What did you struggle with

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What did you struggle with

Postby Robert Lang » Fri Feb 06, 2009 7:13 pm

I'm trying to put together (with limited time and resources) some information to help woodworkers learn to use SketchUp. So the question is: what parts of the program gave you the most trouble when you were starting out?

For me, I had problems drawing parallel to the red, green or blue axes until I turned on "display crosshairs" on the cursor, and it took forever to realize that all I had to do was type to make something appear in the measurements window-I kept trying to click and highlight before typing. There were other things, but I just wanted to give an example, and hopefully get the ball rolling. So if you care to, share what you struggled with.

thanks in advance,

Bob Lang
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Re: What did you struggle with

Postby todd burch » Fri Feb 06, 2009 7:32 pm

I had issues with widening a frame and panel cabinet door until I learned how to use the Move tool properly. Scale no worky.

Drawing precisely is probably the biggest question for a lot of new users.

The make-or-break thing to learn, for any user, is inferencing... where to grab an object when moving it to snap to where you want it to be.
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Re: What did you struggle with

Postby FenS » Fri Feb 06, 2009 7:34 pm

Wow,
let me start by saying that i never heard about crosshairs before.
Just tried it and i think this will help me a lot. So thanks for opening this thread, you've already helped one.

Well, in that case, time to return the favor,
i have struggled a lot with the rotator, especially when i needed the red one, but couldn't get it to stay red. I then was creating a box (that i actually didn't need), got the right color on this degree-thing and then moved this one (with holding-Shift) to the point where i needed it.
Now i know that it is also possible to use this tool on the axe that you need it on, left-click and move the cursor along this axe. It automatically creates the tool the way i want it.
(my explanation might not be that clear, but give it a try, i hope you will understand, or can right it down an easier way.
Thanks and good luck with the struggles of everyone.

Fred.
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Re: What did you struggle with

Postby zool » Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:29 am

"For me, I had problems drawing parallel to the red, green or blue axes until I turned on "display crosshairs" on the cursor, and it took forever to realize that all I had to do was type to make something appear in the measurements window-I kept trying to click and highlight before typing."

I tutor woodworkers on the design aspect of furniture making. When SU was incorporated into that process the idea of just typing the measurement into the measurement window was the most significant impediment. For something that is so important SU has not provided either a detailed narrative description or a tutorial that is visually illuminates that process.

The inference is rather elementary and the color connection between the axes and the inference lines does not seem to elude those I have worked with.

SU is simple to use as it is so simplistic; that is, rendering anything complex, and making comprehensive changes, is not productive, particularly if the end result is going to a G-code conversion program for use with a CNC router.

For drawings that are complex, and where comprehensive changes will be needed, a 3-D parametric program should be used. I use Alibre, which provides a free version for trial use. After using Alibre for two-months, I purchased it and am quite pleased with it. Alibre takes more effort to learn, but it is much more sophisticated as it is 3-D and parametric.

In my instance: SU took about 50-hours to be competent with [which included one marathon 10-hour session]; Alibre took about 150-hours [which included several 6-hour session and a couple 10-12-hour sessions.].

The marathon sessions are, of course, the most productive, though in terms of the cost in husband bonus points, very very expensive.
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Last edited by zool on Sat Feb 07, 2009 7:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What did you struggle with

Postby Removed member » Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:27 am

On Autocad (and others) you had the ability to extend to next operation that would close a plane. On SketchUp you have to draw to the intersection or you will not be able to close the plane.
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Re: What did you struggle with

Postby PKast » Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:56 am

Good thoughts Zool.

One thing that beginners, myself included, overlook is the use of groups and components. It is easy to get lazy and not stop to take the time to group items, and then the parts stick together and then you have a big uneditable mess. Grouping is a little faster than components, but components have their place for repeating items.

The Second thing that can be frustrating for beginners is getting lines, and thus constructions, parallel to the red, green, and blue axis. When things don't immediately "skin over" to push or pull, it can become frustrating fast. I found a template on this or another forum sometime ago where the working window is a scene that has "Edge" "Color: By axis" turned on. This was a revelation to me. This gives you visual clue if something is misaligned. Under the "Styles" edit box choose the "Edit" tab, select the "Edge" icon, at the bottom of that box you will find the "Color:" selector with three choices, "All same", "By material", "By Axis".

I will post the template.
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Re: What did you struggle with

Postby zool » Sat Feb 07, 2009 7:13 am

""The Second thing that can be frustrating for beginners is getting lines, and thus constructions, parallel to the red, green, and blue axis. ""

This is a difficulty with envisioning the object in three-dimensional space.

The manner in which to overcome the lack of experience of envisioning is:

First: Obtain [or make] a relatively simple object, like a shoe box with a pipe through it and one-half of an old tennis ball placed on the box.

Second: Draw this object from several points of view. Remember to draw what you see not what you think you see.

Third: Draw the object with SU.

Do this two or three times with more and more complex shapes.

After three or four times though this process, the ability to envision will be greatly enhanced.

