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A JPEG Image Found in an Internet Search

A JPEG Image Found in an Internet Search

In Country Style Cabinets with a Furniture Flair – Part 1 and Part 2, I showed you how to add base and crown molding to a cabinet. If you are a professional cabinetmaker you probably don’t want to spend your time creating moldings over and over. You need a library of moldings to choose from. You can find thousands of moldings from internet searches, especially the 3D Warehouse. However, many of the interesting moldings are .jpg images such as I used in Country Style Cabinets with a Furniture Flair – Part 2 shown at right. So you may find yourself stuck creating it as I did in Part 2.

However, it only takes a few extra minutes to add your creation to a library of moldings. Hence forth they are available from the Components dialog box (Components library). In this post and accompanying video I will explain how you can create your own library and provide you with a few options for organizing the library. But first I want to review the steps used in Part 2 to create a cross section from a .jpg (or other graphic type) image file. I will use the .jpg profile shown above right found in an internet search. I will call this profile Jeremy.

Steps in Creating a Cross Section From a JPEG Image

If you don’t have a Bezier curve tool already you will need one for this procedure. There are some really good and flexible extensions for SketchUp. I have two favorites:

Fredo6: Bezier Spline v1.9a

SketchUp Team: Bezier Curve Tool v1.1

Bezier Spline is very flexible, draws polylines, Bezier curves and Spline curves. It has numerous icons and can be a little intimidating if you don’t use it a lot, but it is my favorite for drawing complex curves. The Bezier Curve Tool is quick to learn and easy to use and the results are quite astonishing. The Bezier Curve Tool is the one I will use in this post and video.

SketchUp Profile with Discontinuities Labeled

SketchUp Profile with Discontinuities Labeled

Before I get into the steps for creating a cross section I want to make sure we are on the same page with terminology. Curves such as S-curves are made up of curve segments that join at a point of inflection. Points of inflection are points along a curve where the curve changes from convex to concave or concave to convex. They are smooth transitions and mathematically both segments have the same tangent at that point of inflection. Discontinuities on the other hand are points where a curve segment joins another curve segment (or line) and the two segments do not share the same tangent line. At this point of discontinuity there is an abrupt change in direction of the overall curve.

The image at left is the SketchUp model of the cross section (profile) I created by tracing Jeremy above right. I will also refer to this SketchUp model profile as Jeremy in the future. Notice there are five points of discontinuity along the front face. Between these five points are four smooth curve segments. The smooth curve segment are also broken down into sub-segments; at places where there are inflection points or where the sharpness of the curve changes and it is convenient to add a sub-segment.

These sub-segments are called polylines (all curves in SketchUp are polylines ‘smoothly welded’ together). Where these sub-segments join one another, but not at discontinuities, we want to weld them so they do not appear as a line when the profile is extruded. This means you need another tool:

Smustard Team: Weld v3.0.5

With the above terminology and our new tools we are ready for the steps in creating mold cross sections.

  1. Drag and drop a graphical image such as a .jpg file into a new SketchUp model.
  2. Orient the image at the Origin. Since most moldings run horizontally is is usually best to place the image on the Blue/Green or Blue/Red plane. Don’t worry about the size of the image at this point.
  3. Most .jpg images of molding have dimensions shown on them like Jeremy above right. If not you will have to choose a desired dimension for an edge in the image. Measure the actual length of that edge with the Tape Measure tool and record it.
  4. Create a scale factor with the actual dimension and the dimension given on the .jpg or the desired dimension you chose. It’s a simple matter of dividing the two numbers. Chose which is the divisor by whether you need to scale the image up or down.
  5. Use the Scale tool and the scale factor calculated in Step 4 to scale the image to the correct size.
  6. Location of a User's Custom Components Library

    Location of a User’s Custom Components Library

    The image is a component slightly larger than the profile you want to trace and it is also a face that you can trace on. Use the Line and Bezier tools to trace the profile. Here is the very important part: keep your eye on the Inference Engine each time you click on a point and make sure you are actually on the face. The Inference Engine tool tip will say ‘On Face in Image’. If you are not on the face you will be somewhere else in 3D space and in the end will not get a face to extrude.
  7. After the outline is traced and you are sure you have a face to work with locate all the points of discontinuities. Between the points of discontinuity select all the sub-segments with the Ctrl key and the Select tool. Use the Weld tool to join them.
  8. Delete the .jpg image. It is no longer needed.
  9. Make a component of the profile. Give it a name that will make sense to you later when you may want to locate it in the library again.
  10. Save the file in your library file. Here is where I saved my Jeremy.skp file:C:\Users\Joe\AppData\Roaming\SketchUp\SketchUp 2017\SketchUp\Components\Crown Molding

Your Library Appears in the Components DIalog Box List

Your Library Appears in the Components DIalog Box List

If you look in the Window > Preferences dialog box and select the Files page you will see where SketchUp is expecting you to put your library. If you put your library there is will show up in the Components dialog box where you can readily drag it into a model. See the images above right and at left.

