian.ca/pics9/hipdrive1.jpg

This is for an upcoming project.

Black Forest
01-21-2012, 02:07 PM
I found SketchUp to be difficult to change the size of an object later in the design process. It is not truly parametric in that regard as far as I was able to ascertain. But it is free!

I don't know about the rest of you but my projects change alot. When I wanted to change the size of something it was not easy. Maybe things have changed in the last couple of years.

Punkinhead
01-21-2012, 02:16 PM
I found SketchUp to be difficult to change the size of an object later in the design process. That was my primary beef with it too. Maybe I just didn't stick with it long enough to figure it out. I've had no trouble becoming proficient with Alibre (at home) and Solidworks (at work). The Sketchup paradigm just doesn't click with me which is a shame since I like the price.

Evan
01-21-2012, 02:23 PM
You are right in that it is not truly parametric. That is a drawback sometimes. However, everything may be scaled anyway you wish. When you scale something so do the dimensions you have applied to the object. Once scaled you can apply the new scale as the default size instead of a scaled size.

Like all other CAD programs there is a lot to learn. I have tried many programs and Sketchup has more flexibility that any other I have tried. It is much easier to use than most if you take the time to learn the various "tricks". That applies to all software but with SketchUp the end of the learning curve is more rewarding than the others.

SketchUp has a large number of "hidden" functions that make drawing very fast and precise. They are "hidden" to avoid scaring off people that just want to do a little 3D sketching. In actual fact they aren't hidden at all. They are all sitting there ready to use, all you have to do is learn how to use them.

Speaking of hidden tricks, if you scale an object in all three dimensions at once to a value of minus 1 it produces a mirror image of the object.

loose nut
01-21-2012, 05:45 PM
I was unable to find a Boolean subtraction or cut function as it is frequently called. That makes it difficult to use for many things. Maybe it is one of those hidden function.

Evan
01-21-2012, 06:40 PM
There is a plugin that gives the CSG functions the same as in the Pro version.

It's OSCoolean. See here:

http://forums.sketchucation.com/viewtopic.php?f=323&t=14773

sbmathias
01-21-2012, 07:01 PM
I have tried several times to use Sketchup, and have always been stumped as to how to make dimensioned drawings. I see absolutely nothing in the standard documentation about this.

Where can I find information about making drawings that I can print out and take to the shop?

.RC.
01-21-2012, 07:05 PM
I use Alibre Design Expert. It is not cheap but not quite as expensive as SolidWorks.

Evan always writes that he doesn't like Alibre Design but he hasn't tried the latest version I believe. He has invested so much time and effort to learn to use Sketchup that he doesn't try other software. I don't blame him.

Exactly, plus Alibre Design Expert costs what $500? $1000?

Compared to free with Sketchup...

I have a cheap version of Alibre, but it never seemed to do anything logically so I gave up trying to use it...

Same with sketchup...

Evan
01-21-2012, 07:18 PM
Where can I find information about making drawings that I can print out and take to the shop?

See the online documentation.

Here is the section on dimensions. Note the tabs on the page for different type of dimensions.

http://support.google.com/sketchup/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=94982

There is also a plugin that will disassemble a solid object into faces and lay them out in drawing format.

http://forums.sketchucation.com/viewtopic.php?t=35096

Gunney
01-21-2012, 07:22 PM
The way I do dimensioned drawings is to place a copy of the component I want to dimension in a clear area. Most often, I want an isometric type of dimensioned drawing, so I change from a perspective view to parallel projection (an option in the camera menu) and then place my dimensions. I always create a "scene" for each dimensioned drawing (and all other major views, assemblies, sub-assemblies, etc.) and it will save all the info for camera angle, parallel projection, etc. as part of the scene. Just click on the tab to go to that scene and print out your dimensioned drawing. I do the same thing for exploded parts views, except I usually leave them in perspective view. I picked up most of this kind of info in the book I mentioned in a previous post. Everything else I glean from various internet sources such as the ones Evan has mentioned.

Evan
01-21-2012, 07:45 PM
I do all work in parallel view. Perspective view is for looks only and can be useful sometimes for placing pasted entities. It isn't often that I paste entities freehand though. I nearly always paste them in place so the precise location is known. Then I use the Mover plugin to place the part in the exact location.

Otherwise, parallel view is far more accurate to work in.

sbmathias
01-21-2012, 08:04 PM
See the online documentation.

