Sketchup Shorts #5: Dimensioning Lumber - Virtually

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by PurpLev posted 03-07-2010 06:00 AM 4232 reads 3 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Virtual Materials II - Tiling it Seamlessly Part 5 of Sketchup Shorts series Part 6: Compound Angle Cuts »

OK, I just updated my Dovetails plugin video, and had it relinked on my other post. since I don’t want this post to be a plug for my plugin (dope) I’m not going to link to it here, if you are so inclined, I’m sure you can find it.

now that we have that out of the day, the following is the updated video, which although focuses on the simplicity and efficiency of the dovetails plugin, also carries with it some other neat capabilities of SketchUp which I use all the time – Precise Dimensioning of parts, without bothering to hold the cursor perfectly steady.

In order to create precise parts in Sketchup, I use the keyboard to type the dimensions directly, and don’t try to position the cursor exactly where those dimensions are supposed to be. in the following video, there are 3 different dimensioning that are being demonstrated:

1. Basic Dimensioning: After a rectangle tool is selected, and the first point is clicked (although there are several variations to this, a rectangle is generally created in SU by clicking a corner point, and then positioning the cursor at the opposite point and clicking a 2nd time) the dimensions can then be entered by typing the width, and length of the rectangle separated by a comma, then click ENTER to create the rectangle.

2. PushPull Dimensioning: after the pushpull tool is selected and a face is clicked to be pushed, the amount of the push can be simply typed, click ENTER to make the push operation

3. Relational Dimensioning: To match a rectangle size to another shape in the model (either width,or length) click the first point of the rectangle, then position the cursor at the point to which you want to reference your width or height to, and type in the remaining dimension (if you want to match height, type the width, and vice versa). this technique is different from Basic dimensioning in that you leave the dimension you want to reference to empty, so instead of typing both dimension like this: 6”,4” you leave one empty like this: ,4” this will make a rectangle 4” in width, and the length will be assigned based on the cursors position.

another tidbit in the video is the use of components, and mirrored components which keep the left side of a component on the left side, the right on the right, the inside on the inside, and the outside on the outside, but still allow for the use of components and all the efficiency that they enable.


-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

11 comments so far

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3872 posts in 4594 days

#1 posted 03-07-2010 01:39 PM

I still haven’t sat myself down to do much more than rudimentary stuff with sketchup but I must say, I’m impressed.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5038 days

#2 posted 03-07-2010 01:55 PM

Very nice demo.
I had never seen the copy&mirror done so effortlessly. That’s cool.

I learn something new every day,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Cato's profile


701 posts in 4469 days

#3 posted 03-07-2010 02:43 PM

Sharon- thanks for posting this. I am late to the party on SU and just going thru the rudimentary tutorials now, but I am glad to have access to shortcuts and woodworking apps, that will make sense down the road a bit.

View jm82435's profile


1286 posts in 4898 days

#4 posted 03-07-2010 07:09 PM

Sweet shortcut. You make that look very easy.

-- A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2545 posts in 5114 days

#5 posted 03-07-2010 10:56 PM

nice Vid Sharon….I gota try that copy/scale-1 to make a mirror image piece..I always just copy and flip the axis..seems to work the same…file that under the old “more than one way to skin a SU drawing”.
Your dovetail plugin looks really smooth. I will have to download it and try it out!


View Paul Lajoie's profile

Paul Lajoie

139 posts in 4260 days

#6 posted 03-08-2010 02:39 AM

Nice video Sharon. I’ve never heard of the scale tool being used to make a mirror image. Do I understand you (and Dave) correctly, just select the scale tool click on the component then type in -1 and click enter and you have a mirror image? I’ll go and try this out.


View PurpLev's profile


8652 posts in 4805 days

#7 posted 03-08-2010 04:18 AM

glad this was helpful.

Thanks Dave, the Flip command is great, I should really start using it more, I usually have a tendency to get accustom to the basic controls and maximize their capabilities. I agree that in this case, mapping the flip commands to keys is much faster and less of a hassle. gonna go look for some available keys now.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View PurpLev's profile


8652 posts in 4805 days

#8 posted 03-08-2010 04:33 AM

Thanks Dave, I figured that one out a while back when I was trying to map context-zoom-extents and just couldn’t find it in the preferences-shortcuts pane for the life of me – until randomly one time it was just THERE, which made me look around to find out that you need something selected to get the extra context-functions available to choose from in the shortcuts pane… unnecessary if you ask me, but then again, nobody asked me about that one yet.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Greg Smith's profile

Greg Smith

8 posts in 3835 days

#9 posted 04-18-2011 06:33 AM

Great demo! Some very useful shortcuts there. I hope i can breeze through it like you did.

-- Greg Smith -

View paulsalisbury's profile


9 posts in 3769 days

#10 posted 06-17-2011 11:07 AM

A really thorough and quick demo. Just what I need to build a planter for my conservatory.

-- Paul -

View SteveVo's profile


3 posts in 3423 days

#11 posted 03-12-2012 07:38 AM

A designer would no doubt appreciate Sketchup because I think it allows them to create accurate drawings before working on the materials. It has a few options that I find will be highly useful to me when I need to make quick sketches


Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics