Layout or SketchUp? NEWbie question


As of yesterday I am a complete newbie to SketchUp and LayOut, which I gather are different. I’ve spent several hours now trying to answer my questions by using the programs. Neither seems to want to let me do what I want, but I think that’s because of operator error.

I want to see whether the seven panels of a proposed doghouse plan can be sawn from two sheets of 4-foot by 8-foot plywood. I know the dimensions of the seven panels.

First, which program should I use, SketchUp or LayOut? Is that even a good question?

I want to create and be able to move and rotate the seven various panels and eventually “place” them on two sheets that are 48 inches by 96 inches, i.e., ordinary 4 by 8 sheets. Then I want to add dimensions to those panels to use the resulting printouts, on 8.5 by 11 paper, as the plan.

How do I scale 96 inches IRL to 10 inches on paper? How do I create the seven rectangles of the right dimensions? How do I move those rectangles from place to place on the 4 by 8 background to see how it all fits?

I know I’ve asked a lot of questions. Any help you can offer this NOObie will be appreciated.

If I were doing something like that (and coincidentally, I am working on a project right now where the same sort of thing needs to be done) I would draw the 3D Model in SketchUp making components of each part that needs to be cut out of wood/plywood. Then I would lay those parts out over rectangles drawn to 48x96. You can then play with arranging them as needed.

I would create scenes to show what I want to show in the plan and then send the SketchUp file to LayOut to do the documentation with labels and dimensions.Once you get the SketchUp scenes as viewports in LayOut, it’s a simple matter to set the scale so the plywood sheet will fit onto the paper.

You can do it all in SU Make (the free version).

First, as DaveR says, draw the panels in SU and make each one into a component.I drew the doghouse in 3D first, made it a component, then drew over it to make the side, top and end panels, each of which I made into a component before drawing the next panel.

Then draw a rectangle 4’ x 8’, and make that into a component (shortcut - press G key). Copy it (shortcut M for Move, then tap Ctrl key on Windows, or Option key on Mac so you see a + sign next to the Move mouse pointer) to make a second sheet. R-click and Lock both copies, so they don’t get messed around later.

Rotate all the doghouse components so they lie flat on the red-green plane. Then move them on top of the ply sheets, and adjust until they fit.

A quick go attached - dimensions arbitrary, but a plausible size - though too big if you want a bottom as well.

Doghouse.skp (43.1 KB)

As for printing, again it’s easier in Layout if you are familiar with it, but it can be done in Make too.

Choose Camera/Standard Views/Top view, set Camera to Parallel Projection, and zoom until the two rectangles just fit in the view window. Resize the window to get a close fit, and use the Pan tool (shortcut H for ‘hand’) to move the model in the view if necessary.

Choose Print, untick ‘Fit to Page’, and set the scale to something suitable - either 1:12 or 1:24 if you are working in imperial sizes, or 1:10 or 1:25 in metric. Orient the page landscape or portrait to match the view shape. Then print.

Hi folks.

The first thing to do is calculate the total area of required pieces ans make sure that they do not exceed the area of one 48" x 96" plywood sheet.

Take into account the thickness of the saw blade. For example, my circular saw eats 1/8" of material on each cut.

Just ideas.



I have not replied till now because I’ve been playing with SU based on the three responses posted to date. I thank you and the other two.

Your kind reply contains exactly the sort of information I am looking for. For example, your tip on how to set the camera to a roving bird’s-eye view solved that problem perfectly, and I wouldn’t have figured it out quickly if at all. I now have a few more questions, if you or someone else has the time.

What advantages are there to setting something to be a Component? Will the Component include the dimensions I created for each panel or sheet? How is that different from a Group?

When I select a rectangle, where if at all can I see its two dimensions? I see where the number of square inches is shown, but not the two distances that produce that product. Can the dimensions of a selected rectangle be changed, or do you have to start over every time as I do?

How do I get, for example, the lower left corner of a selected panel to snap to the lower right corner of a 4 by 8 sheet? Better yet, how do you get it to snap to in one direction and then move it 1/8 inch in the other to account for the saw kerf?

I appreciate any information along these lines you can supply. I’m up to Doghouse06.skp but I don’t know how to let you see it.

Opinions vary slightly on whether to use Components or Groups. I almost always use Components myself.

First, if you make your models out of assemblies of Components, and change your mind about the details of one component, and edit it, all the other instances of that component are changed immediately.

