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

Learn professional techniques which make even complex projects easy to model in SketchUp.
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Instructed by Simon Rodway Design / Design Tools
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  • Lectures 37
  • Length 2.5 hours
  • Skill Level Intermediate Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 5/2015 English

Course Description

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.

I also run SketchUp for Woodworkers, one of the fastest growing communities on Google+ with over 4000 members!

SketchUp has been a big part of this process. What a great drawing program, with a fantastic FREE version!

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, July 2015: section on Presentation with 7 new video lectures added.)

What are the requirements?

  • A computer with SketchUp installed on it
  • A basic knowledge of SketchUp drawing and editing tools

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Update: section on presentation added in July 2015
  • 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

Who is the target audience?

  • Anyone who wants to design small scale projects with SketchUp
  • Any woodworker who want to present a project to clients and public in 3D

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Introduction

This lecture is to welcome you as a new student, and to give you a quick introduction to some of the main features of the toolbox, designed and made originally by the British furniture maker David Barron, which I am using as the core project for SketchUp for Woodworkers.


Just a few pointers on how to get the best out of Udemy lectures, including, and most important, clicking on that HD button to get the clearest possible video picture. Also, a quick run through on the tabs and downloading resources like files to go with the course.


Know how to set up your own template in SketchUp? Its really easy, and really worthwhile doing, so that every time you open a new SketchUp file, it will be just how you want it!

Keyboard shortcuts; a few of the most popular ones which can save lots of time.
Don't forget the HD button..
3 questions
Section 2: Outline design to detailed construction in one big step

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.


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.


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.

Components, Bounding Edges and Layers!
4 questions
Section 3: Building the toolbox carcass or the meat and two veg setion

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.


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


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.


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.


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.

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.


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.


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)!.


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.

Section 4: Constructing the main tray

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!


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!


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!


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!)

Section 5: Building the small tray

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!


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.


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!

2 questions

The questions are a bit trickier, and the answers are may need a bit of thought, as they aren't always spelled out in the lectures, just implied.

Section 6: Finishing off and refining the details

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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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

Section 7: Presentation of your model
Display basics
Applying materials

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

Styles - Edges
Styles - Faces
Styles - Mix and match
Shadow and shade
Section 8: Roadmap

The section on presentation is now online and includes working with wood grain and styles, as well as shade and shadow.

The course will move on to look at how to output your model, first as a colour image, and then as a dimensioned drawing in PDF format.

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Instructor Biography

Simon Rodway, Drawing software professional, designer and journalist

Working as an illustrator and designer in architecture and publishing for more than 30 years has taught me a lot about drawing software.

One thing I have learned is that FREE software is as good and sometimes better than the expensive stuff!

So how do you choose which programs to use?

I've done that for you in my courses.

Would you like to learn how to draw accurate woodworking plans quickly and easily using a free professional CAD program? Well, take my CAD for Woodworkers course using DraftSight, a great professional level CAD program similar in commands and structure to AutoCAD.

Would you like to be able to design and draw your projects in 3D? I'm running a course now on Udemy, SketchUp for Woodworkers, for anyone (not just woodworkers) who wants to learn how to use SketchUp to draw smaller projects (ie not a house!)

See my Udemy courses ,SketchUp for Woodworkers and its companion course, CAD for Woodworkers.

Brief CV: I have worked on a wide range of magazine titles in the UK, US and Europe and currently illustrate 2 UK based craft titles, Furniture and Cabinetmaking and Woodworking Crafts, providing plans and 3D drawings as well as articles for both. I have illustrated more than 50 books on a wide variety of craft subjects, and have written extensively in craft magazines on the use of computer drawing techniques in furniture making and joinery.

I have a degree in Architecture, and run LineMine, a website that focuses on design drawing techniques and software.

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