Should i buy sketchup pro?

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Forum topic by Mimas posted 02-12-2019 05:31 PM 1009 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 277 days

02-12-2019 05:31 PM

Topic tags/keywords: sketchup


I am a total begginer in woodworking and this question may sound stupid, but i hope i will get an answer :)

I am planning to create some easy furniture (begin with chairs, then tables and beds and finish with cabinets or maybe a tiny cabin)
question is: should I buy sketchup pro? or maybe it is ok with sketchup free? to draw a furiniture is not a big deal, but i cant find info about exporting drawing to cnc machines? Is this possible with sketchup free?

maybe there is other alternatives for begginers, that costs less than sketchup pro?

thanks for your time and answers,

28 replies so far

View LittleShaver's profile


586 posts in 1132 days

#1 posted 02-12-2019 06:05 PM

I’m a bit of a Luddite. I’ve been making things out of wood for over 40 years and have never used anything more than paper and pencil. Quadrille graph paper and a clear straightedge work great. A set of french curves and a compass fills out the kit.

-- Sawdust Maker

View JAAune's profile


1871 posts in 2829 days

#2 posted 02-12-2019 06:32 PM

Start with the free version. Buy pro if you decide the dynamic components and DXF import/export functions are necessary.

-- See my work at and

View jdmaher's profile


461 posts in 3092 days

#3 posted 02-12-2019 07:03 PM

I’ve used Sketchup for many years now (almost 20!); the Pro version. For woodworking design, I believe I have NEVER absolutely needed a feature that was only was available in Pro.

The product has changed recently. Sketchup Free is now a web-based product, not software you run on your desktop. Regardless, it pretty much does what it always did.

I recommend that you start with Free and move to Pro only if absolutely have to, and I’m guessing that time will never come.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View Bill Berklich's profile

Bill Berklich

907 posts in 901 days

#4 posted 02-12-2019 07:32 PM

+ on the Free version. Unless you want to be a CAD designer. The free version will get you everything you need to create basic drawings and details needed for any project you will tackle as a beginner. I will say that Pencil and Paper sketches are pretty quick and easy though. I only use Sketchup for more complex things.

-- Bill - Rochester MI

View ScottM's profile


743 posts in 2659 days

#5 posted 02-12-2019 08:16 PM

I’ve used Sketchup for several years also; the free versions. I’ve heard people complain about the new web version, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. Still using one of the older desktop versions. Works well and haven’t found anything I need to do that it can’t do….

View Rich's profile


5001 posts in 1102 days

#6 posted 02-12-2019 08:35 PM

You can still download previous versions that do run locally and not on the web.

View fivecodys's profile


1491 posts in 2149 days

#7 posted 02-12-2019 11:22 PM

I ve used Sketchup for several years also; the free versions. I ve heard people complain about the new web version, but I haven t gotten to it yet. Still using one of the older desktop versions. Works well and haven t found anything I need to do that it can t do….

- ScottM

Same here.

-- When you leave your shop for the night, make sure you can always count to 10.

View ChefHDAN's profile


1460 posts in 3362 days

#8 posted 02-13-2019 03:11 PM

Welcome to LJ’s, $700 for SU Pro is way more than I can swallow for my hobby uses. After many great SU tutorials on YouTube I really like being able to design and draw projects before getting into the shop. There are many errors that can be avoided and it’s also a great help laying out cuts onto sheet goods for minimal waste. The new web free SU sucks but the older 2017 make is good and you can download that version here .

Recently CharlesA posted a thread about Fusion 360 see it here which is also free for the student/hobbyist level and is reportedly superior to SU and I intend to download it soon and check it out.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View jimintx's profile


921 posts in 2097 days

#9 posted 02-13-2019 03:24 PM

Mimas asked this question as a very first post, and hasn’t commented again, on anything. Thus, he (she) is likely already gone from LJ. However, I wanted to chime in with two other things.

First is another vote for using a quadrille pad and pencils. (I do not classify woodworking and software applications as the same hobby or skill.)

