Plywood Edge – Creating a New Material in SketchUp
There are a number of new features in SketchUp 7. One of them is called Combine Textures. I think this one is somewhat overlooked but it can have some uses for us woodworkers. The description for Combine Textures in Google’s What’s New in the Release document is this:
“The Combine Textures menu item combines separate textures on adjacent co-planar faces into a single larger texture. This feature also, optionally, removes edges between co-planar faces to reduce the polygon count for the model as a whole. Context-click on multiple selected parallel faces, with at least one face having a texture, and select “Combine Textures” to create a texture which is unique to that set of faces.”
I used this recently for a split top drafting table I’ve been working on. I needed a plywood edge material and rather than searching for one I made it in a few seconds. Here’s how.
I started with a rectangle that I drew as 3/4″ high. The length is unimportant in this case. I wanted the final texture to fit 3/4″ plywood so I laid it out to scale. The material can be scaled later but in this case it’s easy enough to draw it to size which will make it simpler to use later.
Using guidelines, I laid out the limits for the layers of the plywood. Then I drew in horizontal lines along the guidelines. I went so far as draw the outer layers as thinner than the inner ones. I also made an odd number of plies.
Then I applied a light-colored wood grain material to alternating layers. Then I used a brown color on the remaining layers. One of the materials needs to be a texture. Combine textures doesn’t work with only colors.
I selected the faces and then right clicked on one of them to get the context menu. I chose Combine Textures and then clicked on OK to have the coplanar lines removed.
At this point the new material shows with a thumbnail in the In Model section of the Materials browser. I gave it a name and clicked on Create Material. Then I opened the secondary Materials Browser. I set the secondary window to the desired library, Wood1 in this case, and then clicked on and dragged the new material from the In Model library to the Wood1 library.
That’s all there is to this one. It probably takes longer to read this than to do it.