CutList and layout questions

I’m new to SketchUp and for a DIY woodworking project, I’d like to determine how best to layout the lumber and sheetgoods cuts that I’ll need. I downloaded the Cutlist plugin, but can’t find any clear, easy-to-follow guides on using Cutlist. I found this tutorial but find it difficult to follow:

More importantly, the author notes the following:
“If you have worked with other cut lists or have laid out hand drawn cut sheets, when you see the final cut sheets created by the program, review to make sure the sheets are optimized for the way you process your sheets. If you wish to make modifications, you can but I am not aware of how that can be done in the program.”

If that’s true, it seems like there isn’t much point in investing the time to learn CutList because I’ll likely end up determining optimal layouts by manually. So can you change the layout that CutList provides?

Speaking of doing this manually, what are the other options?
I know I can cut pieces of paper to represent the sizes I’ll need and move them around on a larger piece of paper that represents sheetgoods or dimensional lumber. I can also do the digital equivalent of this in SketchUp - I started doing this, but it’s pretty time consuming, mostly because I waste time trying to get pieces lined up in the same plane. Is there a way to do this more quickly?

Any other free alternatives?

I use CutList all the time for (duh!) cutlists. For that it is very good. But I have always found its layout feature to be close to useless for my purposes so I don’t use it. For hardwood boards, there is no way to input the actual dimensions of the lumber you have, to work around flaws, or to match grain nicely. The layouts don’t account for cutting clear through with a circular saw; sometimes they have interior corners that are impractical if you aren’t using CNC. So it is useful only if you are working with nominal-sized dimensioned lumber for a project that will be painted. Likewise, if you are laying out sheet goods, the plugin doesn’t provide a way to specify grain orientation, so its layout is helpful only if you are working with uniform material such as MDF or, again, will paint the project. All this is a bit of a shame, as the author clearly put in a lot of effort trying to create a good layout algorithm.

For sheet layout I sometimes draw a set of full-sheet rectangles, smaller rectangles for the required pieces, and move them around to manually determine layout. Draw them a half-kerf oversize to allow for cutting. If you group each rectangle, there is no issue with them sticking to each other. You should do such drawing in a flat-to-plane view such as top and use parallel projection. That will make it easy to keep all the rectangles in the same plane.

I don’t know of a useful alternative extension that is free.


The Top view and parallel projection are very helpful, thanks.

Seems some of my objects have a negative Z-axis value, so they get positioned under the rectangle I drew to represent sheetgoods. Is there a way to snap items to 0 on a particular axis? I could also enter a relative move, but I don’t know the object’s current z-axis value. But even if I did, that would be much more time consuming than snapping moving them to 0, if that’s possible.

Maybe this will help with CutList: Create a Cut List From Your Model - FineWoodworking

select the shape, start the move, type [0,] and hit enter…

it’s basically setting [x.y.z] but your zeroing x while leaving y & z alone…


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