Creation of a Building Component catalog in SketchUp

Hello Folks,
Having grown up in Building Construction I am use to working with specific sized materials such as dimension lumber, 2x4x8, 2x12x16, 4x6x24, etc., same with steel components both inside and outside dimensions, thickness, etc., so it would seem to me that a program that includes a wide range of building components that can just be grabbed then located within a drawing would be of tremendous help. For the amateurs out here in the real world who would like to use your program if such were available even in a limited amount say for beginners it would make using the program quick and easy. As it is it seems each item has to be accurately constructed from scratch. If from a file of say dimension lumber components one could select a 2x4 that can be placed in a drawing then pulled to length and the dimensions listed in a pop up bubble or as a layer to the drawing it would be fast, simple, and effective. Same with steel now I know they build a square tube that can fit inside other tubes but unless I go to a steel yard and try each piece there is no way to know what fits what a catalog of related sizes would be so easy to use.

I do understand that there is a building of knowledge that is required for CAD programs but with such a resource 1,000’s of programs could be sold to people who would never buy your program as just too difficult to even start with, after all you just as anyone else knows the dimensions of a 2x4 so why force a novice to reinvent the wheel???

Hi Allan,

Great idea and there are actually a lot of these resources readily available through the 3D Warehouse and Extension Warehouse.

There are some great dynamic lumber components that can be set to any size that you need and some come with predefined sizes to make it easy.

There is also a fantastic new extension called Profile Builder 2. This tool has an entire category for lumber and allows you to draw it however you need and will create a group named “2x4” or whatever profile you have used.

And that is found in the Free Version??

It is an extension, not built-in. You must find it either in the Extension Warehouse or another plugin source, download, and install it. Or were you asking about the capabilities of the free version of profile builder? The paid version is not very expensive, by the way.

What is meant by the term extension??

I did a year of drafting in High School back in the late 60’s so that is the extent of my drafting experience.

Oh and I would not mind paying for something but if it takes a college education in drafting to understand then the investment would be wasted. Lets say I want to build something as simple as a park bench working with different sizes of lumber that is available at the local lumber yard, my goal would be to reach into a file and grab a 2x that I can put into my drawing at the desired angle then be able to rotate the drawing while all the components stay in place relative to each other.

SketchUp has a Ruby programming API by which people can write add-on code, called either a plugin or extension, that extends the built-in capabilities of the program. There are enormous collections of such extensions. Trimble’s Extension Warehouse is one.

Again you have gone over my head, Ruby programming API, ??? Write add-on code???

I know English not computer.

OK, so in plain English: SketchUp has certain capabilities (“Tools”) that come built-in as part of the basic program. It also allows people to add additional capabilities to do things that are not built-in. These add-ons are called extensions. Specific building materials and other standard-sized items are not built-in, but there are available extensions that help you to work with them.

Also, as posted earlier, there are vast collections of pre-built files of parts in the Trimble 3D Warehouse. You download these files and then can do more or less what you requested in the initial post.

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Problem is, there is so much products out there, would you rather have Trimble enforce manufacturers to upload their products, or leave it to the manufacturers?
In my town there are +15 different stores where I can buy 2’‘4’’ 's. But of course, they don’t sell these alone, some parts of hardware I buy there, some there, etc.
With slight differences.

Do you know these catalogs?

search for Author ‘SketchUp’ and then click the Catalog tab.
In most cases, I go to the website of a manufacturer or store, check and draw what they got and add some prices. A lot quicker than searching and perhaps altering.
For beginners, however, It would be nice if these standard catalogs where somehow more obvious to look for in the Component panel.

BTW, It’s free.

Thanks Muchly, I haven’t yet tried the link yet - but if it works to get some help for my project You’re the greatest of kind persons to help the poor on the face of the earth - & so free of charge. I just now posted another thread (before I noticed that there was a green #1 circle on my profile icon) cuz I didn’t get a noticeable notification that someone had answered my first one. Ideally there should be hirable talents search and offer section "here

For this part of your request, you might like to try the extension Wood Framing that I helped design and @slbaumgartner coded, from the SketchUcation plugin store.

It’s designed to take as as few as three clicks once you start the tool to orient and place a piece of dimension lumber. One to place a corner, a second to orient the cross section, and a third to inference to length (or instead, type a value to set the length). You can lock the long axis to any of the model or editing context axes using the L, R and Up arrow keys, or lock the profile plane to a face, or parallel to a face, using the Down arrow to toggle between those options and no lock.

R-click lets you choose the cross section (1x2, 2x2, 2x4, 2x6 etc) from a list of sizes you set up in the Settings dialogue. The nominal size chosen is drawn actual size with different planing allowances for US/Canada and UK conventions. You can also specify Actual sizes for non-standard softwood, or hardwood, or perhaps in your case, rectangular cross section steelwork? But it doesn’t do tubes or angle iron!

Read the documentation on the plugin store (Note - NOT the Extension Warehouse) to get a feel for how it works.

For non-US users it also works in metric sizes.

This link will take to you several of our joint plugins.