SketchUp is a funny sort of thing; it used to belong to Google but never really seem to fit with Google-anything-else. Someone once told me that it looked like a product that was conceived when the Google executives got rich and wanted something to help design their new homes. In April 2012 SketchUp was acquired by Trimble, I really hope it’s going to have a great future, I’m using the free version at the moment but it’s so useful that I probably will end up paying for it.
Over the Christmas holiday this year I built a table – using a piece of slate that we bought about 30 years ago intending to ‘do something with it’, some oak and a bit of custom made stainless steel. I used SketchUp to help me plan out the project.
This is a screen shot of the initial design:
The angles between the stainless steel rods and thus the placement of the legs were dictated by the dimensions of the slate. The table looks like this upside down
In this view I have pulled one of the legs away slightly to show the construction of the top of the legs – this is also shown in more detail in the inset. The most useful part of SketchUp was that it helped me to work out the exact saw cuts that I needed to make – then move pieces around to that I could see what the result looked like.
Other useful things were being able to send images to Alan at Designs in Stainless who made up the stainless steel part and being able to deconstruct the wooden part of the design into a cutting layout so that I knew how much oak to order. By the way, the oak came from Alresford Interiors who make the kind of fitted kitchens that I’m going to have in my dream home.
I’ll continue using SketchUp for this kind of project – I’m sure that it probably wasn’t what it was intended for but I don’t think I could plan this sort of construction without it. Here is a shot of the finished table: