Subscribe now and save up to 56%
Readers have recently mentioned difficulty in drawing a line to exact length and achieving a clean rectangle with a face. This is the most basic operation in SketchUp and without success here, chances of any further advancement are nil.
There are a number of things that get in the way of achieving this basic skill for beginners for example:
As an exercise in building this skill, let’s use this component which is a piece of a maple workbench. At first we will only create the front face of the component (no 3D nor cut outs or embellishments).
Step 1: Pick the line tool. To start the line click the left mouse button and immediately release the mouse button. DO NOT HOLD DOWN THE LEFT MOUSE BUTTON WHILE DRAWING A LINE. When you move the mouse you will see the line extend out from the starting point.
Now find the red axis – the line will turn red and you should see a flag saying “On Red Axis” as shown below. Pull the line out on the red axis to any length – it doesn’t matter how long. Release your hand from the mouse (do not click anything), and start typing the exact length, in this case 16 1/4. Type the number just as I’ve done with a space between the 16 and the 1/4.
You will see 16 1/4 in the Measurements Box (lower right hand corner). Don’t click a mouse in this box thinking this is required to enter a number. Just type and it will be there automatically.
You could also type 16.25 and get the same results. (If your settings of units are architectural or metric, then you need to type consistent units.)
When you are done typing, hit the ENTER key and the line is done and exact length.
Step 2: Continue the line upward on the blue axis. Make sure your line turns to blue color. Release the mouse at any length without clicking, then type 4 and ENTER.
Step 3: Continue the line in reverse on red axis. Make sure line turns red. As you get close to the correct length of 16 1/4, SketchUp should give an inference indication showing a dotted line upwards from the lower left corner. (Sometimes you have to help SketchUp find the inference by hovering your mouse over the lower left hand corner then raising back up to the red axis). Click the mouse to stop the line on the inference, then continue on down to complete the rectangle.
Step 4: When you finish the rectangle, a “face” will automatically appear and fill in the space. If you do not get a face, then you’ve not maintained the geometry so all lines are coplanar…. You’ve not stayed on axis.
Here is a completed rectangle with stepwise notes on its creation.
This process may feel very strange at first, but with practice it becomes automatic without much thought. We’ve only done the front face of the component, so there is quite a bit more you can do in completing the model and gaining confidence in drawing to exact length and staying on axis.
Get woodworking tips, expert advice and special offers in your inbox
Become a member today
Get instant access to all FineWoodworking.com content.
Subscribe to Fine Woodworking
Save up to 56%
Thanks for the clear description, Tim. Another good resource for walking you through these types of things is Aidan Chopra's videos on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=aidanchopra&view=playlists). Between your posts and his videos, I've gotten the hang of SketchUp pretty quickly even without any prior exposure to CAD tools.
Tom’s cabinet blunder and other smooth moves. Plus we roll out some new segments: stats and surprise questions. Will they make the cut?
Make something fun while learning new skills
Fast, fun approach to making a comfortable, casual seat
In this video Michael finishes the first of the three boxes. Gluing-up, planing, sanding and finishing bring a new piece of art to the world.
In this video Michael starts work on the second box, a carved and painted Saddle lid box.
Michael begins carving the saddle lid box with his ripple pattern along the top. Then turns to his 5/30 gouge to texture the sides of the box. This isn't work…
Become a member today and get instant access to all FineWoodworking.com content!
Plus tips, advice, and special offers from Fine Woodworking.
Our biweekly podcast allows editors, authors, and special guests to answer your woodworking questions and connect with the online woodworking community.
Enter now for your chance to win a Lee Valley block plane valued at $160.
© 2016 The Taunton Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
Become a member and get instant access to thousands of videos, how-tos, tool reviews, and design features.