SketchUp for Woodworkers: bring your designs to life in 3D
4.2 (325 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
2,753 students enrolled

SketchUp for Woodworkers: bring your designs to life in 3D

Learn professional techniques which make even complex projects easy to model in SketchUp.
4.2 (326 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
2,755 students enrolled
Created by Simon Rodway
Last updated 5/2020
English [Auto], Italian [Auto], 1 more
  • Polish [Auto]
Current price: $12.99 Original price: $19.99 Discount: 35% off
7 hours left at this price!
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This course includes
  • 3 hours on-demand video
  • 14 articles
  • 15 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Update: link to free SketchUp basic lectures added February 2018
  • Bring your design ideas to life in 3D with SketchUp
  • Learn to try out different ideas quickly and easily by making edits to your models
  • Go way beyond the free videos and learn how to build SketchUp models the professional way
  • Cut drawing times in half, literally, with a simple mirror method
  • Learn why its so important to build your model in situ
  • Learn how you can model even complex shapes with a simple technique
  • Learn to draw something once, and use it again and again and again, saving hours
  • A computer with either SketchUp Make or SketchUp Pro installed on it
  • A basic knowledge of SketchUp drawing and editing tools
  • SketchUp Make 2017 is still available as a free download, on the Sketchup website with /download/all added, then login

Let me teach you the basic methods I use in SketchUp as a professional illustrator and designer with 20 years experience in woodworking magazines!

I have drawn thousands of woodworking projects for magazines in the UK, US and Europe, and currently illustrate 2 top UK titles, Furniture and Cabinetmaking and Woodworking Crafts.

SketchUp has been a big part of this process. It is a great drawing program, and although its hard to find, you can still download the FREE version called SketchUp Make.

Just in case you are having trouble finding Sketch Make, the free version you can install on your computer, search for SketchUp Make in Google and follow the instructions. This is a different and much more powerful version of SketchUp to the online browser based SketchUp Free.

Learning the basic tools is just the start though. You can save yourself so much time and effort by using a few simple methods I show you in the course.

Using these techniques, you will find it much easier to design and draw your own projects!

Drawing in 3D can be huge fun, seeing something you have imagined coming to life.

It can also be a bit daunting at first, and without a clear structure to guide you, its possible to get a bit lost. This is why you need my course.

(Update, February 2018: link for students who want to learn basics first added)

Who this course is for:
  • Anyone who wants to design small scale projects with SketchUp
  • Any woodworker who wants to present a project to clients and public in 3D
Course content
Expand all 54 lectures 03:34:25
+ Designing and drawing
9 lectures 32:59

This lecture is to welcome new students,  and to give a quick introduction to some of the main features of the course, which is divided into 3 main parts: Design and Drawing; Build; and Output and Presentation. The project in the Build section is a small toolbox, designed and made originally by the British furniture maker David Barron,.

Preview 02:00

SketchUp is a brilliant tool to help you design your own woodworking projects, but before putting (virtual) pen to paper, it is always worth taking a look at how other makers have gone about tackling similar designs.

Design Ideas; doing a bit research before you start

Being able to move around the screen quickly and easily is a big part of the drawing and design process. This lecture has tips on how to do this more effectively.

Viewing your model

SketchUp has a tendency to stick lines and faces together, so to create separate objects in a model we need to make them into either a group or a component. This lecture discusses which is best for woodworking projects

Components and Groups

Another essential skill when you are drawing in 3D is the ability to position the parts of your model quickly and accurately. This lecture will help you do this.

Positioning Objects in SketchUp

Another great feature of SketchUp is it's ability to quickly change the appearance of models. This can include changes in colour and also applying wood grain. Additionally, it is easy to create and edit Arrays, which are regular, multiple copies of objects, to test out spacing and frequency in your design.

Changing Colour and Number
Keyboard shortcuts; a few of the most popular ones which can save lots of time.
+ Building a Toolbox 1; Outline design
6 lectures 23:37

A quick run through of the construction of the toolbox which features in the build section of the course.

