LumberJocks Woodworking Forum banner

Not a fan of Sketch up

3990 Views 35 Replies 26 Participants Last post by  Sawkerf
I am done with sketch up, I cannot deal with the 3-D drawing.

So is there a Program that lets one draw exclusively in 2-d other than busting out pencil and paper?
1 - 20 of 36 Posts
Sketchup lets you draw in 2D as well.
i think that in the older cad versions you only draw in 2d.
but 3d is a vast improvement if your asking me! sketchup is by far the most easy to use 2d or 3d program i have used.

and as peter said, you can set sketchup to be in 2d, either by setting the view in paralel projection and then working with the viewport buttons for front, side, up, etc views.
Sketch Up Is a proven tool that works but it has a high learning curve and even for me after months trying to master the basics I get fed up. That was until i bought at Woodcraft a a 2 part DVD Shop Class with Robert W. Lang "Sketch Up For Woodworkers Part1: Getting Started" is the one i own and it has 2 hours of basic intro to this 3d program. Sells for 29.95

The editors at Woodsmith Shop swear by the product and use it's program to print the SHop Notes books we all love. :)
Here is a link to Sketch Up For Woodworkers, NOT affiliated with Robert W. Lang
If I want to draw just 2d, I use Adobe Illustrator. However, if you don't want to pay the big bucks for Illustrator (or if you can't get the educator/student discount), there is an open source program called Inkscape that's not too bad. I have been using Illustrator for about 20 years now and was rather surprised with Inkscape's capabilities. It even has a few features that Illustrator doesn't. Open source programs have really come a long way in recent years. The only drawback to Inkscape is that it doesn't have positioning abilities that Illustrator has. I can position an object using it's center, edge, corner or vertex with Illustrator, but Inkscape uses only the objects center. That's a big handicap for Inkscape.
I have nothing against SketchUp. I use it all the time, but since your question was for a dedicated 2d program, I thought I would add my 2cents.

Hmmm I will give inkscape a try. if that doesn't do what I want, time to get my old drafting board.
Thanks , to all , for the info
If you could bear to have one more try with Sketchup, I would recommend Swamp Road Woodworks tutorials at They are produced by Joseph P. Zeh, a cabinetmaker, are excellent and show the occasional errors and corrections as he does a working demonstration of how each task is performed on a typical woodworking project. I actually left my PC to download each tutorial so that I could get on with other things, and then view/review the lessons when convenient.

I had also tried Sketchup previously and given up a couple of times, but watching these tutorials enabled me to get the program working well. The breakthrough for me was the idea of making each solid object a component, so that other parts could be drawn and moved without them attaching themselves to something already drawn. Putting the components on their own layers also meant that they could be displayed or hidden as required. The 'overhead' in creating components on layers seems tedious at first, but soon becomes second nature and takes only seconds, but gives enormous benefits - in my opinion.
See less See more
I've used Delta Cad a fair amount (, it's easy to use and sounds like it might work for you. Pretty cheap too, you can probably even find it cheaper on ebay.

I've been taking the Swamp Road Woodworks tutorials and they are VERY good. I feel much better about using Sketchup now then I ever did. In addition to Sketchup I use TurboCAD and eCabinets (cabinet design).
Dassault Systems, the makers of SolidEdge, now have an excellent FREE, 2D CAD program. It is called DraftSight. It is available at
Of course, like pretty much any CAD prgram, there is a learning curve.
Don't laugh but I too have tried various programs through the years and here's my final solution to it all:

Table Wood Stool Flooring Floor

You'll notice the Vemco arm, left handed at that. I know the advantage of computer programs that allow you to make changes without having to do the drawing all over but for me, drawing the project manually lets me "build it in my mind" which I find saves a lot of time in the shop. Of course, I can't rotate, add textures and shading, but in the end, this is what works for me.
This desk is made of Andirobe and spalted Maple. The area below is where I keep my reference books. Being able to stand up and work is a big plus for me as well.


See less See more
Just FWIW, I found Sketchup to be painfully easy to learn, but then again I have a LOT of training in drawing, drafting, and computer aided design, and illustration. So it was easy for me… Perhaps you need to take a class or two…
For all the people using sketchup, are you using the free or paid version? From what I've seen you need to full version to do things like assemblies, drawings, etc, things that I personally couldn't do without. (

Personally I use Pro/Engineer or occasionally solidworks. I have access to both through work so I don't have to pay the $5k per license. The learning curve would be pretty steep if I didn't already log 1500 hours a year with them at work.

By far, however, the most useful tool I have is a $2 drafting notebook, doesn't even require a computer :)
I quit on it several times until getting Sketchup for Dummies by Adrian Chopra. Between the book and his online videos I am no at least capable. As Don pointed out "The breakthrough for me was the idea of making each solid object a component" cannot be said enough. I'm going to get the Lang DVD and check out the web links.

John - that is one nice drafting table, but how do you fit "E" size drawings?

Hi Steve, I keep the drawing size to 18" x 24" and use vellum so that I can make copies at Kinkos/FedEx. I'm sure that if the economy gave me tons of work I may go to the computer programs but being a small, one man shop I haven't found the need yet. I know, the word dinosaur may apply but I'm content. I do my drawings primarily to scale the piece and give my client an over-all picture. For working out construction details and joinery I like to do them full size on graph paper. I like your concept of "breaking it down to components" which really makes sense but it's not intuitive for me.
It brings to mind the saying about how there are many ways to accomplish the same thing, you know "more than one way to skin a cat". Should have seen the controversy that saying brings about in a class of 13-18 year olds!
I agree that for some of us the 3D is a bit tough to grasp at first but these sites provided by others have helped me a lot and I love the program now. For me the Swamproad site was best because Joe even responded very quickly to e-mails with answers that got me over some of my problem areas. Free and Quick Tech support is always great to find but not very often found. And you can download the files for offline use as well from both sites.
So Joe if you see this posting , Thanks again for the help.
John - Dinosaur? In my first real job assignment I inherited responsibility for the "drawings" of some simple parts. The drawings were in both a "blueprint" on vellum format which had to be printed with an ammonia process and a couple actual thin metal prints that were real antiques. Not sure how the metal ones were actually "printed."

If you want just a simple 2d cad program, I use auto desk quick cad program at home. It is reasonable at about $40 and I found it easy to learn and thats amazing. I got mine at office supply.
1 - 20 of 36 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.