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Today I released two new versions of Ruby script tools; CutList Bridge 2.8 and Layers Management Tool 2.2. For download, installation and User’s Guide see SketchUp 2014–Tools Updated For SketchUp 2014 Compatibility.


On February 28th Trimble released the new versions of SketchUp: SketchUp Make 2014 (the free version) and SketchUp Pro 2014. There is not too much change visible from the outside, but a significant performance improvement under the hood. A good deal of that performance comes by upgrading the Ruby API from Ruby Version 1.8.7 to Ruby Version 2.0.0. This is a welcomed change, especially for people who write Ruby Plugin scripts such as me. However, that change caused many Ruby Plugin scripts to be incompatible with SketchUp 2014.

I spent the last few days coding changes to my tools to make them 2014 compatible. Today I am releasing new versions which work in SketchUp versions 7, 8, 2013 and 2014. I am releasing all of them as .rbz files which make loading them into SketchUp versions 2013 and 2014 a snap by following the instructions below. For SketchUp 7 and 8 users you can change the file extension from .rbz to .zip, open the .zip file with WinZip, 7-Zip or some other appropriate decompression software. Then extract the files and folders to the Plugins folder. You will need to restart SketchUp.

Locating Your Plugins Folder:

You will need to know the location of your Plugins folder to verify you installed CutList Bridge correctly and to import a materials.csv file from CutList Plus fx. SketchUp version 2014, both Make and Pro, has changed the location of the Plugins folder, so you should follow this procedure to be sure you know where it is. You can locate the Plugins folder using the Ruby Console. To open the Ruby Console go to the Window menu and click on Ruby Console. The Ruby Console will appear. In the white area at the bottom copy and paste or type the following line exactly as shown in the picture below left followed by Enter:

Sketchup.find_support_file(‘Plugins/’)

The location of the Plugins folder appears on the second line.Ruby statement to locate the Plugins folder.The location of the Plugins folder appears on the second line. You will see the results shown at right. If you get an error message re-type the quotation marks in the Ruby Console in the previous step. Note that I had to drag the right side of the window to enlarge it so the folder location would appear all on one line. Copy and paste the folder location and save it for future reference. You might also want to create a shortcut on your desktop pointing to the Plugins folder.

To install a SketchUp Ruby plugin script with the .rbz format:

  1. We recommend logging into your computer as an admin before installing any Ruby scripts. This will make the installation go more smoothly and ensure that files get installed in the proper places.
  2. Select Window > Preferences (Microsoft Windows) or SketchUp > Preferences (Mac OS X). The Preferences dialog box is displayed.
  3. Click on Extensions. The Extensions panel is displayed.
  4. Click on the Install Extension button. The Open dialog box is displayed.
  5. Locate the Ruby zip file to install (.rbz).
  6. Click on the Open button. The Ruby plugin appears in the list of extensions.
  7. You may see a message asking if you trust the author of this Ruby script. If you do click the Yes button. (Hint: I am trustable.)
  8. You may get a message announcing successful installation. Click OK.

Very Important – Please Report All Problems To: jpz@srww.com

Layers Management Tool:

  1. Download the Layers Management Version 2.2.pdf file to a location you will remember e.g. your desktop. This file is a short User’s Guide.
  2. Download the layers_2.2.rbz file to a location you will remember e.g. your desktop. Follow the installation instructions above.

Construction Plus Tools:

  1. Download the construction_plus.rbz file to a location you will remember e.g. your desktop. Follow the installation instructions above.

CutList Bridge:

  1. Download the CutList Bridge User’s Guide.pdf file to a location you will remember e.g. your desktop. This file is a User’s Guide.
  2. Download the cutlist_bridge_revision_2.8.rbz file to a location you will remember e.g. your desktop. Follow the installation instructions above.

SketchUp Comprehensive – From Download to Project Models

PWUlogo_500

Registration is now open for my new SketchUp Comprehensive on-line course hosted by Popular Woodworking University. Comprehensive SketchUp takes the student from downloading and installing SketchUp to modeling complete projects, producing shop drawings and cut lists.

The course is divided into three Parts and twelve Segments as shown below. The image that follows demonstrates the specific project and shapes the student will learn to model. Each Segment is accompanied with a Student Exercise and Question assignment and the student will have the opportunity for Q&A with me, the instructor, following each segment. Each Segment is a video approximately one hour long. The student can pause whenever desired to perform modeling on their own machine and control the pace.