Also, if difficulty is encountered drawing a complex object [something with a significant number of parts or numerous surfaces that intersect at unusual angles], draw with pencil and paper first.

Also, break the object down to its constituent parts and assemblies, then draw each one of those. Use groups even on simple parts; this limits surprises.

There is a tactile sense to drawing that cannot be replicated when drawing with a CAD program, and, though the nerds loath it when its said, a pencil in one's hand still can solve more problems faster and more elegantly than any combination of hardware and software. Something about consciousness and intuition; analytical thought in a word; that is: substance not flash.
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Re: What did you struggle with

Postby FenS » Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:49 pm

PKast wrote:Good thoughts Zool.

... This gives you visual clue if something is misaligned. Under the "Styles" edit box choose the "Edit" tab, select the "Edge" icon, at the bottom of that box you will find the "Color:" selector with three choices, "All same", "By material", "By Axis".
...


Nice one!
i tried it and i think this will help me too. However, i was searching for this 'Styles'-edit box. Maybe you can add to your post that it can be found under Window -> Styles
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Re: What did you struggle with

Postby Gaieus » Sat Feb 07, 2009 1:32 pm

FenS wrote:...it can be found under Window -> Styles

...and Sketchup > Styles (on Mac)
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Re: What did you struggle with

Postby angusog » Sat Feb 07, 2009 8:56 pm

Moulding was a major struggle,
until i found "Dave R" Tutorials on Intersecting and the scale -1
and of course to assist in this make everything components
with diligent use of the make unique option
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Re: What did you struggle with

Postby Hazza » Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:37 pm

PKast wrote:One thing that beginners, myself included, overlook is the use of groups and components. It is easy to get lazy and not stop to take the time to group items, and then the parts stick together and then you have a big uneditable mess.

I second this, esp for woodworkers where you want individual pieces that make the model so that you can resize, alter or measure them when you want to cut.
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Re: What did you struggle with

Postby ktkoh » Tue Feb 10, 2009 2:10 pm

When I first started SU rotate was difficult. The selection of the proper axis often evaded me. I learned from Dave R that changing the angle of view would help but I have since deserted the rotate tool for a Ruby Script rotix11.rb. This lets me pick the axis and rotate 90 deg with one arrow click.

Follow me also was dificult until I learned to draw a plane first then draw the desired shape on the face of the plane.

Daves scale -1 for making a mirror image is great help I use it all the time.

Leaving layer 0 as the active layer at all times was big help. I draw everything on layer 0 then use the information box to move to the desired location. In fact my current template has 10+ layers already created and named A01,A02 etc. Now I draw a new part make it a component and while the information window is open I highlight & copy the name, select the desired layer ie A03 then in the layer window I use paste to add the name to the layer name A03-TopRail. I also have a scene for layer0 so I can easly go from an assembly view to a blank page.

Keith
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Re: What did you struggle with

Postby DamaTheCat » Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:29 pm

"What did you struggle with?"--- Well, everything!

I came from years of 2d drawing using versions of TurboCad.... Could never understand 3d. Anyway, several months ago found SU,,,,, wow, but I still needed some structure.

Sniffing around on the web I found http://www.srww.com/google-sketchup.htm. This is a multi lesson tutorial by Mr. Joe Zeh on how to draw a small table. I religiously worked through all of his lessons and developed a solid working platform that applies to many woodworking drawing tasks.

With his fundamental platform of skills I was then able to ask some questions on the SU forms and could understand the answers. Other SU tutorials also became clear.

I would highly recommend any one that is having complications drawing woodworking models to spend the time with Joe Zeh's tutorial. He is even happy to answer any e-mails.
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Re: What did you struggle with

Postby Mike Gager » Wed Feb 25, 2009 7:38 pm

i struggle with zooming in and out and rotating the view where i want it. seems like it has a mind of its own. sometimes one click of my mouse wheel zooms way out other times i spin the thing 100 times just to move the screen 1 inch. i know its probably just user error but it gets frustrating
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Re: What did you struggle with

Postby Dave R » Wed Feb 25, 2009 8:59 pm

Mike, it takes some practice but the Orbit tool centers on the cursor location and the Zoom speed is determined by how far away whatever is under your cursor is. If you want to zoom more slowly, place the cursor on something close to the camera. It comes with practice.
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Re: What did you struggle with

Postby Sawduster » Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:11 pm

I guess you probably mean other than figuring out where or how to get started on a new drawing.

Don't know if it was a struggle so much as maybe a best practice that took a bit of time to catch on to and use consistently, but making every single part into a component as soon as I have a 2D construction. Ganged components for drawers and door assemblies and the like make models much easier to use and understand. The next major advance for me was to start using layers which made getting inside a case etc to add drawer webs and other parts, or just to simplify the screen as it begins getting cluttered. For some time I thought the only way to use the Follow-Me tool was to click on the shape then drag it manually around the perimeter I wanted to extrude. Then I found a tutorial where they selected the path and then simply clicked the shape with the Follow-Me tool and voila, extruded all the way around without all the mouse acrobatics.
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