Building a toolbox: Introduction

SketchUp is perfect for quickly evaluating different design ideas. Its very quick to draw outlines of things, but even better than that, making edits to those initial ideas is really easy! Once you are happy with the overall design idea, you can start to refine the details, and then use this to build the components!

There is a PDF file to download with this lecture, which has all the dimensions of the toolbox on it, as well as an annotated 3D exploded perspective.

Outline Box; start the design process in SketchUp with overall shape and size

Building the toolbox in SketchUp is similar in many ways to actually constructing it in the workshop, in that you can use finished components to size and add details to other components. This also applies to your outline design, which you can begin to use as a template to construct the outer carcass of the toolbox. Also learn how and why using Layers is so important when using the in situ method of building a model.

Use your outline design as a template to start the construction of details

A summary of the "Use your outline design as a template" video lecture, using text and images.

Front and Side Worksheet

Learn how to set up dovetail in SketchUp, using the Tape measure tool to create guidelines, and the Move tool to create an array of the dovetails.

Preview 05:58

A summary of the "Setting up dovetails" video lecture, using text and images.

Set Up Dovetails Worksheet
+ Building a toolbox 2: Carcass and Linings
18 lectures 47:57

Use the outlines of the dovetails you have already drawn to cut them in the front and side components. Use Flip Along to speed up the drawing process.

Cutting dovetails; if only it was this quick and easy in the workshop!
Cutting Dovetails Worksheet

Its easy to model things in SketchUp by using bits and pieces of one component to make another. Learn how in this lecture!

Marking out the sockets; get out the virtual pencil to finish your dovetails
Marking Out Worksheet

Using the side and front of the toolbox to size the top with the Rectangle tool, and the Push/Pull tool to create thickness, its a simple job to then edit the top and create a tongue around the bottom edge.

Making the top: create a top with a tongue using the Push/Pull tool
Making the Top Worksheet

There are lots of ways to do the same thing in SketchUp, and here I show you the first method to use for cutting out grooves using a component, the top, that you have already drawn.

Preview 03:49
Cutting Top Grooves Worksheet

Learn how easy it is to "mirror" things from one part of a model to another, and create new features, using Flip Along. This really is a great time saver.

Cutting the bottom grooves using a great mirroring technique
Cutting Bottom Grooves Worksheet
Quiz 3; editing components
4 questions

Following the basic first principle of computer drawing, which is: draw something once and use it again and again, its a simple thing to make a bottom out of a top with a bit of editing! Save even more time and effort here.

Preview 02:30
Creating the Bottom Worksheet

Unfortunately no virtual saws were found for this lecture, so instead I edited the side to create two parts, a top and bottom, to start creating the lid and base of the toolbox.

Splitting the side or get the virtual saw out
Splitting the Side Worksheet

Copying the process of splitting the side, and this time you're a bit more on your own, and instead of a voiceover, there's some background music ( and captions of course)!.

Splitting the front or a bit more cutting with the virtual saw!
Splitting the Front Worksheet

This lecture wraps up the construction of the main part of the toolbox with the construction of a couple of mitred linings. Sizing things is easy from your model, and use the Clipboard again here to save a bit more drawing time.

Creating the linings; more drawing once, using twice
Creating the Linings Worksheet
+ Building a Toolbox 3: the main tray
4 lectures 16:12

Computer drawing of any kind is all about looking or thinking ahead, and asking yourself if you can re-use this bit of drawing somewhere, or do you need to draw this whole a simple thing like only drawing half the tray sides is an important part of learning to draw efficiently!

Main tray side and front: streamlining the Copy and Flip techniques

This is the second set of dovetails you construct in the course, so this lecture focuses on a few extra things, like keyboard shortcuts, and also gives you a rest from constant talking, with a bit of music!

