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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.


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.


PWUlogo_300

I have teamed up with Popular Woodworking University (PWU) to provide a comprehensive course on modeling furniture in SketchUp. The course is called SketchUp Comprehensive and you can register by clicking on the PWU logo above. If you have not heard of SketchUp you might want to read this PDF file titled So What Is SketchUp.

In this course, I will teach you how to download, install, setup and use SketchUp. You’ll learn to customize the SketchUp drawing toolbar, edit preferences and tailor the SketchUp environment to your liking. You will learn how to set up shortcut keys that let you switch tools quickly, and I’ll introduce you to some handy plugins that I have developed. You’ll get 12 video lessons, sample models, exercises and projects that will build your knowledge. All videos can be downloaded to your system so you will always have them to reference.

This course requires only that you know how to use a computer. There is no prerequisite for SketchUp itself. The course will take you from beginner to modeling complex furniture component shapes. Come join us.

Here is the course outline:

 

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

 

bedside_table1. 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.

dough_boxSegment 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

 

shaker_stoolIn 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

 

arched_hoodPart 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

 

bracket_feetThe 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

 

cabriole_legsIn 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.


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.


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.


In CutList Bridge Tutorial – Part 1 I demonstrated how to use CutList Bridge to create a cut list for a furniture piece us a Shaker Tall Clock SketchUp model. In Part 2 I use a custom kitchen cabinet to demonstrate how to you the Cabinet Mode features of CutList Bridge. While Cabinet Mode features are particularly useful for custom cabinetmakers it is also useful for furniture designers and craftsmen. I think this video will be well worth you while whatever style of woodworking you do.

Before viewing this video be sure to download and install CutList Bridge 2.5. The previous version had a bug that could make following along with this video frustrating.

Also, you will notice that in version 2.5 you no longer have to use the Save Attributes button as was necessary in previous versions and witnessed in Part 1. All entries are now saved as you enter them.

MAC users may have had trouble using CutList Bridge because of an OS/Safari Browser bug. When you download and install CutList Bridge 2.5 you will be shown a workaround if you have this problem.

Downloading CutList Bridge

CutList Bridge can be downloaded and installed by following the highlighted link; the target post will always host the most recent version of CutList Bridge.

Overview of CutList Bridge

CutList Bridge adds two export commands to the File menu and one dialog box to the Window menu of Trimble SketchUp. The export commands are:

  • Export to CutList Plus fx
  • Export to Microsoft Excel or OpenOffice

The dialog box is called Extended Entity Info and as its name implies is complements and extends the Entity Info dialog box.

When CutList Bridge is installed, as indicated by the availability of these commands and dialog box, a basic cut list can be produced simply by selecting one copy of your model using the Select tool and then choosing one of the export commands from the file menu. Simple as that.

However, the Extended Entity Info dialog box can be used to assign additional attributes to your components, which will produce a richer and much more useful cut list. This first video tutorial will show you how to create a basic cut list and then embellish the cut list with material types (rough lumber, dimensioned lumber, sheet good and other items), material names (cherry, walnut etc.), sub assembly groupings and notes. Subsequent video tutorials will show you how to assign attributes helpful for cabinetry and architectural models.

Downloading the Video to Your Computer

Sometimes the performance of your internet connection, the load on it at a particular time of day, and the length of these video tutorials can all conspire to provide you a frustrating and impossible viewing experience. If this happens it may be preferable to download the entire video unto your system and view it on your local video player. The video file is an 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 this video click here or paste

http://www.srww.com/downloads/blog_posts/CutList%20Bridge%20Tutorial%20-%20Part%202/CutList_Bridge_Tutorial_Part%202.mp4

into your download manager.

Viewing in Your Browser

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 player’s controls. Exit full screen mode with the Esc key. This part is approximately 33 minutes long. Sit back, relax and enjoy the show!


American Woodworker Home PageIn addition to posting here on my own blog, I am now posting on American Woodworker (AW). My AW posts will focus on SketchUp and related issues. I will be posting approximately four times a month. In addition to the link above you can access my AW posts from the AW home page under the heading Contributor’s Blogs. And don’t forget, my Beginner’s and Intermediate SketchUp videos can be accessed on AmericanWoodworker.TV. Check it out and visit me at both sites!


image

I am pleased to announce that American Woodworker and Chiefwoodworker have teamed to bring in-depth and quality SketchUp training to a greater audience of woodworkers. Beginning March 12, 2013 Chiefwoodworker’s Beginner’s SketchUp Tutorials and Intermediate SketchUp Tutorials will be available exclusively through AmericanWoodworkerTV.

AWtv-Beginners-trailerFrom the day I learned of Google SketchUp (now Trimble SketchUp) I became convinced it was a tool perfectly tailored for woodworkers. I have worked hard since 2007 to provide training to fellow woodworkers in the use of this tool. I have met a lot of woodworkers over the last six years and believe I succeeded in giving them the training they needed to add Trimble SketchUp to their woodworking toolbox.

However, the reach of Chiefwoodworker’s Blog can’t compare to the audience American Woodworker enjoys. American Woodworker is dedicated to providing training to woodworkers in all areas of woodworking with quality videos hosted by knowledgeable and expert woodworkers. It is my hope and belief that reaching a much greater audience with my tutorials will provide a greater service to woodworkers everywhere. I am delighted and proud to team with American Woodworker to benefit my fellow woodworkers.

