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Playing around with SketchUp.... Suggestions?

2203 Views 14 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  kdc68
So I've been pittling in the workshop this week making some quick little projects. I started out with a spice rack. Here's a pic of it unfinished.

Cabinetry Wood Shelf Interior design Drawer

Then last night I started working on a lapdesk I saw on Pinterest. Here's a pic before I cut the top of it. Cutting a 1×12 proved to be hard to do once my circular saw's battery died. I did finally get it cut tonight. I wanted to stain it last night. I stained it tonight and painted the hardware black. Going to finish it off tomorrow. Here is what it looked like before the top and stain. Will post pics of it completed tomorrow.

Table Wood Wood stain Hardwood Plank

So after posting my projects on facebook I had a lady contact me via private message asking me to build her something. Her request…. "can you build me…. a box… with four legs… and no sides?" LOL. I had her call me and I asked more questions about what she wanted. I was a bit intimidated at building something from scratch with no plans. And so I decided to create what I thought she wanted in sketchup to see what she thought. She was thrilled.

Here's what I came up with based on her desires and dimensions she gave me. Simple enough. I guess she is going to wrap it in chicken wire and use it as a guniea pig cage. I will also be making a lid for the top that will be on hinges to open and close. I thought it would show her a better idea of what I was thinking without the lid in the sketch.

Rectangle Table Parallel Illustration Outdoor furniture

I used 2×2's as legs in the sketch but I have some scrap 2×3's that I'm going to use. She needed it to be pretty lite weight. But since I've never done anything like this… I don't know if there are things I need to make sure of. For example… this "box" is 3'x5'... do the legs need to be a certain size or height?

I've thought about adding some stretchers across the front and back to give it more stability. Any suggestions on how I can make this differently? But still give her this basic idea? I was intending on using some pallet borads I have on hand from the frame of the box. I believe I used 3/4"x3" boards in the sketch.

I'm open to suggestions.

Now… just need to make it. I'm also gonna need to create a cut list from my project. Gonna watch some youtube videos to figure out how to do that.

Now I'm off to sleep…. well… off to play in SketchUp or on YouTube… THEN I can go to sleep. :)

LOVE LOVE LOVE having my own workshop to go out and build something whenever I want. :)


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wi the skinny legs i would try to make some kind of stretchers, good chance to try small Mortise and Tenons. It's what i would do to try to challenge myself. Otherwise the basic plan looks good.
That's a good point. I had thought about doing the stretchers but doing the mortise and tenons would be a good thing to play around with.
As a person that doesn't use sketchup, that's pretty impressive. Your work on your other projects looks great. Just keep knocking 'em dead. You'll be building houses in no time. :)
very nice quick little projects. The projects that are small and you can get done quick are the ones I like to do, it is not months waiting to see the final project. Keep up the good work!
I would integrate the legs all the way up through the box. That will give the whole thing a lot more stability.
You seem to be very productive, Angie, keep up the good work.

helluvawreck aka Charles
As Bondo said, I'd make the leg and the corner of the cage all out of one piece of wood.

Furniture Table Rectangle Art Outdoor furniture

Use mortise & tenon joints throughout.

Rectangle Picture frame Window Table Glass


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There is some thing I remember about guniea pigs and wood. I am trying to get in touch with my friend that knows that stuff to find out what it is that I think I remember about it.. For some reason I am thinking its not a good idea. As soon as I hear from her I will come back and post it.

After a quick google search I guess its that they will chew out of them.
Hi Angie,
Bondo has the right idea for the legs, that makes part of your box the stretchers … If chewing is a real problem, put your wire on the inside … and paint the outside?
Chicken wire has some pretty big holes in it, I think you mean that she will line it with 'Hardware Cloth', the mesh is not as fine as window screen but still small enough to keep them in captivity.
Congrats on the sketch-up success, I'm still trying to learn it, but I don't hear well and the instructors on the tutorials don't speak very clearly… quite a challange.
Congrats on getting paying work. You did great with SU. It stymies me. lol

I'd do some reserch on guinea pig cages. I think there might be a reason petshops keep them in aquariums and crates. Also, they don't have lids/tops. She'd probably be better off to have you build her a table for the tank that could have a cabinet situation on the bottom for supplies and buy a big 'leaker' tank for the pigs.

If you do go forward with the wood, I'd research animal safe finishes or kid safe. I had good luck with food dye for a kids puzzle.

Just a thought. I look forward to pics when you are done.
+1 or more on the above comments. I'm impressed with your early Sketchup skills. Don't forget to check out the 3d warehouse where you can download other's models for free. It can save you a lot of time.
Real good design. One thing that I would suggest you add would be hinged doors on each end to make easy to clean out. Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing your information.
Wow. Really great comments and advice. This is why I love this site :)

One thing I know about guinea pigs is that she said they are allergic to cedar. As far as the other things brought up about them, I will bring those to her attention. And while the cage will be out of pine most likely… She has a piece that she said will lay in the bottom for easy clean up. She described it to me but not completely sure what it is. She raises them and I guess breeds them so I'm sure she knows what to do.

Sketchup is pretty cool. I have some tutorials I plan on watching to help out.

I've made three small projects this week. One is totally done… The lap desk above just needs hardware and the spice rack is just waiting to be hung. It's been a productive week.
AngieO....I remember having guinea pigs as a kid…loooong time ago. The one thing I remember most is that they poop a lot….Nice to read that a easy to clean method that will lay across the bottom is part of the plan…
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