The course runs from September 17, 2014 to October 29, 2014. Get started now by registering today.

SketchUp-Comp-Promo

SketchUp Comprehensive

 

From Download to Project Models

 

Part 1 – Introduction to SketchUp

Part 1 is a one segment part. It comprises an introductory document that answers the question “So What Is SketchUp?” and a one hour video that will cover downloading, setting up, personalizing the work area, familiarization with important tools and dialog boxes and modify or adding short cut keys. It will also introduce the student to Ruby scripts by installing one authored by me and which is necessary for this course.

Segment 1 – Installing & Setting Up SketchUp

1. So What Is SketchUp.pdf – Read this document before viewing Installing and Setting Up SketchUp.mp4.

2. Installing and Setting Up SketchUp.mp4 – To be viewed after reading So What Is SketchUp.pdf.

3. Segment 1 – Student Exercise.pdf – Questions to be answered and exercises to be completed at the end of viewing Installing and Setting Up SketchUp.mp4.

Part 2 – The Bedside Table

In Part 2 that student will begin with a blank sheet and draw an entire woodworking project titled The Bedside Table. At the completion or Part 2 the student will have drawn a complete set of shop drawings and a photorealistic image of the crafted piece. By focusing on one project, the student will learn the sequence and all the steps necessary to produce any project from scratch.

Segment 2 – Drawing Tapered Legs

In Segment 2 the student will learn to draw tapered legs. Many of the basic and commonly used SketchUp tools will be introduced in this segment. Segment 2 is a foundation segment. I will introduce my six rules for modeling in SketchUp.

Segment 3 – Adding Aprons, Joinery, Rails and Top

In Segment 3 the instructor introduces a very basic tenet of modeling with SketchUp: Letting the model define subsequent parts and joinery. Drawing the aprons tenons and mortises will demonstrate and bring home this very important concept. The student is introduced to circular curves. In addition, he/she learns to think ahead to easy ways of modeling that save time and effort, particularly when doing so while using the tenant introduced in Segment 3.

Segment 4 – Drawing the Drawer Sliders and Drawer Box

In Segment 4 the student learns to use the Protractor, Move/Copy Multiple, Circle and Intersect Faces tools to draw dovetailed drawer sides, front, back and tapered bottom. These are the primary elements of the traditional drawer. We will complete the drawer in Segment 5.

Segment 5 – Adding Cock Beading and Turned Drawer Pull

Segment 5 is follow-on to Segment 4. In it we complete the traditional drawer by adding cock bead trim and a turned drawer pull.

Segment 6 – Dimensioning and Texturing

The ultimate goal of Part 2 is to create shop drawings sufficient to not only build the Bedside Table, but use as a “marketing” tool to sell prospective clients. In Segment 7 we add dimensioning and scenes. Digital images of wood grain will be used to textures each part allowing for a photorealistic imaging.

Part 3 –non-Rectilinear Pieces and Complex Curves

Part 2 focused on one furniture piece and showed the student how it is modeled from blank sheet to finished shop drawings and photorealistic images. In Part 3 we will look at individual furniture pieces that require “difficult” or “complex” modeling skills. The student will learn that these are neither difficult nor complex once the techniques are explained.

Segment 7 – Splayed Pieces: The Dough Box

Orthogonal or rectilinear parts are easy to model, but what about splayed legs? How do you determine the compound angles? How do you draw the joinery for chair legs? These questions will be answered in Segment 7 using the example of a Dough Box.

Segment 8 – Splayed Pieces: The Shaker Stool

Segment 8 builds on Segment 7 to show the student how to apply splayed techniques to turned pieces with the example of a Shaker Stool.

Segment 9 – Modeling a Clock Hood with 3 Dimensional Circular Curves

The curved rail in the Bedside Table is quite simple. The curve is only one dimensional, i.e. it is a curve in only one plane. But how do you model a piece that curves in two or three dimensions? This happens a lot in clock pieces, especially grandfather clocks. The student will be exposed to the tricks to managing these parts in Segment 9.

Segment 10 – Table Top Edges with Non-Circular Curves

Segment 10 is the student’s first introduction to non-circular curves, i.e. curves that cannot be drawn with a simple circle or circle segment. There are a lot of tools that can help the SketchUp modeler with these curves. They are often modeled with Bezier or Spline drawing tools not unlike drawing curves with a pencil and French curve. The student will begin his/her foray into complex curves in this segment.

