What are the Special Strengths of SketchUp?
The other day I was looking for a list of the best things about SketchUp – things that are unique and special and make it an effective tool for woodworking. I couldn’t find one so decided to create it here:
- SketchUp has “components” which define a piece of furniture – that is, a leg, side, top, door, drawer, etc. Any copy of this component can be modified and all copies in the file will automatically adopt this change.
- SketchUp is a full-size 3D model. You can view the model, or its pieces, in any direction, viewing position, size, or angle. There is no need to draw another view, it is immediately available in SketchUp with a simple manipulation of the mouse. SketchUp makes it easy to make 3D components with tools like Push/Pull.
- SketchUp has Scenes which capture views of the model or components. Scenes, easily accessed by clicking on tabs, make up a complete, accurate, and detailed design document which can be printed and saved as PDF. Layout adds to these capabilities for creating documents.
- SketchUp makes it easy to create an exploded view or orthographic view which are helpful in communicating design intent.
- SketchUp can make X-ray views which show internal details of construction, and provide views for checking integrity of joint connections.
- SketchUp handles, and conveniently displays, any joint details including mortise & tenon, bridal, dowel, miter, lapped, and dovetails.
- SketchUp does turnings, moldings, and other complex-shaped objects.
- SketchUp provides a way to manipulate pieces of furniture; copying, moving, rotating, flipping (mirroring), and connecting them precisely.
- SketchUp offers a tool to “build” a piece of furniture in the computer as if you were in the shop handling real pieces of lumber. The result is a clearer understanding of the details of construction which pays off when tackling the real project in the shop. For me, this also builds confidence in exploring new more complex projects
- SketchUp accepts imported scanned images on which you can determine sizes of furniture components and re-create their shapes.
Note that I’ve not listed these with any significance, rather they are in the order that they came to mind.