Adjustable Timber-Framing Beams


I’m hoping to make adjustable timber beams (as the topic title implies) as dynamic components. As an individual who enjoys some manual work converting timber into beams, I have found out all too well that each beam is as individual as the person converting. For this reason I want to create a series of dynamic components that help a user construct timber frames in Sketchup. Whilst it makes sense to design a building BEFORE gatherings parts, the aforementioned variation in curvature and size can mean necessary changes to the design all the way through to the stage of fixtures and fittings. At the moment, the simple parts are straight forward beams but I eventually want to make cruck beams, beams left partially in the round, and joins that can be placed onto the surface of the various beams and “cut” into them. What I would really like to know is

a) whether or not I can choose to scale sub-component whilst actively warping the rest
The two ends of a post beam will likely be different in sizes. This is not only because, well, that’s the way trees grow but also it lends strength to the post, having a wider base. I would like to be able to increase the size of the end faces individually producing a slight frustrum from bottom to top. I’ve tried making the faces into components themselves but the faces scale and leave the rest of the beam intact.

b) can I flex or bend a component?
As anyone who has seen a timber-framed house will know, cruck beams are not only frequently used but also as variable as snowflakes. For this reason I want to be able to induce bends along the centre of a cuboid, similar, in a way, to “bones”. I know “bones” is usually limited to character modelling in game design however it could be a very powerful tool in custom and bespoke timber-framing where nothing is truly identical, even when sawn.

I don’t know what capacity Sketchup has for these manoeuvres and settings within Dynamic Components but I think this is a real opportunity to bring in those amongst the timber framing industry who are happy to use modern technology but at the same time need tools that adjust to the material they have to offer. If scripts, code or functionality for this does not yet exist, it seems to me to be something very much worth looking into.

I will continue to update this section if/when I find techniques for achieving this. I have already looked on the 3D Warehouse and there is nothing in the way of Dynamic Components with timber beams.

Hi JGHunter,

This looks like a great project, I’m a big fan of Timber Framing and how to get there in SketchUp. (You can see the fruits of my labor here.) I’ve considered going the DC route with Timber Jointery but haven’t really sat down and done it, though what you’re suggesting is feasible.

If you haven’t seen it already, you might check out the Ruby script for Timber Framing as well, maybe that solves the problem for you. The “Timber Framing Extension” is in our Warehouse here.

Hi Jody, thanks for getting back to me. That’s a mighty fine building! The top three threads of this forum (not including the top most butt rot) and this thread are the beams me and a couple guys have been working on. I’m the one pictured with the Snap-on cap in the first link, and flannel shirt in the second!

Is it feasible to include some sort of attribute which allows flexing? Such as bones, or maybe an arc that runs down the middle of the beam whose angle can be changed and manipulates the rest of the model?