Segment 11 – Bracket Feet with Bezier Curves

In Segment 11 another important technique used in modeling parts with curves in more than one dimension is introduced. The technique is surprisingly simple; break the part into two or more parts, model simple curves and then take the intersections of these parts. This technique is used a lot in modeling bracket feet as we will do in this segment.

Segment 12 – Cabriole Legs with Bezier Curves

Segment 12 is the last and crowning segment in this tutorial. Not surprisingly, in this segment we learn to use some of our latent artistic talents to model the Cabriole leg. The Cabriole leg is modeled by joining three parts into one. The first two are joined much as the student did in Segment 11 to create a new part. This new part is then joined with a third part, the legs pad or slipper foot. This last step requires the students sense of artistry to “stich” the parts together.

Follow-up

At the end of this course there will be a voluntary and anonymous course and instructor appraisal form the student can fill out on-line.

This is a rough draft and is subject to change with discussion and sensitivity to schedule changes. To pull this off may require a fair amount of video editing and some new material creation. I view this as a working document and am open to any feedback and critique.


Basic SketchUp 2014 for Woodworkers

In my Chiefwoodworker’s Newsletter 3-9-2013 Addendum issue I announced that American Woodworker and Chiefwoodworker have teamed to bring in-depth and quality SketchUp training to a greater audience of woodworkers. Since March 12, 2013 Chiefwoodworker’s Beginner’s SketchUp Tutorials and Intermediate SketchUp Tutorials have been available exclusively through AmericanWoodworkerTV. Those tutorials were restricted to viewing on-line only and many of you have written to request a downloadable or DVD version.

Intermediate SketchUp 2014 for WoodworkersA confluence of events created “The Perfect Storm” which brings us to a new stage in the life of these tutorials.

Event one occurred on January 17, 2014; F+W Media announced it had purchased New Track Media. What that meant for woodworkers is that American Woodworker joined Popular Woodworking under the F+W Media umbrella. Both magazines will continue under their own publishing name but they are managed by the same team.

Intermediate SketchUp 2014 for WoodworkersEvent two occurred February 5th when I was contacted by F+W Media and asked if I would be interested in developing a DVD set of the Beginner’s and Intermediate SketchUp Tutorials. I of course said yes.

Finally, event three occurred a few weeks into that effort on February 28th when Trimble announced SketchUp Make 2014 and SketchUp Pro 2014. We quickly scrambled to redo all the videos to be compatible with SketchUp version 2014.

These two American Woodworker video tutorials, updated for SketchUp 2014 and called Basic and Intermediate SketchUp 2014 for Woodworkers, are now available at Popular Woodworking’s Shop Woodworking store, both in DVD format and download and in bundled sets. You access them directly from the following links:

Basic SketchUp 2014 for Woodworkers DVD

Basic SketchUp 2014 for Woodworkers Download

Intermediate SketchUp 2014 for Woodworkers DVD

Intermediate SketchUp 2014 for Woodworkers Download

 

SketchUp 2014 for Woodworkers Video Download Bundle

Stay tuned for future planned SketchUp activities at American Woodworker and Popular Woodworking coming soon.


SketchUp Make and Pro 2014 brought with it many improvements including the upgrade from Ruby 1.8.7 to Ruby 2.0 for its Ruby API and Plugins. Like most improvements, there are some casualties and collateral damage. I had hoped that CutList 2.6 release fixed all the SketchUp 2014 and Ruby 2.0 compatibility problems, but users have found a few more. So today I am releasing CutList Bridge 2.7.

Very Important – Please Report All Problems To: jpz@srww.com

CutList Bridge:

  1. Download the CutList Bridge User’s Guide.pdf file to a location you will remember e.g. your desktop. This file is a User’s Guide. Read the “Locating Your Plugins Folder” section and the “Installation” section very carefully.
  2. Download the cutlist_bridge_revision_2.7.rbz file to a location you will remember e.g. your desktop. Follow the installation instructions above.

MG_1940_thumb2

have written before about The Heartwood School, which is focused on homebuilding crafts, particularly timber framing. Heartwood resides in the town of Washington located in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts. It is run by Will and Michele Beemer. The school offers a full range of home construction and woodworking courses – including a SketchUp course for timber framers. There is now several Build Your Own: courses including Country Windsor Chair, Woodworker’s Workbench, Shavehorse, Pole Lathe and Heirloom Dovetail Toolchest. ALso added is an Advanced SketchUp Pro: Layout course.