Choices, Choices, Choices!

In the video you are about to watch you will see there are several (actually numerous) ways you can build and save your library. The first, as I just explained, is to save only the profiles in the library. Then, when you create a new model and want to trim something you can drag the molding profile into your model. From there you can proceed as I did starting at 50:08 in the Part 2 video or starting at 26:22 in today’s video.

In today’s video you will see that there are two other ways you can store your moldings in your library. You can include the profile and some number of useful components with their bounding boxes corrected, or you can store the profile and some number of useful components without their bounding boxes corrected.

Which of these three methods you use is up to you and how you are comfortable manipulating images or components. Each has its advantages and disadvantages and no one way is right for everyone. You need to develop a method that works for you.

As promised I am going to supply you with two profiles you can use to start your library. Crown Molding ZIP Folder Now it is time to enjoy today’s feature film. Get the popcorn, sit back and relax while I work.


I have updated Layers Manager with the following changes:

  1. Changed the tool icons to large format pdf, svg and png files to support high DPI displays. In SketchUp versions older than 2016 the png icons will be used. In versions 2016 or later pdf icons will be used in Mac OSX versions and svg in Windows versions.
  2. Broke the layers.rb file into layers.rb at the Plugins folder level and layers_loader.rb in the layers folder. This permitted signing of the extension and providing it on the Extensions Warehouse.
  3. Added a new tool called Complement All Layers.

You can download layers_2.3.rbz by clicking on this link. You can also download the installation and description PDF here.

Layers Manager Tool Overview

There are two personalities to the Layers Management tool: Layer0 Warning, which attempts to keep one out of trouble by warning the user when he/she changes the active layer to other than Layer0; Layer Tools which are a tool set used to create layers and make them all visible, invisible or reversed.

Layer0 Warning

I have taught SketchUp to a large number of students, mostly through my live courses, DVDs and book. Based on their feedback, and conversations I have had with other instructors, it is clear there are two dominant areas students struggle with.

1.    The stickiness of SketchUp is stumbling block number one. Anytime two primitives touch they become connected. This is useful if those primitives are meant to touch, such as when they are pieces of the same part. But if they are pieces of different parts this stickiness creates huge problems. The solution is for students to download and follow the Six Rules for Modeling in SketchUp. I have found that students who follow these rules, particularly Rule 4 – As soon as a part takes 3D shape make it a component – escape this problem entirely.

2.    The second largest stumbling block is the accidental or intentional violation of Rule 2 – Layer0 (Layer Zero) should always be active when modeling. To see the kind of havoc this can cause view the Primitives, Components & Layers tutorial. To help students avoid this problem I have added functionality to the Layers Manager tool which will warn of a Rule 2 violation.

view_menuThe image at right shows the View menu with Layer0 Warning shown enabled when checked.
The intent of Layer0 Warning is to let a beginner know when he/she is about to change from active Layer0 (Layer Zero) to another layer. By default Layer0 Warning is enabled the first time Layers Manager is installed. From then on the last state of Layer0 Warning will be stored upon closing SketchUp and recalled upon subsequently opening SketchUp.

If you wish to disable the warning go to menu View/Layer0 Warning and uncheck it.

If you wish to re-enable Layer0 Warning go to menu View/Layer0 Warning and check it.

When enabled Layer0 Warning will monitor the active layer; the layer with the radio button selected to the left of its name. If a layer other than Layer0 is made active, a warning message will appear.
 
The message will tell you which layer will become the active layer and also how to disable the warning. If a layer other than Layer0 is active and then Layer0 is made active, no warning is given because Layer0 is the desired layer for modeling. Note that this is just a warning; Layer0 Warning will not prohibit the layer change. The user must decide if this change was intentional or accidental. If the latter the user must manually change back to Layer0. Click OK to close the warning message box.

I should point out that I am an experienced SketchUp user and I never disable Layer0 Warning. It is too easy to accidentally change the active layer and get into serious modeling trouble.

Layers Tools

The Layers Manager has the following commands under the View menu:

  • Add Visible Layer
  • Add Invisible Layer
  • Show All Layers
  • Complement All Layers
  • Hide All Layers

In addition a Layer Tools toolbar is available under View/Toolbars and contains four icons which can be used instead of the menu items above. You make this toolbar visible by choosing View/Toolbars/Layer Tools. The toolbar looks as follows:

layers_toolbar
 

Description of Tools:

add_visible_layerAdd Visible Layer icon adds a visible layer to the current scene, but invisible to all existing and new scenes. Add Visible Layer always adds a layer to the Layers list but its Visible check box is unchecked in all scenes EXCEPT the scene that was active (scene tab is blue) when you added the layer. If there are no scenes, a layer is added and its Visible check box is CHECKED.

add_invisible_layerAdd Invisible Layer icon adds an invisible layer to all existing and new scenes. Add Invisible Layer always adds a layer to the Layers list but its Visible check box is unchecked in all scenes. If there are no scenes, a layer is added and its Visible check box is CHECKED.

show_all_layersShow All Layers icon makes all layers visible.

complement_all_layersComplement All Layers icon reverses the visibility of all layers except the active layer which should always be Layer0.

hide_all_layersHide All Layers icon makes all layers invisible except the active layer which should always be Layer0.


