welcome to my blog

designing and building with wood channels my creativity and challenges my mind.
This blog is a record of my life in my studio.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My Review of Sketchup 8 Pro Solid Tools

I love Google's Sketchup software.  I have used the free version, and I currently use version 7 Pro, which is now free on Sketchup's website.  I have also tried the new version 8 Pro with Solid Tools.  My only gripe is that making actual complete plans is difficult because it's hard to draw compound angled faces, or manipulate profiled extrusions.  Sketchup isn't great at curves.  

But the Solid Tools are a major improvement in Sketchup, especially for
making complete plans.  This is important to me, as I am getting ready to do my first production run of CNC-machined casework.  I look forward to when all of the Solid Tools are available in a free version of the application (right now, only 8 Pro, which costs around $450, has all the Solid Tools).  For now, you can try the Solid Tools by downloading a trial copy of Sketchup 8 Pro.  Just be sure to save your finished design in version 7 so you can open it again once the 8 hour trial runs out!

Solid Tools allow you to use an object to not just cut into another object, but to also interact with another object in all sorts of ways.  Google has a good video on how all the Solid Tools work here.

I found that Solid Tools made it a lot easier to draw mitered profiled corners, and compound-angled dados and rebates.  Many (though not all!) of the functions of Solid Tools were available, one way or another, in earlier versions of Sketchup.  But having these once complex actions available at a click makes designing ACTUAL plans much easier.

By the way, I highly recommend the Missing Manual for Sketchup.  It took me a few days to go through the book, and at the end I was a whiz.  I tried the tutorials, but they're not organized, and don't show complete workflows.  If you don't want to waste time, just get the book.  You can follow the book's author, Chris Grover, on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/BolinasRoad

No comments:

Post a Comment