Second, it is easier to (for example) Change Axes for a component (right click on it first to see the option), to get the bounding box lined up with the shape of the component. If you drew the doghouse roof on the slant, it will probably still have the default red, green and blue axes, which don’t align with the flat of the slope.

Both Groups and Components serve to isolate their geometry from other groups or components in the model, and from ‘loose geometry’ - which in my view you should only have temporarily while you draw something before making it into either a group or a component. [By the way, it took me AGES when learning SU to understand that triple clicking on what you’ve just drawn will select all the connected loose geometry, then you can press G to make it into a component). Remember to check the box ‘Replace selection with component’ if you choose not to include all the loose geometry in the component).

With VERY rare exceptions, ALWAYS draw loose geometry on Layer 0. The only common exception I make is when drawing dimensions - for which I select a Dims or Dimensions layer. Remember to change back to drawing geometry on Layer 0 afterwards. Otherwise, ONLY choose components or groups to assign to other visibility layers.

While you CAN include dimensions inside either a group or a component, it is better not to - and to put all dimensions on one or more separate visibility layers. They will normally stay ‘associated’ with the size of the component, so if you change the component’s size, the dimension will automatically update - UNLESS you have overtyped the dimension, or removed the point at the end of the dimension line.

When you select a rectangle you drew some time earlier, you won’t ‘see’ its dimensions anywhere. You can check what they are, using either the Tape Measure tool (shortcut T) or the Dimension tool, to which I have assigned the shortcut D - but you have to assign that shortcut yourself using Window/Preferences/Shortcuts (on Windows - I think) or Sketchup/Preferences/Shortcuts on Mac.

When you are first drawing a rectangle, you can change the dimensions by typing values into the Measurements box (don’t click in it, just type - one size then a comma (or semicolon if you are not using US or UK locale) followed by the size of the other side. If you want to change only the first dimension, type the new size, then a comma, then Enter (or Return). To change only the second dimension, type comma, then the new second dimension, then Enter (or Return).

Once you have finished drawing the rectangle and moved on to something else, you can select one side of it (by clicking on it with the Select tool chosen - press Space Bar to choose it), then move that side (using the Move tool) by as much as you want. Again, if you type in a measurement it will move it by that exact amount in the direction you chose with the mouse ‘move’. You might want to set the option ‘Enable Length Snapping’ in menu Window/Model Info/Units, and set the snap interval in the box after that checkbox. If the rectangle is part of a component, you have first to double click on the component to ‘open it for editing’ (or R-click then Edit Component). Use the Instructor in SU, or see tutorials for the Move tool, to learn more about how to Move or Copy drawing elements.

To get ‘the lower left corner of a selected panel’ to ‘snap’ where you want it, use the Move or Copy tool (Copy = shortcut M then a quick tap on Control or Option key to toggle between Move and Copy - Copy shows a + sign next to the mouse pointer). Select WHAT you want to move (say, a component), then select the Move tool by shortcut M or click in the toolbar, click on the point you want to move FROM, then click on the point you want to move it TO. Usually, but not necessarily, the point to move FROM will be a corner of the component, but it can be anywhere. The Move is relative from the TO point to the FROM point.

To move it further just 1/8", use the move tool to make a move in the correct direction of an arbitrary amount. Then just type 1/8 - it will be entered into the Measurements box. That will make the move exactly 1/8", in the direction you chose.

As for uploading your drawing so far, look just above where you type to make a post. You’ll see a symbol 7th from the left, which looks like an up arrow with an underscore - a little bit like this only broader and thicker:

Click that, and you’ll be prompted to choose a file to upload. There’s a file size limit (I think of around 3MB) but your doghouse shouldn’t be over that size.

Best wishes.

John McC

1 Like

John McC, wow, what a lot you have added to my understanding. I have not yet used all of it but I have used a lot (which is why I’ve taken so long to reply). And I have disobeyed some. And I’m sure I have more questions. You’re not only helpful, John McC, you’re literate.

I have tried to upload doghouse13.skp for your and anyone else’s perusal. The goal is to print plans for how to saw two 48- by 96-inch sDoghouse13.skp (131.6 KB)heets into three pairs of panels and a floor. The roof panels and the floor must be made from one sheet, and the two sides and the matching front and back must be made from the other. The panels labeled Front and Back will be rotated 90 degrees relative to the sides and the roof. The floor has not been placed yet. The height of the front and back is arbitrary within certain limits.

