How to create dimensioned parts drawings in SketchUp?

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Forum topic by groland posted 10-11-2017 10:11 PM 1665 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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228 posts in 4184 days

10-11-2017 10:11 PM

Topic tags/keywords: how to create dimensioned parts drawings in sketchup

I am new to SketchUp. I have constructed a 3D model of my project—a drawer insides: front, back, bottom and two sides. (I plan to add a front face with handles later.)

I wonder what guys do to create a series of drawings that are flat-on the faces of a component and correctly dimensioned? So, say, I want to pull the bottom out of my model and make an orthagonal, dimensioned drawing of it. I thought I could use such a set of component drawings as a sort of cut list with pictures.

I am interested in how people handle this issue (or if it is even the right way to think of this).


George Roland

11 replies so far

View jerryminer's profile


960 posts in 2214 days

#1 posted 10-11-2017 10:31 PM

George—I am not an expert, but I do use SketchUp a lot. Here’s one idea:

You can make copies of your components (either with the move/copy tool or by selecting components from the components drop-down menu) and rotate them into a single plane. Then select the View that shows the faces of the components. From there, you can dimension as you wish.


-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View Rich's profile


5609 posts in 1361 days

#2 posted 10-12-2017 12:50 AM

There are a number of excellent cut list generators out there. The one I use is called simply Cut List 4.1. If you go to the trouble to clearly name your parts and assign the material type, it will give you a very useable list with info like Drawer Front and the dimensions. It will also total up the board feet of the various materials you’re using.

As for getting a dimensioned drawing to take to the shop, I don’t worry so much about it being orthogonal as I do about it being clear and readable.

As Jerry alluded to, I make a copy. The difference is that I make a clone of the entire piece, and drag it off to the side. I then begin exploding it and moving the components so that I have room to add dimensions and also I arrange them so that it’s clear how they fit together. It takes a little extra time, but you wind up with printable drawings and it becomes a permanent part of your SketchUp model that you can refer back to at any time.

Edit: I forgot to mention that if you’re diligent about making everything a component, then if you modify the size of any of the components in your main drawing, the dimensioned piece will change as well, along with the dimension itself. So, if you have a drawer made up of sides, a back and a front that’s 6” deep, if you change the depth to 8” by modifying the front, sides and back, then your dimensioned element that you dragged and exploded earlier will change to the new numbers as well.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View HTown's profile


114 posts in 1958 days

#3 posted 10-12-2017 01:50 AM

I agree with what others have said. This may not help, but I followed the sketch up videos produced by Fine Woodworking. It details creating scenes and using layers to create dimensioned drawings.
I found the video to be worth the money to learn more efficient work methods and even export into a program that creates a cut list and diagram.

View lew's profile


13114 posts in 4527 days

#4 posted 10-13-2017 12:07 AM

Check out Dave Richards stuff. He is a Sketchup guru.

The previous comment about layers is right on target. There is a Sketchup plugin called Eclate_Deplace and can be downloaded at this plugin will automatically make an exploded view.

Dave used to be a member of Lumberjocks. Unfortunately, back then, some members thought it was “funny” to insert pornographic images into responses. Dave left- our loss.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 3274 days

#5 posted 10-13-2017 04:01 AM

I teach this at school. This is what I do:

  1. Each part of the item that you are building should be a component. However make sure every individual line, shape etc that is part of every component is drawn with Layer 0 active.
  2. Create layers – one for the item assembled and one for every component type. As an alternative to having one single layer for the assembled item, you can have separate layers for sub-assemblies (e.g. carcass, drawer and door in place of just cabinet).
  3. Assign one instance of each component type to the layer that you created for it. All other instances of every component goes on to the assembly layer (or a sub-assembly layers, if you have any).
  4. Create scenes, one for every layer that you have created so far. Make sure to create a layer to the fully assembled item, even if you created sub-assembly layers instead of a complete assembly layer.
  5. Create more layers, one for every scene that you have created. I give them the same names as the scenes, except I prefix them with “z” (just a personal preference) to distinguish them.
  6. Now go through the scenes and select which layers should be visible. The assembly scene will have all its own layer plus all component and sub assembly layers visible, but the only “z” layer that will be visible will be the one for the assembled item. The sub assembly scenes will have the relevant sub assembly layer and component layers visible, but only the one associated “z” layer. Each scene associated with a single component will have only the layer for that component and its associated “z” layer visible. Remember to update the scene before moving on to the next one.
  7. Go through each scene and add dimensions as required. Assign these dimensions to the “z” layer associated with that scene. This means that the dimensions are only visible when that scene is displayed, never any other time. If you add notes using text labels, assign them to the “z” layer too. Then orbit and change camera settings as required (see below), zoom extents and update the scene again.
  8. I find printing directly from Sketchup to be unpredictable. So I use File > Export > 2D Graphic to create a series of jpg images – one per scene. I import these into Word (I actually use a document that provides a drawing border when I work with my students), scale them as necessary and print from there.
To produce orthographic views, do the following:
  1. Select the scene that you wish to display as orthographic.
  2. Click on Camera > Parallel Projection. This setting applies only to each scene, where it is selected, not to all scenes.
  3. Either display the “Views” toolbar and use the appropriate button, or select from the buttons from the list under Camera > Standard Views, to orbit to look from the front, top, left right etc.
  4. Zoom extents and update the scene.

I’m not finished yet, but I have been working on a sample drawing and some other notes that I will use to explain this process to my students next year. So if my explanation above is not sufficiently clear, let me know. I might have to prioritize that work and share some files about.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View Andybb's profile


2762 posts in 1376 days

#6 posted 10-13-2017 05:16 AM

Do some digging. There is a way to get a cutlist from Sketchup. Search lj for Robert Lang.

This is his website. I don’t see him listed as a member but I think his email is [email protected] There are a lot of workarounds but I think he had an easy way to do it. He teaches an online Sketchup class.

This site also has a cutlist plugin for Sketchup. Not sure if or how it works but there is a youTube video for it and a PDF manual and tutorials.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View Rich's profile


5609 posts in 1361 days

#7 posted 10-13-2017 05:44 AM

Bob’s the man when it comes to SketchUp. Everything I know about using it, I learned from him. I highly recommend his eBooks.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Andybb's profile


2762 posts in 1376 days

#8 posted 10-13-2017 08:00 AM

Sorry. Dead link for Bob Lang’s website above. It’s here.

Also, the cutlist plugin is not one of Lang’s creations. It’s on another site, is not free and I’ve heard it’s quirky.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View BobLang's profile


176 posts in 4172 days

#9 posted 10-13-2017 11:28 AM

You guys are making me blush with all the kind words. I’ve invested a lot of time in helping woodworkers learn how to use SketchUp, and in addition to my digital books on SketchUp, there are a lot of free SketchUp tutorials available on my website at this link:

To briefly answer the original question, the beauty of SketchUp is that you create one model. You can then extract any two-dimensional view you want and save those views through the use of Scenes and Layers. I’m on my way to teach a chairmaking class at Marc Adams today so I need to keep this short, but here are a couple of relevant posts:

I exist here on LumberJocks as Bob Lang, and you can reach me through here or my website.

-- Bob Lang,

View dschlic1's profile


471 posts in 2742 days

#10 posted 10-13-2017 05:46 PM

I have a Sketchup Plugin call K2WS_Comp2LayerScene. I create the 3D model with individual parts being components. I then right click on a part and select component to scene/layer. The plugin creates new layers, moves components to the new layers and creates a new scene with orthogonal views:

View HTown's profile


114 posts in 1958 days

#11 posted 10-22-2017 11:44 PM

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