Main tray dovetails plus a few keyboard shortcuts

Introducing an important new technique in this lecture; Intersect Faces....which is a powerful modelling tool, similar to some of the solid modelling tools in other software. It's possible to create some very complex shapes with this tool in SketchUp, although I'm just starting with a couple of grooves in the tray sides here!

Main tray bottom and grooves: introducing the powerful Intersect Faces option

In this lecture I'm introducing you to tangent arcs...okay, I'm not really sure what these are either (I'm kidding, but its tricky defining them!) Sufficient to say that they are a great tool to use, once you know how (and what they are!)

Adding dividers, and what on earth is a tangent arc?
+ Building a toolbox 4: Small Tray
3 lectures 11:47

This is a basic exercise in layout using guidelines to create a grid, and then the sides of the small tray. I also have to own up to not doing this as efficiently as I could have done, so maybe you can do better!

Small tray sides and building a grid with guidelines

Yet more dovetails! One small variation is the use of the Midpoint to establish the inner lines, as there are only two tails here. Its really a good revision exercise though, and set to music with captions, since I'm hopeful that you won't need me telling you what to do by this point.

Model the small tray dovetails

Finishing off the small tray (almost) by completing the sides and adding the bottom and grooves. I also discuss the advantages of window selection versus triple clicking, fascinating stuff!

Small tray bottom and grooves, finishing (almost) the construction
+ Building a toolbox 5: Finishing off and refining the details
6 lectures 22:30

This lecture includes an alternative method of editing a component, in situations where hiding lots of stuff isn't necessary or desirable. Very useful to remember this one, and I use it again when chamfering the top.

Holes in the main tray ends

The end (nearly) of all your hard work, where the finished toolbox takes shape. Half-built until now, the missing components are filled in by copying and flipping existing ones.

Filling in the jigsaw pieces

Hopefully, showing you more than one way to put a small chamfer on the top won't be confusing, but will instead add to your growing range of drawing techniques.

There's more than one way to chamfer a top. Two in fact.

Its pretty easy to create a roundover in SketchUp, and its even possible to do two at the same time. How? Well, you see the answer in this lecture, using the Follow Me tool.

Rounding over the outer edges of the main tray

This doesn't sound like a big deal, making a finger pull for the toolbox. Well, its actually the trickiest bit of modelling in the whole thing, and these two lectures take you through a range of techniques which are pretty useful, and will get you out of trouble when all else fails. I also show you the really surprising and amazing SCALE trick in SketchUp. I don't know why it works, but it does, time after time!

Starting the finger pull

Really using the Intersect Faces command to its maximum effect in this final bit of model building.

Finishing the finger pull
+ Presentation and Output;
7 lectures 58:18
Styles - An overview of setting up and editing styles

Looking at ways you can add non-standard lines or edges to your model using the Mix tab in the Styles editor

Styles - Lines (or Edges as SketchUp calls them)

An introduction to applying materials to models and how to edit them to suit the size and scale of your project. There are also some graduated fill textures to download with this lecture.

Applying materials

A look at how to add and edit wood grain to your model. This lecture includes some sample wood grain JPEGs for you to download and use yourself.

Working with wood grain

Scenes are a great way to save individual settings and can be used to create different image alternatives to display your model, but can also be used to create very effective animations which can be uploaded to YouTube, a website or any other platform.

Scenes; how to use scenes to display your model, including animation

This lecture outlines how to make the most of SketchUp dimensions, including setting up elevation type drawings and linking them to scenes.

Adding Dimensions

SketchUp has all sorts of great presentation tools and this lecture looks at the best of them, from PDF prints of dimensioned views to animations of saved scenes which can be turned into Mp4 files and uploaded to YouTube.

Output: some of the great alternative ways to present and share your model
+ The next steps
1 lecture 01:04

This lecture will have promotional coupon codes for the paid membership options and updates on drawing downloads, upcoming courses and more.

Bonus lecture: additional drawing resources at my LineMine website