Popular Woodworking In America Registration

The 2016 Popular Woodworking in America (formerly Woodworking in America) is September 16 – 18 and yours truly will be speaking, joining a renowned cast of speakers including Marc Adams, Chris Schwarz and Roy Underhill. My presentations will include two SketchUp talks:

  • Plan Your Work & Work Your Plan is directed at SketchUp beginners and will demonstrate how to use SketchUp to model furniture pieces and create shop drawings.

    Download Plan Your Work & Work Your Plan here (This presentation was mostly live modeling in SketchUp).

  • SketchUp Clinic is about organizing your model to produce useful & professional shop drawings. It is directed at experienced SketchUp modelers and will provide a best practices strategy for organizing your SketchUp model so that it may be easily imported into LayOut, a professional presentation and documentation application that comes with the Pro license of SketchUp.

    Download SketchUp Clinic here.

Each of these talks will be two hours in length and each given twice.

There are numerous presentations and classes over the three days of WIA. You can view the session descriptions here and the session schedules here. In addition to woodworking classes there is a trade show with the manufacturers of your favorite tools. Most importantly there are Friday and Saturday evening activities for those who want to tip a few while talking to fellow woodworkers. Brought to you by the editors of Popular Woodworking Magazine, Popular Woodworking in America (now PopWIA) is one of the nation’s best woodworking and trade shows and is headed back to the Greater Cincinnati Area for another great show! Come join us.


Larson Kitchen 1Later this fall I will be releasing an Alpha version of CabWriter. I have been working on this project with Greg Larson, owner of the New England School of Architectural Woodworking (nesaw.com). Greg, you might say, is the architect of CabWriter and I am the coder. The pictures you see here are snapshots I took of Greg’s kitchen – remodeled using CabWriter.

You may have heard bits and pieces of CabWriter if you follow me on my Popular Woodworking blog, or my personal blog or website. Today I want to formally introduce CabWriter and give you a hint of its features and show you some of the results to-date. But first there are two questions I need to answer, even before you ask them: what is an Alpha release and what is CabWriter?

What is an Alpha Release?

Larson Kitchen 1In the software world a new product is sometimes released in what is referred to as an Alpha release. The purpose is primarily to get very early feedback and suggestions. A secondary purpose is to build interest. Alpha releases are almost always free and have the following disclaimers:

  1. Functionality is incomplete or may change in future releases. That is, current functionality may be dropped or new functionality may be added in future releases. A CabWriter specific example is that it only works with inset doors in the Alpha release, but in its first product release will work with inset, overlay and frameless doors.
  2. There may be significant software bugs in an Alpha release. This is a direct tradeoff with the desire to expose a new product early. Users are asked to be patient and to take part in its improvement by reporting bugs to the developer. In the specific case of CabWriter reports should be made to me at : jpz@srww.com .
  3. The user uses an Alpha release at their own risk whether for personal use or commercial use. The very nature of an Alpha release is “use at your own risk”.
  4. Using an Alpha release is not a license to use the product release. You will need to acquire a license after product release.

Larson Kitchen 3So much for disclaimers, here is why I am releasing an Alpha version. I will be looking for help from users who want to design and build kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets, and office or library furniture. I want feedback in the form of constructive criticism, bug reports, feature suggestions and training needs. In return, for those who actively participate, you get the first CabWriter product license for free. If you are interested you can contact me via email and ask to be an Alpha user. You don’t have to participate to be an Alpha user, but only active participants will get a free license. I will, of course, be the judge of who has actively participated.

What is CabWriter?

Larson Kitchen Modeled in SketchUpCabWriter is a SketchUp Ruby script extension (formerly called plug-in). As its name implies CabWriter permits automatic and efficient custom cabinet 3D modeling, shop drawing documentation, cut list generation and DXF output that permits CNC milling. CabWriter is tightly connected to CutList Bridge and hence CutList Plus fx for material optimization. CabWriter takes advantage of the powerful Ruby API supported by Trimble SketchUp; its functional code is written in Ruby while the Graphical User Interface in JavaScript, HTML and CSS.

Shop Drawing in LayOut 1There will likely be two or three version with a target range from the hobbyist/weekend warrior to the professional cabinet shop. CabWriter comes with CutList Bridge. So far we have designed, built and installed four custom kitchens and are currently working on the fifth and sixth.