AWtv-intermediate-trailerChiefwoodworker’s Blog will continue to provide posts, newsletters and videos on woodworking and SketchUp and I will continue to support my fellow woodworkers with SketchUp assistance when asked. In addition, I will continue to develop and provide SketchUp plugins. I also expect that my relationship with American Woodworker will grow. So stay tuned to my website (srww.com, Chiefwoodworker’s Blog, Chiefwoodworker’s Newsletter and look for me on AmericanWoodworker.tv.

American Woodworker Magazine, AmericanWoodworker.com, AmericanWoodworker.TV and Woodwork Magazine are all properties of New Track Media LLC.


Base Cabinet With Counter Top & HardwareIn my 10-6-2012 issue of Chiefwoodworker’ Newsletter on page 15, I wrote at length about my Trimble SketchUp Ruby Script plugin called CutList Bridge (Version 2.2). As its name implies CutList Bridge permits quick and efficient cut list creation by exporting SketchUp dimensions and other key component attributes to a .csv file. This .csv file can then be imported into CutList Plus fx or any application supporting the comma-separated-value format, such as Microsoft Excel and Open/Office.

In the case of exporting to the latter two applications decimal equivalents of thickness, width and length can be exported. This permits the user to add equations in the spreadsheet to calculate board feet, area, total sheets, linear feet or weight. CutList Plus fx will do all but calculate weight on its own. The Base Cabinet shown above left produces the following cut list when exported to OpenOffice. Note the organization by material type (Rough Lumber, Dimensioned Lumber etc.), Sub-Assembly and Description (component). Click on the images to see larger formats.

Base Cabinet Cut List With Counter Top & Hardware

Downloading CutList Bridge

CutList Bridge can be downloaded and installed by following the highlighted link; the target post will always host the most recent version of CutList Bridge.

Overview of CutList Bridge

CutList Bridge adds two export commands to the File menu and one dialog box to the Window menu of Trimble SketchUp. The export commands are:

  • Export to CutList Plus fx
  • Export to Microsoft Excel or OpenOffice

The dialog box is called Extended Entity Info and as its name implies is complements and extends the Entity Info dialog box.

When CutList Bridge is installed, as indicated by the availability of these commands and dialog box, a basic cut list can be produced simply by selecting one copy of your model using the Select tool and then choosing one of the export commands from the file menu. Simple as that.

However, the Extended Entity Info dialog box can be used to assign additional attributes to your components, which will produce a richer and much more useful cut list. This first video tutorial will show you how to create a basic cut list and then embellish the cut list with material types (rough lumber, dimensioned lumber, sheet good and other items), material names (cherry, walnut etc.), sub assembly groupings and notes. Subsequent video tutorials will show you how to assign attributes helpful for cabinetry and architectural models.

Downloading the Video to Your Computer

Sometimes the performance of your internet connection, the load on it at a particular time of day, and the length of these video tutorials can all conspire to provide you a frustrating and impossible viewing experience. If this happens it may be preferable to download the entire video unto your system and view it on your local video player. The video file is an 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 this video click here or paste

http://www.srww.com/downloads/blog_posts/CutList%20Bridge%20Tutorial%20-%20Part%201/CutList_Bridge_Tutorial_Part%201.mp4

into your download manager.

Viewing in Your Browser

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 player’s controls. Exit full screen mode with the Esc key. This part is approximately 33 minutes long. Sit back, relax and enjoy the show!


OK, a little dramatic, but I had to get your attention. We all know how difficult it is to manage SketchUp layers; specifically which layers primitives reside on. The biggest problem newbie SketchUp users have, bay far, is spreading primitives over layers, often multiple layers, other than Layer0. I wrote a script called layers.rb or Layers Manager. That tool does several things, but most importantly it warns you if you try to make a layer other than Layer0 active. Making a layer other than zero is a major cause of modeling problems.

However, there are numerous ways to get into trouble besides changing the active layer. In fact SketchUp seems to want to help you get into trouble. If you have a group or component instance which resides on a layer other than zero, but whose primitives are correctly residing on Layer0, and then use context tool Explode, SketchUp will move the primitives to the layer the group or component instance was on. Let’s say I have a component called Cube, and I place it on Layer Cube after first drawing it and making it a component on Layer0. Cube will be a correctly formed component; its primitive will be on Layer0 and Cube will reside on Layer Cube. As I make Layer Cube visible or invisible my Cube component will be displayed or hidden.

Now suppose I decide to explode Cube using the context menu Explode tool. I select Cube and Explode it. Cube (that instance of it, not the library component) will be deleted, but in its place, on Layer Cube will be all the primitives that belonged to Cube and was originally on Layer0. Why is SketchUp so helpful? I don’t know.

Fortunately Steve gave us two context tools. One called Explode to Layer 0, which works the way Explode should work; it deletes the group or component instance while leaving its primitive on Layer0.

The second tool is even more helpful. If you get well into a model before you discover you have major spreading of primitives, don’t panic. The solution is only one two clicks away. First use the select tool to select all groups and components in your model. Next context click and choose Primitives to Layer 0. This tool will examine each group and component in the selection, recursively drill down if any are hierarchical, and place all primitives on Layer0. It will leave all groups and component instances correctly formed independent of the layer they are on. I highly recommend making this tool a part of your Ruby script plugins.

Download the To Zero Tool

You can download the To Zero ruby script by clicking here. This is a compressed file and needs to be unzipped or decompressed. Simply extract it to your Plugins folder.

If you find this tool as useful as I do please drop Steve a line and let him know. You can get contact information by visiting his website, http://www.slbaumgartner.com/, and while you are there browse his gallery of fine furniture.

Viewing The To Zero Video

You can view the To Zero video 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-SteveBaumgartnersToZeroSketchUpTool108.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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