How Much Wood Will It Take?
A while back, in the older Design. Click. Build. blog format I wrote a little about the latest version of the CutList and Layout plugin for SketchUp. This is an extremely handy tool written by a fellow called Steve Racz. I think it desrves another look.
The CutList plugin is quite simple to use but it does pay to have a clean and efificient model. It uses the size of bounding boxes to calculate the size of the element. For that reason it requires that all the elements that will be included in the cut list be either components or groups. I prefer to use components for a number of reasons. One important reason as far as this plugin is concerned is that components have their own axes which can be aligned to result in the smallest possible bounding box. Groups don’t offer that option. If you’re in the habit of drawing the parts of your model in place, you will have problems with groups on angled parts.
To use the plugin, select the elements in your model that should be included in the cut list. Then select CutList from the Plugins menu. A dialog box will open with some setting options.
The first page of this dialog box offers options for the sorts of output files you would like to create. Check the boxes as desired.
- Web Page will generate an HTML file that will be immediately displayed. This is a table listing the components in the model with their dimensions and materials if there are any.
- CSV creates a comma separated values file that can be opened in a spreadsheet application such as Excel. This would allow the data to be massaged as needed. You could add the math and columns to calculate costs and other information. when the plugin is run, a CSV file will be saved automatically in the same directory as the model.
- CutList Plus creates a file for use in that program.
- Layout creates graphical representations of the parts laid out on the stock. It is important to remember that at this point, there’s no allowance for saw kerfs. Steve has told me that he’s considering ways to add kerf allowance to the plugin.
- SVG Layout creates Scalable Vector Graphic images which will be saved automatically. These images can be opened in FireFox or many image eitors. I use a freeware application called Inkscape for that because I can get several images on a single sheet for printing.
Under Type you can choose the sorts of elements that will be included on the cut list. If you add words such as ‘part’ or ‘hardware’ to the name of the components and you have a check mark for Parts, There will be a section for parts on the cut list. This allows you to get a count of the hardware pieces in your model if you wish. Likewise, if you add ‘MDF’, ‘plywood’ or ‘sheet’ to the component name, it’ll be included in the sheet goods section. Parts don’t get any sort of dimension information and sheet goods are given in square foot dimensions rather than board feet.
Under the Layout tab there are options for defining the sizes of the stock you’ll be working with. the plugin can split thick or wide parts as needed to fit on the stock you indicate.
When you click on Run the plugin chugs away for a few moments. the more components in the model, the longer it takes but it should only be a few seconds. If you have Layout checked, a new box will pop up showing the solid stock and sheet goods laid out. Note there is a button labeled Print View but it is greyed out. The function is currently disabled.
Another window also opens showing the cut list with the elements sorted by the names. As you can see there’s a count of how many of each component is included. The dimensions and calculated board foot values are shown along with the material.
I find the CSV file most useful as I’m drawing plans for projects. That file can be formatted and then copied and pasted into the plan which I make in Layout 2, the companion prgram to SketchUp 7 Pro. For my use I don’t bother with the layout images from the plugin. All I need is the cutlist CSV file. This is generated almost instantly and is as accurate as the drawing I’ve made. this is a great labor and time saver for projects such as the drafting table shown below. This shows the first page of the plan.
And here’s the cutlist for it.
Speaking of accuracy, the precision of the plugin is tied to the Precision setting you have established in Model Info.
If you haven’t given the plugin a try yet, download it and give it a test drive.