Second is that I personally find these phrases to be quite disparate, and the combination of them to be … , shall we say, interesting:
“a total beginner in woodworking”,
“to draw a furiniture is not a big deal”, and
“info about exporting drawing to inc machines”

-- Jim, Houston, TX

View Lazyman's profile


3983 posts in 1900 days

#10 posted 02-13-2019 04:51 PM

+1 On looking at Fusion 360 from Autodesk. It seems to have more features and may also be better for CNC from what I have read. It is totally free for hobbiest and it doesn’t limit features. I use Sketchup but wish I had started the F360. They are just different enough that it is hard to go back and forth without compounding the frustration. Sketchup Free will handle 99% of what most hobbiest and DIYer want to do. When you activated the free version, they usually give you 30 days of access to the Pro features so you can basically try before you buy.

Having said all that, as a beginner, I would first try getting some plans, especially for furniture, and making those before trying to jump into designing it yourself. You really need to learn the woodworking before you jump into designing. Also note that there is a learning curve for both Sketchup and F360 you have to master before you will be able to design anything, much less furniture with complex joinery. Learn the woodworking first!

If you are looking for some good designs that a beginner can handle, I would look at Woodsmith magazine. They sell individual plans but a better option may be to buy their back issue library. You can search and browse the online library here. It is a good magazine for beginners and the plans, IMO, are a great way to learn the skills needed to do each one. They have lots off good info on the techniques and tools needed to make their plans.

BTW, don’t fall for the “Ted’s woodworking plans” scam. As you are searching for plans you are bound to come across that at some point. I personally would also avoid plans from Ana White. From the few that I have looked at, they look to me like they were designed by someone who hasn’t learned woodworking yet.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View BobLang's profile


173 posts in 3913 days

#11 posted 02-13-2019 05:46 PM

One of the best things about SketchUp is you can learn how to use the software before you spend any money. The biggest difference between the no cost and paid versions of SketchUp is the types of files you can import and export. There are also solid modeling tools in the paid versions that let you use one part of a joint (like a tenon) to make the making part (the mortise) with just a couple of clicks of the mouse. You can accomplish the same thing in the no cost versions, but it takes a few more clicks.

If you’re just starting out I suggest you download SketchUp Make 2017, the last “desktop” version that is free for personal use. There is a post on my website that answers the question which Version of SketchUp is for me?

-- Bob Lang,

View johnstoneb's profile


3131 posts in 2685 days

#12 posted 02-13-2019 05:59 PM

When you install Sketchup get the entire program. The Pro parts have a 30 day expiration. The hope being you will use them decide you need them and pay the toll for the Pro version and the unlock code if you don’t want the pro version those parts stop functioning after 30 days.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Rich's profile


5001 posts in 1102 days

#13 posted 02-13-2019 06:21 PM

There are also solid modeling tools in the paid versions that let you use one part of a joint (like a tenon) to make the making part (the mortise) with just a couple of clicks of the mouse. You can accomplish the same thing in the no cost versions, but it takes a few more clicks.

- BobLang

I’ve always done mating parts using your “explode” method that works in SketchUp Make. I wasn’t aware that Pro made it easier, but now that I have it, I’d like to learn the quick method. I see you have a blog post from 2012 on the subject. Is there anything newer, or is the method unchanged since then?

View lew's profile


12863 posts in 4268 days

#14 posted 02-13-2019 06:30 PM

+1 for Bob Lang’s comment about Sketchup Make 2017.

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

View Mimas's profile


2 posts in 277 days

#15 posted 02-13-2019 06:50 PM

Hi again,

I can see a lot of good answers and ideas here.
Best idea is to download sketchup make. Thanks for it.

Short about me.

Child room is all made of home made furniture(made drawings in excel and cut wood with saw). During this process I found woodworking very interesting and decided to quit my office job and make living froom woodworking so thats why pen an and paper method doesnt suit for me.
I did not quit my job yet because i want to make some examples and sell it and see how much i can expect to earn.
So this explains my question

Topic is closed i guess, unless someone can recommen reading material for beginner( diff wood types, paint for wood, trends, tools and so on

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