Evolving a Design in SketchUp
When beginning a new design, I plan on saving several SketchUp versions as the project develops. I will start with a “1” after the filename, and continue with “2, 3, 4, 5…. etc.” when changing the design significantly. I typically end up with five – to – 10 SketchUp file versions and find these back versions to be “life savers”. I may go down a new path in the design development, only to find that it won’t work, and then have a need to back-track. The back versions are like insurance, and have saved me from having to re-create previous design details.
An example of this process is illustrated below. The example project is an HDTV cabinet that will house the associated electronics including, Blue-ray DVD, Stereo Receiver, Cable/Satellite Receiver/DVR, and IR extender electronics.
Version 1: I began with the simple modeling of the electronic boxes – sizes only, no detail, then developed an enclosing box (frame and panel construction). The first version is shown below
There is no joinery at this stage, just a simple model to create a workable idea. I’ve included the electronic boxes to check-out the sizing of the cabinet. There is plenty of space for future growth or for storing other materials.
Version 2: I’m not liking the horizontal side panels in this first version, as they seem to conflict with the vertical front door panels. So I “Save As” another SketchUp file and append the file name with a “2”. I change out the horizontal side panels for vertical ones. The Move/Copy Tool is used to resize the panels.
Version 3: I also built a version “3” model to show an alternate design style – somewhat Shaker.
Version 4: The customer asked that I use the frame and panel version and reduce the height of the cabinet, so I “Save As” a new version 4, shift the internal shelving and electronics, and trim the height. Using the Move/Copy Tool, the adjustments are quickly made to the Posts and Door components.
Version 5: I simplified the side panel construction and joinery, using bridal joints, and eliminated the molding treatment that is done on the door fronts.
Version 6: With customer agreement, I continue detailing the model including all joinery, internal details, and hardware.
Here is a picture of the actual shop construction so far:
Saving multiple versions certainly increases the number of files and file space, but pays off in the end. I keep these old files and continually go back to them for reference and access to component designs.