Here is the section on dimensions. Note the tabs on the page for different type of dimensions.

http://support.google.com/sketchup/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=94982


Maybe I need to back up just a little. How do you even make a drawing to start with? It seems to me that what Sketchup calls a drawing is what I call a model or a modeled object. (I'm used to the SolidWorks terminology.) I assume that you make a drawing that is based on the object that you model. Do you instead just put dimensions on the modeled object, then somehow print that? What about views and such? As I said, I couldn't find anything about this in the documentation, but it may be because I was looking for the wrong terms.

Punkinhead
01-21-2012, 08:11 PM
The way I do dimensioned drawings is to place a copy of the component I want to dimension in a clear area. Most often, I want an isometric type of dimensioned drawing, so I change from a perspective view to parallel projection (an option in the camera menu) and then place my dimensions. Does it do hidden lines?

Gunney
01-21-2012, 10:04 PM
Yes, it does hidden lines. It will also do a wire-frame view. In answer to sbmathias' question, to start a drawing, I simply start drawing lines. As Evan has mentioned, the most important thing is to make sure you know your lines are co-planar. This caused me a little difficulty at first, but is no longer a problem after a little practice. You just select the line tool (it looks like a pencil) or use the "L" key for the keyboard shortcut. Click somewhere to anchor your endpoint. What I do then is move the cursor just a little in the direction I want and ensure the line is proceeding along the axis I want (the line will assume the color of the axis you are drawing along, red, green or blue), or I will use one of the arrow keys to force the direction, then I type in the length I want and hit enter. Now the second endpoint is anchored. Move the cursor a little more (or use the arrow key to force the direction) and type in the length of this side. I continue this until I have defined a face of the part I'm drawing. At this point I have a two-dimensional plane surface and that is where I turn it into a "component." Switch back to the selection tool (it looks like an arrow, spacebar is the shortcut) and right click on the surface you just drew and pick "select" from the pop-up menu and then "bounding edges" from the cascade menu (alternatively, you can simply click and drag a selection rectangle around it, but that can be tricky if you have lots of other parts in the drawing). Now your new surface and its defining edges are selected and highlighted in blue. Right-click on the surface again and select "Make Component" from the pop-up menu. Give it a name in the pop-up that appears and hit enter. It is now a component. Right-click on it again and select "Edit Component" from the pop-up menu. Now I use the "Push" tool to extrude the surface into the 3rd dimension (the "P" key is the shortcut). Hover the cursor over the surface and click the mouse. Now move the cursor in the direction you want (or use the arrow keys to force the direction) and type in the thickness of the part and hit enter. Now you have a 3-dimensional part. That usually how I start a drawing. I create a surface, make it into a component, extrude the component into the 3rd dimension, and then using lines, arcs, circles, etc., I continue adding features until it is the exact thing that I am wanting to draw. Each distinct part gets defined as a component. If I have an assembly of mating parts, each part is a component, and then I define the whole assembly as a component. After you do it a few times it is much easier and quicker to do it than it is to describe it.

sbmathias
01-21-2012, 10:54 PM
So, do you model the object, and then separately draw the drawing???

Guess I'm spoiled with SolidWorks. There, you create a 3D model, then make a drawing (a separate file) that points to that model. The software creates any views you want. You can add dimensions or have it do that for you. It will calculate weight, surface area, etc if desired. If you change the model, the drawing file will be updated. You can do all of this for single parts or assemblies of parts.

panofish
01-21-2012, 11:07 PM
I think sketchup is pretty awesome for what it is.
I decided to test it out and see if I could create a 3d version of my sherline cnc mill. Was pretty easy actually and I didn't use any plugins, but I'm sure as I use it more I'll discover all the tricks and plugins to make life easier.

You do need the pro version though to export to dxf.

http://home.comcast.net/~panofish/pics/sherline.jpg

Gunney
01-21-2012, 11:50 PM
No, there is no distinction between drawing and modeling. I do, however, place multiple instances of things in a model. For example, if I have something I've modeled that is an assembly of various parts, I will one view, or "scene" that shows all the parts assembled into the final assembly. I might or might not have notes or a few dimensions on this view. Elsewhere, I'll place another instance and move all the parts of the assembly away from each other in an exploded view, again, with or without notes or dimensions. Elsewhere, I'll place an instance of a part I want to print out as a dimensioned isometric drawing I can use to make the part, and will place dimensions on it. Elsewhere, I'll place another part, etc. I don't have to redraw, or recreate the parts for each view, I just place whichever dimensions or notes I need for that particular view. People who have never used a CAD package say that it is really easy to learn Sketchup. I spent a few years as a draftsman right when CAD first became commercially available, so I went from drawing by hand, to the earliest versions of AutoCad, and then for the last several years I've been using a scaled-down Autodesk product called "QuickCad" because it was all I could afford. With that background, I found Sketchup to be completely counter-intuitive at first. Once I persisted, though, I have come to like it quite a bit. It is quick and easy to do simple stuff, and it is robust enough to do quite complex stuff. As with anything, you just have to get used to the tool and learn how best to use it. For the price, it's just like a sore pecker, you just can't beat it. ;)

alsinaj
01-22-2012, 12:03 AM
Sketchup has a companion program called Layout that does drawings of Sketchup models. Takes a bit of getting used to, but can make professional drawings with dimensions, labels, etc., including cross-sections on any plane you want.

