3D Basecamp Recap and a Lesson Reinforced
Last weekend my family and I drove out to Vail, CO for SketchUp 3D Basecamp 2014. I look forward to these trips each time because it gives me a chance to see some friends and to find out first hand what others are doing with SketchUp. This was probably the best one so far with more than one person could see in the time alotted. The location was also a bonus. A very nice hotel with skiing close at hand for those who do that. Kari and Ian got out on their boards one day.
I don’t quite know where to begin with all I saw and I’m sure I missed about half of it. There were excellent presentations and hands-on workshops including a basic SketchUp class as well as a couple of intermediate level classes. There were workshops on creating Dynamic Components and a beginner’s class on using LayOut. There were also some presentations on some amazing plugins, mostly aimed at the architectural folks in the crowd, and a staggering array of applications for SketchUp from 3D printing to CNC cutting to energy use analysis.
There was a great deal of discussion about makers and what they are doing. The keynote address was given by Nick Ierodiaconou of 00, a London based strategy and design practice, in which he talked about the Wikihouse Project and OpenDesk, an open source furniture design collaboration. While I wouldn’t classify it as “fine woodworking”, I think it offers some interesting take aways for many of us. I particulary like the idea of furniture made locally which I expect is what most of our readers are already doing.
The SketchUp folks announced the release of some cool tools including a Ruby debugger which is great for those who are writing plugins for SketchUp. The best one for the rest of us is a mobile SketchUp viewer app for the iPad.
On the 3D printing front, there were several companies showing their machines and what they can do. These machines are getting to be more and more affordable and the material options are appealing. I had a nice chat with a fellow from Alberta, Canada who is running a “FabLab” at a school in White Horse. He showed me some things he’d printed with a Nylon which are very flexible and tough. It got me to thinking of the possibilities for custom made latches, hinges and other light hardware. With affordable printers, you could make these parts as you need them and easily modify each one.
I made a presentation on features of SketchUp that I find very useful for woodworking. Most of the things I showed were things I’ve covered in more detail on Design. Click. Build. I ran out of time and didn’t get to show everything I wanted to cover. It was very flattering to see a standing-room-only crowd and I received some very nice comments afterward. I wish I could have had the time to chat with everyone and to answer questions. If you were at the presentation and have questions, feel free to get in touch.
I expect we’ll see a more detailed recap of 3D Basecamp on the SketchUpdate blog as soon as the SketchUp team has had a chance to catch their breath. Most of the sessions were covered on video and should be available on YouTube as soon as they can be edited.
And, on a somewhat unrelated topic, I’ve written a number of times about practicing good housekeeping when modeling. I recently had a request from a client for some updates to a set of assembly instructions I made aquite a few years ago using SketchUp and LayOut. Much to my dismay, I found I was somewhat sloppy in constructing my models for that project way back then. Of course I’ve learned a great deal in the intervening years but I wish I’d known these things then. I should have anticipated that I would be going back to these models again someday. So, take it from me, make your models clean and neat. Make them easy to edit and organize them properly. The little bit of time you spend doing that up front can save you more time later.