Shop Drawing in LayOut 2The goal of CabWriter is to be able to meet with a client at their residence and within a few hours walk away with a complete 3D design the client can sign off on, including plan and elevation views, cut list and materials list, cost estimate and even DXF output for CNC milling. In the real world of course clients will always want to make changes the next day and for a few weeks later. However, CabWriter makes it possible to complete this entire goal in just a few hours sans further changes. In the next two months we expect to demonstrate this goal including the installation. We will document the entire project from design, through CNC milling to completed installation in a video.

Shop Drawing in LayOut 3Before I show you some of the design output of CabWriter let me list some of its important features:

  1. The entire design file stays with the SketchUp model. While you may export files for Excel, OpenOffice or CutList Plus fx, there is no need to save or archive these files. They can always be reproduced with the SketchUp model file and SketchUp with extensions CabWriter and CutList Bridge.
  2. CabWriter has a large set of defaults all of which can be changed by the user. This makes tailoring CabWriter to a given build methodology relatively easy as well as assigning default material types and names.
  3. CabWriter automatically draws cabinet with any number of boxes, creates and assigns component names, part names and material types and material names. Any attribute that can be specified using CutList Bridge can automatically be assigned using CabWriter.Shop Drawing in LayOut 4
  4. CabWriter permits changing of numerous cabinet and box defaults on a per cabinet and per box basis such as number of doors and drawers.
  5. Cabinets can be edited after they are drawn to change things such as width, height, depth, material, number of doors, drawers etc.
  6. CabWriter Version 1.0 will handle face frame cabinets with inset or overlay doors, or frame-less cabinets.
  7. CabWriter automatically stores CutList Bridge attributes in each component so there is little or no manual entry required.
  8. CabWriter makes plan and elevation views a snap and automatically includes the hatching for material keys.Sheet Optimization in Vectric Aspire
  9. CabWriter is completely functional in the Make version of SketchUp for hobbyists and weekend warriors who wish to design and build their own cabinet. For professionals CabWriter makes integration with LayOut a snap.
  10. CutList Bridge comes with CabWriter and permits near instant cut list generation. Its bridging capability to CutList Plus fx saves material cost with material layout optimization.
  11. CabWriter provides CutList Bridge with the information to automatically create all the DXF files necessary to mill sheet goods on a CNC machine. These DXF file can, for example, can be imported to Vectric Aspire or Vectric Cut2D which will do sheet optimization and output the necessary G code for CNC milling. The DXF files produced by CutList Bridge fx permits use of numerous applications as alternatives to Vectric Aspire (Aspire is the application we are currently using).

Single Sheet Enlargement in Vectric AspireGreg’s kitchen, shown in the previous pictures, and above as a 3D rendering, was drawn entirely in SketchUp using CabWriter. The following images are CabWriter views sent to LayOut. You can see that the drawing set is quite professional and complete. The last two images are the Aspire optimized sheet layout and an enlargement of one sheet. Shortly I will be releasing a training video documenting a complete design. I will announce it and the Alpha release in a newsletter and in my blogs. So stay tuned.

CabWriter to CNC

I would like to end this post with a short video of a CabWriter designed cabinet set cut on a ShopBot CNC machine. CutList Bridge, which is part of CabWriter, produces all the DXF files which are then imported into Vectric’s Aspire or Cut2D which in turn optimizes the sheet layouts and produces the G code necessary to drive the CNC. This video was shot on October 22, 2015 and is the first CabWriter designed cabinet set cut on a CNC machine. Much thanks to Mason Papaport of Rapaport Design (http://rapaportdesigns.com/) for the use of his Shop Bot CNC. Now pop the popcorn, sit back, and enjoy this special feature film.


Greg, on left, and students on installation day.Each year the New England School of Architectural Woodworking (NESAW at www.nesaw.com) runs a five month cabinetmaking course. The purpose of the course is to prepare students for a rewarding career in the field of cabinetmaking. Over 90% of NESAW’s job-seeking graduates find employment at architectural woodworking shops across the United States.

The industry is in dire need of skilled craftspeople, due to the record number of retiring workers and the declining number of vocational programs aimed at cabinetmakers.

NESAW LogoSign up now. Classes begin January 5th and enrollment ends on January 10th. Visit the New England School of Architectural Woodworking for details.

 

NESAW’s program teaches the fundamentals of architectural woodworking and offers students the opportunity to work directly with members of the community to design, build, and install projects. This combination of skills-building and real-world experience makes NESAW’s graduates particularly attractive to employers, since it means a safer employee, less on-the-job training and a better understanding of the entire project lifecycle.

Greg installing a sink.Students who enter the program to improve their woodworking skills or start their own businesses also gain from this approach, as they better understand how to more efficiently design and build a quality product.

The New England School of Architectural Woodworking is owned and operated by Greg and Margaret Larson. I first met Greg in the fall of 2011 through introductions made by a former student of Greg’s and mine. I wrote about NESAW in my December 21st 2011, March 29th and June 11th 2012 Chiefwoodworker’s Newsletters.

