An Important Setup Step for Woodworkers
I’m teaching another woodworking group this week, and am reminded how important initial setup steps simplify SketchUp and reduce frustration. I described many of these steps in a February 2008 blog entry titled, “Personalizing Your SketchUp Settings”. This can be found in the Design. Click. “Archives”.
Now SketchUp vs. 7 has simplified one of these important steps, making and saving your drawing Template. You can now save a drawing as a Template simply by selecting the File/Save as Template. Also, SketchUp 7 includes a pre-made Template for woodworking (called Product Design and Woodworking), however it is still not perfect for woodworking as it retains the “sky horizon” and is setup for a much bigger scale than appropriate. However, it can be a good starting point for tailoring your own personal Template.
A question I often receive from beginning SketchUp students is:
“I am having trouble with scale. When I try to draw a line that is 6 inches long, it shows up on the screen as about 3/4 long. It is too small to work with. When I zoom in I loose the axis. What am I doing wrong? “
Here is my standard response:
You haven’t “lost” the axes, they are still there, but out of the view of your zoomed-in line which may have been placed at some distance back in your file. Also, the SketchUp camera may be zoomed out to begin with (poor Template setup) so that a 6″ line is far out in the distance. To have the line show up near the origin (where you see the Red, Blue, Green axis come together) follow this procedure.
- On a clean file without any graphics, draw a 6″ line starting at the origin and moving down the red axis
- The line will not be visible unless you use your Select Tool to click on that line. Then you will see it in highlighted blue color which is now selected.
- Click on the “Zoom Extents” icon which will bring the line up close and filling the computer screen.
Note: if there are any other graphics in the file, the Zoom Extents feature will zoom out the camera to include all the file graphics. So make sure you only have the 6″ line in the file.
- Delete the 6″ line. (You don’t want this line showing up when you start new drawings)
- Save your file “As a Template”
Now when you start a new file, the camera is in closer to what you need for woodworking. Even after doing this, you can start a line way off in the distance, such that it will require zooming in. When you start a line, try to start it close to the origin.
By the way, to see all the Templates in SketchUp including the one you just created, click on the Window tab and select Preferences from the menu. Now you will see a System Preferences dialog box. Select “Templates” in the left hand panel.