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Four Sided Tapered BoxI just couldn’t help myself. Over the last few years I have often wanted to draw a construction line normal (perpendicular) to a surface. It’s not particularly hard to do with a few key clicks if the surface is part of an object with sides that are already normal to it. However, on surfaces such as those on the four sided tapered box shown left, not so easy. I often wished I had one tool that would accomplish the task, and more importantly, let me place the line anywhere I wanted it. Well, now I have it, because I wrote a Ruby script tool for SketchUp and added it to the Construction Plus toolbar.

Before I provide you a download link you should read the simple operating instructions provided here.

Draw Normal Tool Description

Tool Draw Normal tool draws a construction line, normal to a selected face at a point specified by the user. When the Shift modifier key is selected a line of specified length is drawn instead. The tab key is used to select the construction line stippling.

Normal Construction Lines

draw_normal_cursorStart by selecting a face. The face should be a primitive, not a component or group. If you wish to draw a construction line normal to a face in a component or group, enter component or group edit mode first. Next select a point. The point can be anywhere, it doesn’t have to reside on the face. Once the point is selected a construction line is drawn at the chosen point in a direction normal to the chosen face (plane). The construction line is placed on the $Construction$ layer if one exists, or is created by the tool if not.

The Tab modifier key can be used to select line stippling by cycling through the available styles. The default is Long Dashes. Other styles available are Dots, Short Dashes and Dash-Dot-Dash.

draw_normal_multiple_cursorIf you wish to choose one face and place multiple normal construction lines, use the Ctrl modifier key. Notice when the Ctrl modifier key is selected and the mouse moves a + sign is added to the cursor to indicate you can add additional lines.

Normal Lines

draw_normal_line_cursorAlternatively, if the Shift modifier key is pressed the tool will place a line of specified length at the chosen point in a direction normal to the selected face. The cursor will change to a solid line as shown left. In this mode the order of steps is: select a face, choose a point and specify a length in the VCB and type Enter.

draw_normal_line_multiple_cursorLike the construction line mode, you can choose a face and add additional lines normal to the face, each at different points and of varying lengths if you wish. Use the Ctrl modifier key as before and a + will be added to the cursor indicating you can add additional lines.

Tool Life Cycle

When the Draw Normal tool is selected it remains active until another tool is selected. While Draw Normal is active the user can successively select faces and place a construction line(s) or line(s) normal to the selected face. If the Ctrl modifier key is selected, the selected face remains selected so that multiple construction lines or lines can be placed normal to the same face.

Modifier keys can be activated and deactivated by successive presses of the key. In this way a single face can remain selected while multiple construction lines and/or lines are placed at various points, each normal to the face.

If, during any step in the use of the tool, the user needs to reposition the view, simply choose a camera tool such as Orbit, Zoom or Pan. When the view has been repositioned press the Esc key and you will return to the Draw Normal tool where you left off. The Esc key is not needed for Zoom Extents; in this case you return to the Draw Normal tool immediately following the Zoom Extents.

Draw Normal is deactivated when a tool other than a camera tool is selected.

This tool is most helpful when used on faces that are not on, or parallel to, the red/green, blue/green or red/blue plane. All construction lines are placed on the $Construction$ layer. If the $Construction$ layer does not exist it will be added by the tool.

Lines of specified length will remain on Layer0.

Installing Draw Normal Only

Download the file and extract it to your SketchUp plugins folder. When completed your plugins folder should contain the draw_normal folder and the draw_normal.rb  file. Be sure to enable the Construction Plus toolbar by checking it under View/Toolbars menu.

Installing The Entire Construction Plus Tool Set

Construction Plus Tool SetDownload the file and extract it to your SketchUp plugins folder. When completed you should have the files and folders highlighted in the picture at left in your plugins folder. If any of these previously existed in the plugins folder you will be asked if you want to replace them. Answer “Yes to All”. Alternatively, you can delete these files and folders prior to extracting the new In either case after downloading and extracting the sip file check to be sure these files and folders are present in your plugins folder. Be sure to enable the Construction Plus toolbar by checking it under View/Toolbars menu.


Do you live in the Eastern States? Are you a woodworker looking for something new and exciting to do for the weekend? Well visit the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking and their 11th Annual Open House.

This one is shaping up to be the best ever. All the info is below. As always – there will be student displays exhibiting some of their most excellent work. The student work gallery has gotten better and better each year – and this year promises to be their best.

If you are interested in Woodworking, Furniture making, Woodturning, Blacksmithing, old tools, Guitar making or just having a good time then you need to come.

Check out the superb work of CVSW students and talk to demonstrators and school instructors.

If old tools are your thing then you are in luck. There will be at least six antique tool dealers there for the day.

The whole idea of the event is to get a bunch of people who are interested in woodworking together and have a good time!

A partial list of demonstrators/ exhibitors is below:

  • Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking student work gallery
  • Lie-Nielsen Toolworks
  • Central Ct Woodturners
  • Mystic Woodcarvers
  • Fine Woodworking Magazine
  • US Guitars
  • Matt Bickford 18th Century Molding Planes
  • Walt Scadden Blacksmithing and Carbon Fiber work
  • Tico Vogt – Chute boards
  • Jeff Noden – Adjusta bench
  • Greg Massicotte – Behlen finishing products
  • Bill Rittner – custom handplane knobs & totes
  • Joe Zeh- Sketch Up instructor
  • Ct Historical society
  • CVSW Instructors
                Bob Van Dyke, Will Neptune, Mickey Callahan, Walt Scadden


The open house is Saturday, September 10, 9am – 3pm- Rain or Shine! For directions see

If you haven’t noticed yours truly will be there demonstrating Google’s free SketchUp 3D drawing application, which has become a must tool for woodworkers who design their own furniture. Stop by and say hello. We can talk SketchUp, shop or anything woodworking related. Hope to see you there.

If you are interested in CVSW classes the entire fall schedule is posted and can be seen at
There are some great classes coming up.

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