Drawing as though on paper

And here is that same drawing in plan view in Layout at 1:50 scale (A4 paper in this case).

As Simon has just illustrated, you start the Rectangle tool, by pressing and releasing r on the keyboard, draw an arbitrary rectangle of any size, then type the real world dimensions separated by a comma (or semicolon in some regions). There you have your basic size, faster than you can pick up a pencil, accurate to about 1/1000inch.

What’s hard about that?

Zoom in or out by scrolling the middle mouse wheel.

By the way, you just type the dimensions - not in any input box. They will display in the Measurements window at bottom right of the Sketchup main drawing window, but don’t click in it first.

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No, we do know the scale. It is 1:1. A 4’ x 8’ piece of plywood is modeled at 4’ x 8’.

We don’t, we are looking at the actual size the entire time. All things are modeled accurately and precisely.

It sounds a bit like you think the size of the geometry you are modeling in SketchUp is arbitrary or inaccurate in some way. This is not the case.


One further thought before I pack in for the day…

I usually work on A3 because that is the largest size I can print. So I don’t think much about page size as I choose the scale to suit the page.

If I need to print on, say, A1, I have another template set up in Layout and I send a PDF to printers.

I guess you could do things the other way round. You could draw an A3 sized rectangle in Sketchup and then scale it up by the normal scales you use (1:50; 1:100; etc) and make components of them to act as guides to tell you how much you would get on an A3 page at a given scale. You could make them non-printing so they only show while you work.

Let me try one more time. In SketchUp you draw a rectangle of any size on the screen and then tell SketchUp its real world dimensions. SketchUp automatically shows it at whatever zoom scale is current on the screen.

I love this topic and am reading it closely. I agree with JonnieComet’s premise that working at scale is something of a lost art, though I think I would describe it a little differently.

SketchUp is like all modern CAD systems in that you typically model in world-scale/coordinates. Which is to say, a 2X4 is modeled to be exactly 2x4 (which we all know by convention really means 1.5" x 3.5"). While modeling, those dimensions are projected to the screen in some known projection system, which may be either at a fixed scale or some more convenient arbitrary scale. Most commonly in SketchUp, it is projected to the screen in a perspective projection without any scale at all. Scale doesn’t really mean as much in SketchUp as it does when you’re drafting by hand.

The benefit we may be losing is that by convention from hand drafting, scale is also a proxy for a kind of level of detail. The detail you would draw at 1" = 1’ - 0" scale is very much different than what you would draw at 1/8" = 1’ scale. In a CAD system with seemingly infinite zoom, it isn’t always obvious how much detail you should add to the model, and most people add more than they need to, which leads to performance problems across the board.



I think as you start in a full-scale application like SketchUp you know from experience what size sheet you’ll eventually show the building on and the scale, based on the size of the building and the paper.

But the difference is you don’t “put” it on the paper at the beginning, you do that later when you setup a scene and print it -preferably with LayOut, which is the output into paper space. In printing from SketchUp or with LayOut you set the scale it would be printed in. Especially with LayOut, subsequent changes in SketchUp will automatically end up on your drawing sheet (when you tell it to update). Also experienced users setup templates in LayOut so you can immediately start laying out the drawings (scenes in SketchUp) on a virtual sheet of paper, once you have some of the model done.

From your original questions, it didn’t seem you know that SketchUp has dimensions. You have feedback and input all along to tell the program how big things are and how far they are from the next thing, and you can place dimension lines for reference as you work.

And…what Jbacus said.

Here you go! I’m kidding because this program is antiquated, much like me at 68.
Expert Home Design
As everyone else has said, give SU a chance. It does exactly what you want, with a little patience.

There is nothing built in. However, take a look at this:

Here I have drawn the outlines of A4 and A3 sheets in faint dotted lines, both portrait and landscape, and shown my previously made model of your building. I made the sheet outlines 100 times their actual size. That means you can immediately see how your model best fits at 1:100 scale. I made the dotted lines into a group so you could set up a scene for export to Layout that had that group (or their tag) turned off. You could do the same thing for other paper sizes and scales and just turn on what you need when you need it. Of course, if you are modelling in 3D you would have to do something similar in the other two planes to tell how elevations best fit a page. The faff of doing all this may explain why the experienced don’t bother!

I have also included a 10m scale bar. That, of course would print out to scale whether you chose to output at 1:50, 1:96, 1:2500, or anything else.

I also attach the Sketchup file so you can see how everything is set up.

house.skp (94.5 KB)

Well, you might find it good to do it that way.

I model it at actual size.

And if you use my and @slbaumgartner’s extension Wood Framing (on SketchUcation plugin store) it automatically converts from nominal (2x4) to actual size - which incidentally is different in US/Canada and UK). The UK still calls it a 2x4 or 4x2 in common parlance for older people, and has a smaller planing allowance of 3mm or 6mm (roughly 1/8" or 1/4" vs US/Canada 1/4" for sizes under 1", or 1/2" for larger sizes) but actually UK buildings are constructed in mm units, so that a UK nominal
2x4 is actually about 1 3/4" x 3 3/4", and machined to a metric size of 44mm x 94mm, and labelled as 50 x 100mm.

Clear so far?

And about 42 x 92mm after it has fully dried out…

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