Using Offset and Auto-Fold for Drawer Bottoms

comments (4) August 5th, 2012 in blogs

DaveRichards David Richards, contributor
thumbs up 8 users recommend

A few weeks ago Tim demonstrated a great way to draw beveled drawer bottoms. As with nearly everything in SketchUp, there's more than one way to do it. Here's an approach that I find works well for me. I'm using Steve Latta's Serpentine Sideboard for this example. It has a flat tongue in the grooves with a bevel inside of that. but I use this procedure with slight variations for other types of drawer bottoms. It aslo works nicely for creating the raisings and fields for some raised panels and bevels on the underside of table tops.

Here we go. These drawer bottoms have a curve on their front edge to match the drawer fronts. Rather than constructing that curve, I'm going to use one I already have. I opened the drawer front component for editing and selected the curve as shown above. Then I used Edit>Copy (Ctrl+C on PC or Command-C on Mac) to copy the curve.

Next, I closed the drawer front component to get out of editing mode and used Edit>Paste in place to paste the curve. That's most of the top, front edge of the drawer bottom.  

These first couple of steps wouldn't be necessary for a simple flat-fronted drawer.

I finised creating the top face of the drawer bottom using the line tool. I traced along the grooves in the drawer sides and the rear, bottom edge of the drawer back. The curve I copied didn't extend into the grooves in the drawer sides so I added the needed short line segments to complete the loop and create the face.

I used Push/Pull to make the bottom fit the grooves. This gives us the thickness of the tongue or the edges of the bottom panel.

If the drawer front was flat, I would just use the rectangle tool to drawer a rectangle in the drawer front's groove and then use Push/Pull to extrude the rectangle to the outside of the drawer back.

Next, with Select, I double click on the bottom face. This selects  the face and it's bounding edges.

Then I hold Shift and click on the face and the back edge. This leaves me with the front and side edges selected as shown above. When I'm not doing this to show others, I don't bother to hide the other drawer components. this can be done with them visible.

Now I get the Offset tool and create edges inside by the length of the tongue. that was 5/16 in. in this case. In the case of this offset operation, there are some little unneeded lines created at the two front corners of the offset lines. The needed to be erased before moving on. This doesn't happen on simple rectangular shapes.

I repeat the offset process to create the inner limits of the bevel. You can see the unneeded lines extending out from the corners. They're quick to clean up. Again, with a rectangular shape these don't occur.

Now, with the Select tool, I double click on the field of the panel to select it and its bounding edges.

Next, I get the Move tool and, while holding Alt on the PC or Command on the Mac to invoke Auto-Fold, I move the selected face down the required distance.

Finally, make the drawer bottom a component and, because I have two other drawers that need identical bottoms, I copy the first one down into place use Move/Copy.

Here, in the drawer from Nancy Hiller's Arts and Crafts Desk is an example of a simple bevel with no flat tongue. This one took no more than a minute to draw.

And here, in Chris Gochnour's Curved-Front Desk, I used the same offset step and then Push/Pull to get the final thickness.

Give it a try. After doing this once or twice I think you'll find it goes very quickly.




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Posted: 6:46 pm on March 25th

cmiller74 cmiller74 writes: Great, thanks!
Posted: 8:42 am on August 7th

DaveRichards DaveRichards writes: Hi cmiller74, yes, you can get the SketchUp file at this link:
Posted: 2:56 pm on August 6th

cmiller74 cmiller74 writes: A little off the Sketchup file for the Serpentine Sideboard table available somewhere? Love that table...
Posted: 2:53 pm on August 6th

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