A Decorative Carved Fan in SketchUp
Carved fans and shells are a defining detail on Queen Anne-style furniture. The other day I had a request from a friend to show how I would go about drawing detail such as this. As with most things in SketchUp, there’s probably more than one way to draw this. The way I show is fairly painless and doesn’t really take much time. The finished component can, of course, be saved for future use so if you try something like this, don’t forget to save it in a components library so you can find it again.
Although this fan may appear to be a complex thing to draw, if you break it down into smaller parts, it is really quite straightforward. Perhaps the most difficult thing about drawing complex models is figuring out how to break them down. For some reason I am remind of an old joke about eating an elephant.
This fan could be drawn entirely with the native tools found in SketchUp; the free version, too. I cose to use a couple of plugins to streamline the procedure a bit. They are Weld and Simple Loft. To download the latter you’ll have to be registered but that is free.
Note: I had a little trouble with the video at the point where I rotate/copied the profile for the fan blade. It may not be clear how I set the axis of rotation. Here’s a description of the process for setting the axis of rotation when it isn’t on axis or you haven’t got a face on which to align the tool. Click to set the center of rotation–I did this on the end of the centerline–and hold the mouse button while you drag along the line. The Protractor will align itself perpendicular to the line. Release the mouse button and proceed as normal clicking the start and end of the rotation. I demonstrated this in the video clip I did on the Rotate tool although that was some time ago. This link will take you to that blog entry. This procedure shows up at around 50 seconds into the video.