Margaret serving cake at graduation celebration.That year I taught a SketchUp class for NESAW students. During this period Greg and I spoke at length about what students were learning and the time consuming aspects of custom cabinetmaking. Out of those discussions came CutList Bridge and later CabWriter. Greg and I have worked closely together ever since our first meeting and I have spent numerous hours at the NESAW shop with his students. Each year I teach a live SketchUp course to the students. I t is with this intimate knowledge that I highly recommend visiting the NESAW website if you are interested in a career in cabinetmaking. You will find no better program or more caring people than NESAW, Greg and Margaret.


CutList Plus fx Preferences/File LocationsIf you use CutList Bridge to export a cut list to import into CutList Plus fx, you need to be sure CutList Plus fx is setup to be compatible with CutList Bridge. This is especially true if you use a non-dollar currency such as the euro. Here is what you need to check.

  1. Open CutList Plus fx.
  2. Choose menu Settings/General Preferences…
  3. Choose the File Locations tab.
  4. Under Export: check “Use Unicode file format when exporting.
  5. Click on the OK button.

If you exported materials.csv files from CutList Plus fx to CutList Bridge prior to performing this procedure you will have to repeat that export/import after this. Consult the CutList Bridge User’s Guide and go to the section called “To Create a List From CutList Plus fx:” for instructions.


CutList Bridge 2.5 is now available for download. CutList Bridge comes with a CutList Bridge User’s Guide that will explain installation procedures and all features and functionality. The User’s Guide gives three examples of types of woodworking that benefit from its features. You can download CutList Bridge 2.5 with this link. Please report all strange behavior or bugs to jpz@srww.com and don’t hesitate to write if you need help.

Changes In Version 2.5

Version 2.5 fixes a bug introduced in version 2.4 and is a must upgrade. This bug will cause the user to potentially loose work and attributes. In version 2.4 I changed and included code to make it unnecessary to use the Save Attributes key to save attributes. Each input change is saved as it is entered. If multiple components are selected and an attribute is entered or changed, only that attribute will be changed in all selected components. Blank fields, unless one or more became blank due to an intentional change, will not be written to all components. This eliminates the need for the Save Attributes button. The button remains but is harmless and it will be removed in version 3.0.

In the process of making this change to version 2.4 I introduced a bug that is fixed in version 2.5. Sorry folks.

Help With Installation

Download the CutList Bridge User’s Guide and locate the Installation section in the index. After reviewing this section also review Installing Ruby Plugins and follow the instructions under the heading “Older versions of SketchUp and .rb files”.

CutList Bridge Tutorial Series

I have begun a series of tutorial videos to help you learn the features of CutList Bridge. Part 1 of 3 was recently released and can be found at CutList Bridge Tutorial – Part 1. Part 2 was released today and can be found at CutList Bridge Tutorial – Part 2. Stay tuned for Part 3.

Attention MAC Users

Known Issue With Version 2.5

If you are a MAC user and have the latest Safari Version 6.0.2 but do not have the latest OSX Mountain Lion installed, you will not be able to use CutList Bridge to add component attributes. Safari 6.0.2 in older versions of the OSX make text input fields black instead of white masking the black characters entered by the user. This is a MAC problem and not a CutList Bridge 2.5 problem.

However, I have provided a work around. If, after you install CutList Bridge as instructed above, your input fields show up with black backgrounds, follow these instructions:

  1. Download alternate_cutlist_bridge_css.zip by clicking on this hyperlink.
  2. Extract the file cutlist_bridge.css from the ZIP folder and move it to the folder …. \Plugins\cutlist_bridge\cutlist_bridge (note the two levels of cutlist_bridge folder). This replaces the file of the same name that is already in your Plugins file under folder \cutlist_bridge\cutlist_bridge (note again the two levels of cutlist_bridge folder).
  3. Close SketchUp and reopen it. You CutList Bridge input fields will still have a black background, but your entries will be red characters making them visible.

Models To Practice With

There are three models which you can download that already have attributes assigned. You can use these models to produce a cut list and experiment with changes to the attributes. The Shaker Tall Clock demonstrates most of the basic features of CutList Bridge. Base Cabinet, thanks to Matt Richardson and Greg Larson of NESAW, demonstrates most of the special Cabinet Mode features. SketchUp Home demonstrates a very large cut list whose Sub-Assembly names are automatically generated with the Sub-Assembly by Layer feature. Click the links below to download each model.

Shaker Tall Clock
Base Cabinet
SketchUp Home

Below is an image of a SketchUp cut list exported to OpenOffice. Not all lines are shown.

SketchUp Cut List Exported to OpenOffice


You may not be aware, but there is a free application called OpenOffice that is largely equivalent to Microsoft Office. It can be downloaded at http://download.openoffice.fm/free/ . One note of caution; there are a few extra applications that get installed with OpenOffice that are marketing data gathering software. You are supposed to be able to opt-in at install time, but the opt-in process is so obscure that most people will miss it. However, you can remove these application after installation if you miss the opt-in process.