I don’t know this is the best arrangement, which is why I want to be able to move and rotate pieces at will and have everything magically move and still show the dimensions. I know I can add dimensions later. Ideally, the text saying “Front” and “Side L” would also re-orient. One problem is, it seems once I place a text label deeply enough, I can’t edit it again.

I’m exposing my ignorance of the 3-D aspects of Sketch Up, but can you START with my seven panels and see whether they can be made into a 3-D doghouse?

Any further help you can offer turning this into a plan printable on 8 1/2 by 11 paper will be appreciated. I’m happy to do more and better work if I can understand what it is. Thanks.

(I use Win 7 Home Premium.)

Well, I can open the file fine, and see the parts laid out in a way that will fit the sheets, along with my draft Doghouse.

I’ve copied all of your parts into a new file.

I opened the Outliner window to see what use you have made of Components.

Some of your parts are components, like Back, Side L and Roof L. Some aren’t, like the areas labelled Roof R, Floor, and Side R.

So the first thing I would think to do is to make these areas into components too.

But even before that, I’d take two other steps - it will make life easier .

First, as originally recommended, draw an 8x4 rectangle, make it into a component, copy it to make a second and place them a short way apart - perhaps a whole foot. LOCK them, so you can’t later mess them up, resize or move them accidentally.

And second, DELETE all the dimensions. It will be harder to do later (I know, I tried, and eventually succeeded, but it wasn’t easy - the thickness of the components partly obscures them and makes the very hard to select).

THEN make all your pieces into components.

The easiest way to do that is to go to Top view in Parallel Projection - see my first reply for how to.

Then drag the mouse from bottom left to top right to surround one of the areas that isn’t already a component. That will select the face, and the edges around it, (and would have selected the dimension text too, if it were still there).

Start with Floor - it’s the easiest to drag the mouse around.

Or you can double click the Face anywhere inside the edges .

When ALL the elements of Floor are highlighted (turned blue to show they are selected) press letter g on the keyboard (without the shift key) to Make Component, and give it the name Floor. It’s useful to open the Entity Info window (either R-click on the selected element, or go to Window/Entity Info).

Then do the same for all the other areas that aren’t already components: Side R, and Front.

Save the file, in case of accidents.

I can work out from the dimensions that you will be using 3/4" (19mm) ply. And your draft floor is 2’8" x 2’4 5/8". So start on another part of the Red-Green plane, now in Camera/Perspective view, and copy the floor to there. Double click it to open for editing, then use the PushPull tool to give it thickness - 3/4". Press Enter after typing the thickness. You’ll see the original Floor component get thickness too. And the dimensions would get obscured - but you’ll have got rid of them by now.

Now draw the inside of the doghouse in 3D.

Start by drawing a rectangle over the top of the floor. Then PushPull it up to the inside height of the side - Side height, less 3/4" (so 1’ 6 1/2.

Draw a line down the ridge picking Midpoints on the short side with the Line tool (shortcut L). Change to the Select tool (shortcut SpaceBar). Highlight the line you just drew with a single click. Use Move tool to move it up about 10 inches (you don’t have ends drawn, so I’m guessing the height for the moment.) Make sure you move straight up on the Blue axis by tapping the UpArrow key after Move, after the first mouse click on the line. Or just watch where the mouse goes, and see that you get the tooltip ‘On Blue Axis’. To get the exact height, I guess you may intend the roof to have a full 90 degree right angle at the apes, so you can draw a construction line with the protractor tool at 45 degrees from the eave line, and move the ridge line up to that.

Triple click on what you’ve just drawn, and make it into a component (‘g’ shortcut). Call the new component ‘Inside’ or something similar.

Draw a rectangle on the near side from the eaves to the bottom of the floor. Pushpull it towards you to 3/4" thick.

Triple click what you’ve just drawn and make it a component. Call it Side (not yet L or R).

Move a copy of the side to the other side (M plus tap Ctrl). Pick the near bottom corner for the start of the Copy and move it to the far bottom corner of the floor.

Make Roof L component 3/4" thick (see above for Floor). After you’ve chosen the PushPull tool, you can double click the face to give it the same thickness as your last PushPull, 3/4".

Now Copy the near bottom corner of the Roof to the top near corner of the near Side, then Rotate (shortcut Q) about the Red axis. You want to rotate it around the FAR corner of the side, to raise the roof to the correct angle running through the ridge line. You’ll see that you will need to bevel the top edge of the Side at 45 degrees after you’ve cut it out.

