The SketchUp 3D modeler

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SketchUp is a 3D modeling program originally designed for architectural design. It’s mouse-oriented and relies on “snapping” to existing geometry to join and move objects in relation to others. I’m using the SketchUp Make 2017 version, which runs on the desktop, and doesn’t seem to be missing any features of the newer versions.

I knew of it back in high school and tried it out then, but couldn’t get the hang of it. I didn’t know it had a way to group edges and faces together, which made it difficult to use. When edges are not part of a component, they’re free to deform and turn into oblique and irregular shapes. The two-click pick up and set down style of moving edges didn’t make sense to me. I didn’t realize that you could type in measurements as you’re dragging an edge to precisely resize along an axis.

In May 2020, I saw it used in a YouTube video about woodworking and gave it a shot after seeing how quickly furniture with precise measurements could be modeled. SketchUp for Woodworkers, Jay’s Custom Creations SketchUp tutorials, and Woodgears SketchUp 8 tutorials are good resources, too.

Unfortunately, SketchUp’s future is uncertain, with feature development moving further towards a cloud-based system.