OpenOffice Text Import Dialog BoxI have downloaded Open Office and gave it a test drive with CutList Bridge 2.0. It works with one very minor problem. First, when exporting from SketchUp use the File/Export to Microsoft Excel command. Next, when importing to OpenOffice Spreadsheet use the File/Open command with All files (*.*) selected for Files of type:, and then a dialog box will appear. See the image on the left (click to enlarge). Clear any single quote or double quote (‘ or "") in the Text delimiter drop down box. You don’t have a choice of blank in the drop down, but just select any character(s) in that box and delete them. Make sure you have the Comma check box selected and none other. Hit OK and you will get a cut list similar to that shown in the image at right.

CutList Bridge 2.1 Cut List Imported To OpenOfficeThe double quotes in the left hand column should not be there. They are a result of a bug I have in my script which Excel overlooks, hence I have never seen it. I will fix it in the next bug fix release. This bug does not affect either CutList Plus or Excel. Simply select these cells and delete their content.

So far I am quite impressed with Open Office. I don’t know why I haven’t tried it before today. If you are looking for a complete free solution from 3D modeling of woodworking projects to shop cut lists then the combination of SketchUp, CutList Bridge 2.0 and OpenOffice is your answer.


Assign Attributes TabAt the suggestion of Greg Larson, owner and operator of the New England School of Architectural Woodworking, and with his help, I have developed a cut list export tool for SketchUp. Why another cut list tool? Don’t we have enough already? Well, this has some unique features that are tailored to architectural cabinetmaking design and build, though these features can be used for all types of woodworking models.

This release is Revision 1.0. It comes with a CutList Bridge User’s Guide that will explain all features and functionality. The User’s Guide gives three examples of types of woodworking that benefit from its features. You can download CutList Bridge with this link. Please report all strange behavior or bugs to jpz@srww.com and don’t hesitate to write if you need help.

There are three models which you can download that already have attributes assigned. You can use these models to produce a cut list and experiment with changes to the attributes. The Shaker Tall Clock demonstrates most of the basic features of CutList Bridge. Base Cabinet, thanks to Matt Richardson and Greg Larson of NESAW, demonstrates most of the special Cabinet Mode features. SketchUp Home demonstrates a very large cut list whose Sub-Assembly names are automatically generated with the Sub-Assembly by Layer feature. Click the links below to download each model.

Shaker Tall Clock
Base Cabinet
SketchUp Home

Happy Bridging!

Major Features of CutList Bridge

1. Seamlessly bridges SketchUp and CutList Plus fx or Microsoft Excel
CutList Plus fx is a highly functional cut list creator, costing tool, proposal generator and inventory manager for woodworking shops. Google SketchUp is a powerful 3D drawing tool ideally suited for furniture and architectural cabinet design and photorealistic rendering. These two tools do not naturally work together. CutList Bridge solves that problem by seamlessly bridging these two applications. If you do not use CutList Plus fx, no problem. You can export your cut list to Microsoft Excel.

2. All cut list attributes are entered in SketchUp and remain with the model file
CutList Plus fx requires the user to manually re-enter dimensions and other component attributes such as material type, material name, notes and banding. Attributes that can be generated automatically from the design’s 3D model and which ideally belong with the design file. CutList Bridge allows the user to enter and store all attributes with the model file and provides features for editing and exporting. Attributes which can be automatically generated from the 3D model, such as component dimensions and grain direction corrections are also handled in CutList Bridge.

3. Sub-Assembly names can be assigned in SketchUp explicitly or automatically by Layer name
In CutList Plus fx a Sub-Assembly name is typically used to group a collection of components. For example: in a model of a chest-of-drawers you may want two Sub-Assembly names; one called Carcass for all the components that make up the basic support structure, and one called Drawers for all components that make up the drawers. A grandfather clock may have Sub-Assembly names of Hood, Waist and Base. A trundle bed might be divided into Headboard, Footboard, Sides and Trundle. A kitchen cabinet may have sub-assemblies of Cabinet, Face Frame, Drawers and Doors. CutList Bridge allows the user to assign Sub-Assembly names in SketchUp prior to exporting to CutList Plus fx.

Sub-Assembly names can also be assigned by layer using the layer’s name. For example, as stick frame house designed in SketchUp may be organized with layer names such as Footing, Foundation, 1st Floor Joists, 1st Floor Framing, 2nd Floor Framing etc. These layer names can automatically be used as the Sub-Assembly names in CutList Bridge fx.

4. Assign oversize/undersize dimensions in SketchUp via the Cabinet Mode Resize feature
Lists Tab<Info> is a CutList Plus fx field that is intended as a short note. However, it has two significant differences from the Notes field provided by CutList Plus fx. First, <Info> shows up in the CutList Plus fx spreadsheet whereas Notes only appear on the Parts printout. Second, if a CutList Plus fx spreadsheet is locked to prevent accidental change, <Info> can still be changed allowing for cutting status to be input. See the CutList Plus fx User’s Guide for more information.

