I must be doing something horribly wrong

This is my first time trying to use SketchUp and I spent 4 hours making a very simple drawing that I could have done on paper in under a minute. I can’t believe that everyone finds it this impossible to use so I must be doing something horribly wrong.

I want to make a scale drawing for a woodworking project. After drawing each piece of wood it is almost impossible to get them attached to each other. It looks lined up until you rotate the drawing, then you realize that there is a gap.

I watched some tutorials and discovered that turning everything into a component allows them to glue together, but sometimes it works and other times the component randomly flips into various orientations when I get it close to where I want it, so I can only glue it sticking up.

This looks like it should be a great tool, I think I’m just missing something very important about how to use it.

in 3D space positions are deceptive, you might need to orbit to see where stuff actually is. To align use the move tool and grab the item by a specific point that can be “snapped” to another point on the target object.

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It is very common when first starting SketchUp (or any complex software) to not fully understand how that software works and so be inefficient at best and totally confused at worst. You must learn to drive the car before you can take it out on the road without crashing. Have you checked out the tutorial available at the SketchUp Campus? The Icons look different in the tutorials as it is focused on the pro version interface but they all do the same things as the web version you are using.

There is no scale in SketchUp. Everything is modeled at true real world dimensions. A 3’ table is 3’ tall.

I not sure what tutorials you are watching but while using components is a great idea and a fundamental part of SketchUp, components do not make things stick together (except in the case of having properties set to glue to surface which is more advanced work and is not the solution for your more basic problem of aligning objects) Perhaps that was a source of confusion in the video.

Aligning objects is best accomplished using the inference engine. Grab an object by the point you want to align and snap it to the point you want it touch.

It is a fantastic tool. Perhaps what you are missing is an understanding of how it works, the Campus is a good place to start getting that understanding.

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Thanks, I will try the Campus. I also did not realize that it matters where you pick up the object when you move it, that probably why the behavior appeared to be inconsistent for me.

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SketchUp is deceptively simple. In reality it’s governed by a very complex set of rules where almost everything matters. Where you touch things, which way the camera is facing, which direction you drag your mouse in to select things. It can be baffling when they are not understood but once you know the rules it’s a powerful system.

Make yourself a simple cube, make it a group, and explore the inference engine using the move tool. There are snap points at every corner, in the center of every edge and more. Plus the inference engine remembers previous points: hover over the center of a rectangle edge to focus the attention there, then move to the center of an adjacent edge to find that edge center, now move to the center of the rectangle and you will find a center,center snap point. Practice picking up one cube a few different ways, then make two cubes and start putting them together different ways, edge to center, corner to corner. Remember you can use the arrow keys to lock a move direction to any of the three axis, left/green right/red up/blue.

Welcome to SketchUp.

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In addition, try to keep moving components and groups to a minimum. Instead, draw things in place. If you want to make a model of a table, for instance,begin by placing guidelines to mark the corners of the table. Draw one leg, then make copies and move them to the corners. Connect the legs with aprons–draw one in place between a pair of legs, then make a copy and move into position on the opposite side of the table.Repeat with the remaining aprons. Drawing in place will allow you to create a model quickly (no time wasted moving things that don’t need to be moved) and accurately.

Thanks everybody. The Campus training was really helpful. Knowing how to pan and zoom with the mouse and understanding how dragging different connection points affects the final position etc was the crucial part that I was missing.

I redid my drawing from scratch in about 20 mins after completing the Campus training (4 hours originally) so I think I am up and running now.

Thanks for all your help.

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