beni73005
01-22-2012, 01:14 AM
Evan, I printed the Quick Reference Card from the google site, and all the tools, operations and instructions were just a bunch of unintelligible dots and dashes. How can I get a usable copy out of that? Thanks. BEN

Evan
01-22-2012, 01:42 AM
The reference "card" need to be printed as a poster. You will need to cut it up into pieces to make it legible. I will see if I can find some time to do that.

There is a free plugin for just about anything you want to do with the free version. That includes exporting an importing DXF, STL, OBJ, and a variety of other formats. Sketchup also automatically calculates surface area and volume although not weight. There is a plugin for weight too.

It does hidden lines but better is it also does layers. You can place dimensions on their own layer. You can place lines on a layer, surfaces, groups and components. Every aspect of the model can be controlled and displayed in any way you want including 3D, 2D, isometric, perspective, parallel, monochrome, X-ray, endpoints highlighted, line weights adjustable, hidden line, non hidden line, back lines visible, full textures, shading only, monochrome and a very wide variety of sketch modes for client presentations. Line colours are adjustable according to colour, axis or contrast with background.

With plugins you can draw on curved surfaces of any shape. Sketchup easily generates compound curves and there are plugins to generate shapes by formula. It also allows any shape or solid to be distorted in many different ways including very precise ways. Sketchup also keeps track of the front and back of surfaces and follows different rules for each side (which make sense).

There are no limitations on what you can draw with Sketchup, both 2D and 3D.

Evan
01-22-2012, 01:51 AM
I generally don't dimension anything as I draw because I draw everything to precise scale. I use .0001" as my standard drawing precision for everything. If I need a dimensioned drawing on something then I extract it from the model (if necessary) and throw some dimensions on it for in the shop.

I am behind on the project that I was going to post today so it won't be up until tomorrow. It is a project that some people might want to build. I won't be putting any dimensions on it since it is accurately modeled. There is no point anyway since if you want to build it you will need Sketchup to take it apart and see all the pieces. It is trivial to measure parts in Sketchup. Items such as the radius of a circle can be found by simply selecting the line that defines the circle. The radius will be displayed in the entity window along with the area.

fixerdave
01-22-2012, 03:45 AM
... instructions were just a bunch of unintelligible dots and dashes....

...---... Ah, see, now that's part of the learning curve for SketchUp... you have to learn Morse Code first, or you can use the Ruby plug-in that converts Morse to ASCII ;)


...


---


...



Sorry, couldn't resist :D

Oh, for those that hate Youtub video tutorials, preferring instead to read, there's my SketchUp notes here:
http://fixerdave.blogspot.com/2011/05/google-sketchup-notes.html

David...

gcude
01-22-2012, 11:51 AM
I think sketchup is pretty awesome for what it is.
I decided to test it out and see if I could create a 3d version of my sherline cnc mill. Was pretty easy actually and I didn't use any plugins, but I'm sure as I use it more I'll discover all the tricks and plugins to make life easier.

You do need the pro version though to export to dxf.

http://home.comcast.net/~panofish/pics/sherline.jpg

Nice job on the mill! I have been working to decide which tools I want to use as I get into CNC with a small mill like the Sherline or Taig. I tried the different versions of "free" Sketchup, trying to make sure I was able to export or save in DXF and or STL. I found that you CAN do both with plugins.

http://www.guitar-list.com/download-software/convert-sketchup-skp-files-dxf-or-stl

I'm using the above plugin with the free version of Sketchup 8 and using the files produced to open in Cambam. I'm still learning both Sketchup and Cambam, but like what I see so far. I've also tried other Cad Cam apps both integrated and seperate and the Sketchup/Cambam combo seems to be a winner.

daveo
01-22-2012, 12:04 PM
Heh. You be the judge.

http://ixian.ca/pics9/hipdrive1.jpg

This is for an upcoming project.

Well. thats pretty impressive! That is the type of parts I want to be able to do...

gcude
01-22-2012, 12:13 PM
Heh. You be the judge.

http://ixian.ca/pics9/hipdrive1.jpg

This is for an upcoming project.