CutList Bridge extends the use of <Info> when used in a special mode called Cabinet Mode. In Cabinet Mode parts can be oversized or undersized in length and width using the Resize feature, and these dimensions will appear in the CutList Plus fx <Info Field>. The user has the choice of displaying the increment of over/under size or the over/under sized finished dimension for each of width or length.

5. Assign Notes in SketchUp while designing the model
Notes can be assigned in SketchUp for each component. These will be exported to the Notes field in CutList Plus fx.

6. Both Milled Parts and Other Items are supported
CutList Plus fx supports two classes of components: Milled Parts, which are typically Rough Lumber, Dimensioned Lumber or Sheet Goods that are milled into a component in the shop. CutList Bridge also supports Other Items such as drawer pulls, consumables such as screws, biscuits, dominos or any other non-milled components which are typically purchased.

7. All Milled Part attributes can be assigned in SketchUp
Milled Parts, as mentioned, are components milled from Rough Lumber, Dimensioned Lumber or Sheet Goods. Each Milled Part component can be assigned the following:

a. Material Type – Rough Lumber, Dimensioned Lumber or Sheet Goods

b. Material Name – e.g. Tiger Maple

c. Banding – A code to indicate which sides are banded and which banding material to use.

d. Swap L/W – The user can specify in SketchUp any component whose length and width should be swapped. CutList Plus fx assumes the length field specifies the grain direction. However, there are times when the short dimension of a board should be the grain direction. Check Swap L/W to accomplish this.

e. Can Rotate? – Many material types have no grain. To assist CutList Plus fx in optimizing material use you can specify in SketchUp which Components can be rotated by CutList Plus fx.

8. Cabinet Mode provides Auto-Swap of L & W and Over/Under sizing of cut list parts
Setup TabCabinet Mode is a sub-mode of Milled Parts. It is selected in CutList Bridge by checking its checkbox. When selected <Info> is no longer available in the usual way. However, when selected another very useful and key option becomes available in addition to three more fields.

a. Enable Auto-Swap – This is a feature that automatically determines which components should have their lengths and widths swapped, independent of dimensions, based on a Component’s Type. In cabinet design there is a basic box with components that can be labeled Back, Bottom, Shelf, Side or Top. Based on these attributes L & W will be automatically swapped when needed such that grain runs up a side, across a top, down a side and across the bottom to the starting point. Back grain will always be in the vertical direction. Shelves will have a grain direction that is horizontal (side to side) while its cross grain direction is perpendicular to the Back’s plane.

b. Component Type – As mentioned is assigned with a drop down list and can be either Back, Bottom, Shelf, Side or Top.

c. Resize Width By – The user can specify a dimension to resize the width by (the increment, or decrement when preceded with a minus sign). The Width column in CutList Plus will contain this resized dimension.

d. Resize Length By – The user can specify a dimension to resize the length by (the increment, or decrement when preceded with a minus sign). The Length column in CutList Plus will contain this resized dimension.

The user is able to choose display options for the <Info> and Description fields that will modify what information appear in these fields in CutList Plus fx. More on this later.

9. Other Items can be specified while modeling in SketchUp
Components that are not milled in the shop, but are purchased, may be specified in the Other Items’ Item field. If the name specified in the Other Items’ Item field exists in the Raw Materials library of CutList Plus fx this component and its quantity will be appropriately categorized and added to the BOM in CutList Plus fx. If the name specified does not exist in CutList Plus fx it will still be imported but added to the [Not Categorized] Other Items category.

10. Exporting is a Selection and One Menu Command
Exporting a .csv file from SketchUp is as simple as selecting a complete model and choosing menu command File/Export to CutList Plus fx. That’s it. A .csv file is generated with the same name as your .skp model file name and placed in the same folder.

A Completed CutList Plus fx Cut List


face_to_face_largeWith a lot of help from Steve Baumgartner I added a Face To Face tool to the Construction Plus Toolbar. Face To Face tool’s icon is shown at left. Excuse my artistry; the tool’s icon is supposed to be two faces looking at each other representing the Face To Face tool. If there is a real artist out there who wishes to donate a better icon please feel free to do so.

So what does Face To Face do?

Imagine your job is to align all these objects along a face and an edge. Can you do it?Have you ever wanted to make the face of one object align with the face of another object, on the same or parallel plane, facing each other? Well now it takes just two clicks. Better yet, neither face has to align with a major plane (red/green, red/blue or blue/green). Both faces can be at any angle to any of the major planes.

In addition to aligning the faces on the same or parallel planes and facing each other, you can select a point on an edge of one object and move it to a point on the edge of a second object, just like the Move tool. You will see in the included video that Face To Face is often a better move tool that Move tool itself.

Lastly, if the points chosen in the previous paragraph are each end points of an edge that are brought together, then the edges themselves can be made collinear (brought together).