The Heartwood School’s course list and 2014 schedule is shown below. For a complete course description go to http://www.heartwoodschool.com/coursefr.html and in the table’s second column locate the course of interest and click the link. For further information or to register contact Michele Beemer at 413/623-6677, www.heartwoodschool.com or request@heartwoodschool.com.

Two Week Courses:

July 7 – 18 Comprehensive Housebuilding

 

One Week Workshops:

April 21 – 25 Fundamentals of Woodworking
April 28 – May 2 Cabinetmaking
May 5 – 9 Stairbuilding
May 12 – 16 Build Your Own: Shavehorse
May 19 – 23 Build Your Own: Country Windsor Chair
June 9 – 13 Build Your Own: Workbench
June 16 – 20 Timber Framing
June 23 – 27 Scribed Timber Framing – Using Natural Forms
July 21 – 25 Finish Carpentry
July 28 – Aug 1 Cruck Framing
Aug. 11 – 15 Carpentry for Women
Aug. 18 – 22 Converting Trees to Timber
Aug. 25 – 29 Timber Framing
Sept. 8 – 12 Compound Joinery for Timber Framers
Sept. 15 – 19 Build a Skin-on-Frame Canoe
Sept. 22 – 26 Carve a 17th century Oak Box – Peter Follansbee
Sept. 29 – Oct 3 Build Your Own: Pole Lathe
Sept. 29 – Oct 3 Build Your Own: Heirloom Dovetail Toolchest
Oct. 6 – 10 Stairbuilding
Oct. 13 – 17 Fundamentals of Woodworking
Oct. 20 – 24 Cabinetmaking

 

Other Workshops:

April 7 – 9 Timber Grading (3-day)
April 17 – 19 Tangent Handrailing (3-day)
May 29 – 31 Hip and Valley Roof Framing for Carpenters (3-day)
May 29 – 31 Build an Outdoor Earthen Bake Oven (3-day)
June 2 – 4 Eyebrow Dormers (3-day)
June 5 – 7 Intro to SketchUp for Timber Framers (3-day)
June 6 – 7 Concrete Countertops (2-day)
June 30 – July 2 Traditional Raising and Rigging (3-day)
Sept. 4 – 6 Timber Frame Design & Joinery Decisions (3-day)
Sept. 26 – 27 Advanced SketchUpPro: Layout (2–day)

Cherry BedA number of years back I built a bed for myself using pictures and plans from an article in Workbench Magazine, Heirloom Bed, March/April 2001, page 52.

Constructed entirely of native New England cherry, it is finished with a natural, hand rubbed tung oil. Cherry will darken naturally with age to a rich reddish brown. The legs and rails are one piece, no glue-ups. This adds a little to the cost but makes the finished product more appealing.

Though not visible, the curved rail of the headboard has a natural grain pattern that looks like a dolphin jumping out of the water. We are always looking for natural patterns to incorporate in a piece.

I modified the bed slightly to have a clearance of 12″ under the bed to allow for storage and easy cleaning.

Cherry DresserDetail of Top, Trim, Chamfer and Lamb's TongueA few years later I designed and built two matching dressers. At right above is pictured the bed and at left the dresser. The dresser stands 48 1/4” tall, 36” wide and 18 1/2” deep. There are five graduated drawers, the top drawer having a faux front to simulate two drawers.

All Five Drawers Are Hand DovetailedLike the bed, the dresser is made of native New England cherry; the drawer boxes are poplar. The convex curves in the bed are picked up in the concave curves of the dresser. The legs have the same curved taper design at the bottom, chamfered on the corners with a lamb’s tongue at each end. The sides of the dresser pick up the tongue and grove slats from the headboard and footboard of the bed. To keep the same feel in heftiness I used stout 2” x 2” legs and a 1” top on the dresser.

In all my pieces I use traditional drawer design with floating tapered bottoms and hand cut dovetails. This project was a twin dresser build, so I had ten drawers to dovetail. At the end of an entire day of dovetailing these 68 year old hands can cramp up a lot ;<)

Hand Cut DovetailsMy current project is to design and construct matching bedside tables with two drawers and some space for books or a small stereo unit. I have a multi-part video series on my American Woodworker blog detailing the design process and modeling. You can view Designing Furniture From Scratch In SketchUp–Part 1 by clicking on this hyperlink.

