A Kit of Parts?
In the last few weeks I’ve had emails from three or four new users asking essentially the same question: “What is the easiest way to create the parts for a project and then assemble them to look like the finished piece?”
I receive quite a few emails every week from SketchUp users looking for some assistance. In the last few weeks I’ve had emails from three or four new users asking essentially the same question: “What is the easiest way to create the parts for a project and then assemble them to look like the finished piece?” One fellow said he had been following a tutorial in which the author made a separate SketchUp file for each part and then imported all those files into a new SketchUp file where he moved the pieces together to build the project.
Although it can be done that way, I think it creates a lot of work and potential for error. Besides, you need to know dimensions up front that you could have the program tell you.
In this video I’ll demonstrate my basic work flow using a small table. Once I’ve set out some parts, in this case the legs, the intervening parts are drawn to fit. If the legs are correctly placed then the parts in between only need to be drawn to fit. When you’re drawing, you don’t need to know how long those aprons, rails, and stretchers are.
If you still want a “kit” of parts, you can make it in seconds from the model of the whole thing if you are using components throughout. I generally don’t find that useful for my only modeling but it can be done. If it’s a complex model you can end up with a large number of SketchUp files to deal with. Here’s the kit for Steve Latta’s Serpentine Sideboard from a few years ago.
By the way, I used the Trim and Keep plugin to cut the mortises in this project. It relies on the Solid Tools from SketchUp Pro but you can easily cut the mortises using Intersect Faces if the parts are already in place. If you were to draw each part in a separate file, you’d need to do all the layout to cut the mortises. It would be almost like laying them out and cutting them in the shop.