When you are trying to make angled “cuts” in complex geometry in Sketchup, you can sometimes get unexpected results. In this tutorial, we’ll explore a few different techniques for creating angles in window and door casings in Sketchup.
What’s so hard about drawing a casing?
Well, it depends on how experienced you are with Sketchup, and there’s actually quite a few ways to do it. The most challenging part about drawing a casing in Sketchup is when you need to make the 45 degree angle. I split this tutorial into three parts, each discussing a different method, and the advantages of each one.
I’m sure there are other methods, and I’d love to here about how you prefer to do it! But these are three of my favorite methods of creating 45 degree cuts.
- Part One – Follow Me Tool
- Part Two – Rotate and Scale (two methods)
- Part Three – Solid tools (Sketchup Pro)
Part One – Follow Me Tool
When you are trying to extrude a profile around a door or window, the follow me tool is the first tool you should use to try to do the job. You know how they say “there’s a right tool for every job”? Well this is exactly what the Follow Me tool was made for.
In order to use the Follow Me tool, you need a face to pull from, and a path to “follow”. The face you pull with the follow me tool will be the profile of your casing that you’re going to use around your window/door.
Use a model from the 3D Warehouse
The first step is to create your casing profile. There are many sources to find profiles, and the first place you might want to look is the 3D Warehouse.
To access the Google 3D Warehouse from Sketchup, go to File -> 3D Warehouse -> Get Models
If you’re having trouble finding profiles, try searching for “wood moulding” or “casing” and you should be able to find plenty of profiles to download into your model.
Import a CAD file
If you can’t find an existing Sketchup model in the 3D Warehouse, there are many more profiles available online in CAD format, which can be “imported” in Sketchup. I say “imported”, because if you have Sketchup PRO it’s very easy to import, as it has the capability to import CAD files directly into Sketchup.
If you don’t have Sketchup PRO, don’t worry! You can still import it as an image, then trace over it using the Line and Arc tool if you want to spend the time to do it.
Here are a few sources for moulding/casing CAD profiles
If you don’t have CAD software on your computer, you can download AutoDesk Trueview to open DWG and DXF files. Just go to the AutoDesk Website, and search for “TrueView”. You can only view CAD files, you can’t edit them. I’ll explain how we export as an image in a moment…
I honestly don’t like the Trueview software that much, the user interface is somewhat hard to interpret and I can’t for the life of me ever get a set of shop drawings to print properly using the “plotter”. And why can’t they just call it a printer, like every one else out there?
If you’re looking for a free CAD program with a lot of features, I have experience with DoubleCAD XT. From reading reviews on the download site I know a few people had problems downloading and activating it and they thought it wasn’t actually a free program so they gave it poor ratings.
I admit, they do make you jump through a few hoops to activate the software, but the truth is DoubleCAD XT is in fact a free, fully featured CAD software package. I haven’t spent nearly enough time in the program to actually say I know how to use it, and if you are new to Sketchup I would recommend learning Sketchup before trying traditional CAD software.
Export CAD to JPEG
Here’s a down and dirty way to “export your CAD file to a jpeg. Just open up the file in whatever CAD program you are using, then press “Print Screen” on your keyboard. That button takes a snapshot of your screen and saves it in your clipboard. So then you can paste it into your image editor, and crop the image down to profile.
To import an image from Sketchup, go to File -> Import, then select the image file type and click open.
Once you have your image, you can import it into Sketchup, and scale it to the proper size. The quality of the image doesn’t matter too much, because you’ll only use it to trace over, then you’ll delete it.
Decide on your method of action
Watch these video tutorials on how to draw window and door casings in Sketchup to decide which method you want to use. Most of the time there many “right” ways to do something and many “wrong” ways to do something. You just have to pick the quickest way to get the results you are expecting. Happy Sketching!
Part Two – Rotate and Scale (two methods)
Part Three – Solid tools (Sketchup Pro) w/bonus method for those without PRO
Tell me more
What’s your favorite method for making angled cuts in sketchup? Leave a comment below.