Is it just me, or does it look similar to the 400 excavator part that failed on Gold Rush? ;)

Evan
01-22-2012, 03:17 PM
It's a compound planetary gearbox for a servo motor. It has a special clutch mechanism built in that isn't at all obvious from studying the model. It isn't something that I can buy off the shelf so I will have to build it. I will be explaining it sometime later in a new thread. It is just a part of a project.

I have resized and adjusted the Sketchup 8 Windows Quick Reference Card as two parts that can be printed clearly on 2 pieces of 8.5 x 11" or A4 paper.

Download them here:

http://ixian.ca/pics9/SU8_QRC_left.png 300K

http://ixian.ca/pics9/SU8_QRC_right.png 245K

You may either download by right clicking and selecting "save link as" or just click on it and it will open in a new tab where you can print it and save it.

Alan Smith
01-22-2012, 04:44 PM
Evan, can I ask please, did you draw the components of your planetary box individually and then import them in one by one and assemble them or do you just draw them all on one screen?

Evan
01-22-2012, 05:42 PM
I drew them all on one screen, part by part. Using components is essential to efficient use of available computer power. When you group something the internal description of everything in the group is stored independently for that group only. If you copy the group, say a screw head, each copy is another complete description of the part that must be stored and rendered independently of all the others, even if they are identical.

When you convert something to a component the description is stored and any copies of the component will be referred to that description. That means that even if you use 1000 of that component in a drawing it takes only a very small amount of data internally to point at the original description. This is very efficient and won't slow down the program when dealing with assemblies that have a large number of identical parts. Gears are a good example. Make one tooth, create it as a component and then create an array of them around a disc.

It also has the advantage of being able to change every instance of the component by just changing any one of them. Don't like the colour? Change one and they all change. Need to make just one a different colour? Make it unique from the right click menu and it will be made as a different component.

LHC
01-22-2012, 06:47 PM
Heh. You be the judge.

http://ixian.ca/pics9/hipdrive1.jpg

This is for an upcoming project.

Evan - I have been using Sketchup for woodworking for quite a while but have never really d/l any scripts etc. so I might be missing out on quite a bit. There's one aspect to this model that caught my eye - the green parts - their outline seems to be the smooth filleting of two curves where the mounting holes are. I have never been able to figure out this maneuver in Sketchup. In Autocad it's a joke - just use the fillet command where two circles intersect and you automatically get a proper continuous line with the right inflection point.

Did you do this with some magic plugin?

Thanks
Lewis

gearedloco
01-22-2012, 06:58 PM
[ ... ]

I have resized and adjusted the Sketchup 8 Windows Quick Reference Card as two parts that can be printed clearly on 2 pieces of 8.5 x 11" or A4 paper.

Download them here:

http://ixian.ca/pics9/SU8_QRC_left.png 300K

http://ixian.ca/pics9/SU8_QRC_right.png 245K

You may either download by right clicking and selecting "save link as" or just click on it and it will open in a new tab where you can print it and save it.

Is there a similar "...right" page somewhere for Mac rather than windows? I have a book on sketchup which points out many differences in the interface. Unfortunately it's a lot like Unix documentation - you have to know most of the answer before you can phrase the question.:confused:

beni73005
01-23-2012, 03:31 AM
Evan: Thanks for making the downloads for the Quick Reference Cards. Got them printed and pasted back-to-back ready to go. Appreciate your help, and read all your posts on SketchUp with great interest. BEN

Evan
01-23-2012, 04:12 AM
There is a reference card for the Mac. You can download it here.

http://dl.google.com/sketchup/gsu8/docs/en/SketchUp8RefcardMac.pdf

I haven't converted it like I did the Windows card. You should be able to print it to two pages with Foxit PDF reader though.

There is very complete documentation for the Mac version as well as Windows. It isn't a separate set of documents. They point out the differences when it matters.

Here is the link again to the main support site.

https://support.google.com/sketchup/?hl=en#topic=1734820

alsinaj
01-23-2012, 09:29 AM
If you want to use Sketchup, my humble advice is, get a book or two, like Google Sketchup for Dummies and/or Google Sketchup, The Missing Manual, and read them. Spend a few evenings reading them. You don't have to memorize them: just absorb the general approach, and be able to find relevant sections again when you need them. It will save you a great deal of frustration, and you will be able to do useful work with Sketchup very quickly.

alsinaj
01-23-2012, 10:07 AM
... get yourself a 3Dconnexion SpaceNavigator. You'll never go back.