SketchUp Model of the Cherry Bedside TableAt right is a picture of the SketchUp model of the matching bedside table. You can see how the curves, legs and slatted sides appear in all three pieces; bed, dresser and bedside table. The bedside table stands 32” high, 20 1/2” wide and 19 1/4” deep. The opening is 11 3/4” high and 14” wide; tall enough for an 8 1/2” x 11” notebook.

In the near future there will be detailed SketchUp models and shop drawings on my Free Plans page for all three pieces. Perhaps one day I will design a matching bureau and mirrors. Stay tuned.


Completed StandI recently finished a four part post to my American Woodworker blog site titled The Book of Shaker Furniture by John Kassay – A Treasure Trove for SketchUp Generation Woodworkers. This series of posts demonstrates how to create a 3D model based on 2D drawings from any woodworking book or drawings. The specific piece is a Shaker Round Stand pictured at right. If you wish to learn how this piece was modeled in SketchUp and shop drawings created you can follow the links below:

  1. The Book of Shaker Furniture by John Kassay – A Treasure Trove for SketchUp Generation Woodworkers – Part 1
  2. The Book of Shaker Furniture by John Kassay – A Treasure Trove for SketchUp Generation Woodworkers – Part 2
  3. The Book of Shaker Furniture by John Kassay – A Treasure Trove for SketchUp Generation Woodworkers – Part 3
  4. The Book of Shaker Furniture by John Kassay – A Treasure Trove for SketchUp Generation Woodworkers – Part 4

If you wish to build this stand you can go to my Free Plans page (menu), look in the spreadsheet under Tables for Shaker Round Stand. Click the smiley face in the SketchUp column to download the SketchUp model and shop drawings. You can print out a full scale drawing of the pedestal and leg used in this piece to create templates for the shop. If you have trouble printing to scale in SketchUp see my post Printing To Scale With SketchUp Make & SketchUp Pro 2013. The techniques used in this post also works for SketchUp version 7 & 8.


Chief's American Woodworker BlogIt’s been a while since I have posted here. Not because I am no longer posting, but because I am posting once a week on my American Woodworker blog too. Between my website, my American Woodworker blog, writing SketchUp scripts (I have three I am working on at the moment) and working in my own woodshop I have had time for little else. My newsletter has suffered too, but I hope to get one out shortly.

Anyway, if you visit here and don’t see any recent articles, go to my American Woodworker blog and catch me there. I will try to cross link them so you can find me wherever I am.


It’s out and it’s disappointing. If you are a free version user of SketchUp you have a new name to deal with for 2013: SketchUp Make. In addition you are more restricted in your use of SketchUp Make; you can not use it for business or profit oriented activities in any way. Other than that, you don’t have much to look forward to from a user interface point of view. It is quite possible that SketchUp Make (and SketchUp Pro) are a lot faster in some applications and hopefully more stable and less buggy. But the jury will be out on that for some time.

SketchUp Pro has some new features that are nice in the LayOut application; most notably you have cross section fill capability. But there is very little in the SketchUp application itself of import.

Higher price, uglier icons, still Ruby 1.6 internally even though Ruby is up to 2.0, no improvement in Ruby console (I thought sure Unit Test would make it in there) etc. etc. etc. Let’s hope they did something of value when they expose the under the hood changes. Right now, very disappointing.

The one thing that is obvious is the toolbar set up. You can now set up your toolbar with its own dialog box and when you collapse the window the toolbars and position is returned when the wind is expanded, Nice, but setting up the tool bar is a onetime thing and I could easily have lived with the old method. And Save Toolbar Postions worked quite nicely. What I don’t like about the new toolbar behavior is that I can’t place a vertical x 2 column on the left or right side. It forces a x 1 horizontal column when I try.
The fill capability in LayOut is nice, but it would have been better if it were integrated into the Section tool in SketchUp. I haven’t checked my list of bugs yet, but I bet when I do printing to scale and printing extents still isn’t fixed; a problem that has existed since the beginning of time. So far Trimble gets a failing grade from me for its influence on SketchUp.

I hope I have to retract or alter my First Blush opinion on SketchUp 2013. Trust me, I would happily do so it warranted. But I am not hopeful.

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