No problem for the Face To Face tool.This may all seem complex, but it isn’t. I will demonstrate the tool completely in the accompanying video. But first I need to explain a few things. The tool asks for Reference and Subject Faces, Reference and Subject Points and Reference and Subject Edges. Reference simply means the object that will not move, but serves as the face, point or edge that the Subject object will align to. To complicate things a little bit more, but in the name of flexibility, the Reference and Subject objects do not have to be the same objects for Face, Point and Edge alignment. The only restriction is that a Subject object must be a non-nested Group or Component Instance. The Reference object can be a primitive (Face or Edge), Group or Component Instance.

Lastly, there are six modes of operation: Face To Face; Point To Point; Edge To Edge; Face & Point To Face & Point; Point & Edge To Point & Edge; and Face, Point & Edge To Face, Point & Edge.

  • Face To Face aligns the selected Subject face to the selected Reference face such that they are on the same or parallel planes with the two faces facing each other. The exception is when one of the faces are reversed and the other is not i.e. facing inward to the object. In that case the two faces will be facing in the same direction.
  • Point To Point moves the Subject object to the Reference object, joining them at the selected points.
  • Edge To Edge aligns the selected Subject edge such that it is collinear with the selected Reference edge.
  • Face & Point To Face & Point performs the Face To Face operation first and then the Point To Point operation.
  • Point & Edge To Point & Edge performs the Point To Point operation first followed by the Edge To Edge operation.
  • Face, Point & Edge To Face, Point & Edge performs Face To Face operation first, Point To Point second and Edge To Edge third.

 

The cursor provides guidance by telling the user what the tool is looking for as explained below:

reference_face_cursor

subject_face_cursorThe cursor will have an arrow pointing to the object you wish to select. The letter R or S will be prominent; R for Reference and S for Subject. There will be a face, line or point to indicate what the user should choose. The icon at left asks the user to choose a Reference Face. The icon at right asks the user to choose a Subject Face.

reference_point_cursor

subject_point_cursorSimilarly, the cursor at left asks the user to choose a Reference Point, while the one at right asks the user to choose a Subject Point.

reference_edge_cursor

subject_edge_cursorAs you probably guessed, the cursor at left asks the user to choose a Reference Edge while the one at right asks the user to choose a Subject Edge.

Modes can be changed with the Tab key. The last mode selected becomes the default. When you reopen SketchUp the default mode will be the active mode it opens to.

The Esc key has two functions: first, if you need to use a camera tools such as Orbit, Pan or Zoom, you can return to the Face To Face tool where you left off by pressing the Esc key; second, if you wish to abort an operation and reset the tool simply press the Esc key.

The Undo/Redo tools can be used to Undo/Redo each step of the operation.

When might you use the Face To Face tool?

Often, especially when you are working with furniture or home design where faces are at angles to major planes, you find it easier to draw a component in place. Shortly thereafter you discover that the bounding box is misaligned to the part. This causes real problems for tools such as Cut List and Get Dimensions. With Face To Face you can easily align the component instance to a major plane and axis, explode it and remake the component. Now the bounding box will supply the correct dimensions to Cut List or Get Dimensions.

Imagine the problem in reverse. You draw the component aligned with a major plane and axis resulting in a bounding box that is correct, but now you need to move the component instance into place. You realize that the face of the component instance is not aligned to a major plane or axis. An example is moving a roof rafter into place. The end of the rafter must align with the surface of a ridge board; a perfect application for the Face To Face tool.

Does this occur in the design of furniture? Yes, a lot if your furniture has trim or sides not aligned to a major plane and axis. This is especially true with complex miter joints. Face To Face is not a tool you will use all the time, but when you need to align irregular faces, it is the perfect tool.

The video below will give you a complete demonstration of Face To Face tool. The Construction Plus toolbar and its tools can be obtained by downloading the zip file here and extracting it to your plugins folder. A SketchUp Face To Face Practice File can be downloaded here to help you follow along and practice using Face To Face.

Viewing The Face To Face Tutorial

You can view Introducing SketchUp Tool Face To Face by pressing the play icon below or by downloading it to your system.

The video file is mp4. It can be viewed with most video players including QuickTime and Media Player. If you have a default, or user specified, file association for .mp4 you may have to delete it or use a download manager to download this file. Otherwise the associated application may be invoked and file streaming will prevail over downloading. There are numerous free download managers on the internet. Be careful, and do some research to locate one that is not loaded with spyware or viruses.

If you are on a PC platform running Windows OS and have Internet Explorer or Firefox you don’t have to change file association or use a downloader. Simply right click on the link(s) below and choose Save Link As. When Explorer opens choose a destination folder and select Save.

To download Introducing SketchUp Tool Face To Face click on or paste

http://blip.tv/file/get/Chiefwoodworker-IntroducingSketchUpToolFaceToFace803.mp4

into your browser or download manager.

Full Screen Viewing

You may find it easier to view the video in full screen mode. Start the video before selecting this mode. To enter full screen mode click the little screen icon at the bottom of the video player. When in full screen view hold your cursor near the bottom of the screen to access the video

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