Move it down the slope line a couple of inches, or a bit more, to give an eaves that will shed water. You’ll see that it is still too big unless you make the overlap a full three inches.

If instead you were to make the Left roof panel 3/4" wider than the Right one, you could make the eaves overlaps equal, within the width of a sawcut.

Anyway, you can now put on the Left roof. Make a Copy and position its nearer bottom corner at the top near corner of the Roof R piece. Rotate it down 45 degrees.

Now you have what looks like a complete dogouse, but of course its front and back have no thickness.

To fix that, use the Line tool (L) to drawn round the nearer end, choosing whether to overlap the sides and bottom, or go inside them. I chose to overlap.

You may need to orbit round the model (easiest with a three button wheel mouse, or use the Orbit (O) and Zoom tools (Z), so you can see all five corners - either all at once, or in turn.

PushPull the end to 3/4" thick, then make it a component called (say) End.

Copy it to the other end. And you have a doghouse. Now all you need to do is make a door at one end, a suitable size for your dog.

To see if you can make it all at this size from your two pieces of ply, there are a few more steps.

Copy the End, rotate it flat, and use it to see if you can fit two onto your plywood. And copy one of the sides in the same way, rotate it flat, make another (flat) copy, and now you have all the pieces to move around and see how they fit.

Looks as if you have PLENTY of plywood - now you can experiment with the 3D model, re-sizing some of its components, seeing the changes immediately on the cutting layout (you’ll need to move them around after resizing) and adjusting until you are happy.

To begin with, I’d ignore the saw cut width - just place the pieces touching each other - but remember to leave enough allowance for sawcuts afterwards.

I’ll try to make a video of the steps an upload it later - as I have never done that before, it’ll be a good thing for me to learn.

When you have finished making adjustments to the sizes, and refitted them on the ply, NOW you can dimension them and label them.

As I suggested before, draw the Dimensions and Label text on a new layer.

I’ve used a slightly different layout, which will allow you to make the doghouse bigger, if you want to. I’ve put one roof piece and one side piece on each sheet.

And I’ve flipped the Side pieces along their blue axis (they were drawn upright, so the blue component axis is the green ‘world’ axis) and the far End along the green axis, so they’ll grow into the ply if you resize them in the 3D model.

This is what my drawing looks like now:

And heres’ the model.

Doghouse14.skp (98.7 KB)

I’ll post later about how to resize the elements in 3D and see the effect on cutting layout.

Well, I’ve made a video of the process, which didn’t work out exactly as described, but close. However, it is longish (about 45mins) and a large file (1.4GB approx). I’ve run out of space on Dropbox to upload it there, but will put it on OneDrive instead. It’s a QuickTime movie. If you can’t view it let me know and I’ll try to convert it to something easier to view.

Had technical problems for a while, but here’s the link:!769&authkey=!AJ9Yhy-XkrIoGGA&ithint=video%2Cmov

I’ll do a shorter movie soon, showing how changing the dimensions in 3D of Doghouse14.skp immediately makes changes on the cutting layout.

April 2, 2016

John McC,

I don’t understand how you determined I’d be using 3/4-inch plywood, but however you did it it applies to only one of the two sheets. Only the two roof panels and the floor will be made of 3/4-inch ply. The other sheet, for the front and back and the two sides, will be T1-11, which is only 5/8 inch and has a pattern on the show side and, more importantly, is lighter in weight. I plan to fasten everything with screws rather than nails so the house can be disassembled and reassembled, which means extra weight is bad. I see you put considerable effort into Doghouse14.skp but, as you now understand, it can’t work exactly as you laid it out.

May I ask you to open Doghouse32.skp to see how I’ve progressed?

You’ll see I have kept the dimensions and the text labels because without them I quickly lost track of which panel was which as I tried rotating and moving them. But at this point, John, I think I’ve got the layout and most of the dimensions figured out, thanks to your help, either because they make the doghouse bigger than the original plan (which made all seven panels out of only one sheet) or because they maximize the sheet of 3/4-inch ply and the sheet of T111. And this is also why I don’t think at this point I need to create either 48 by 96 sheet background.

With respect to the 1/8-inch saw kerfs (sawdust) that separate panels, I do want to account for, and minimize, them on the final plan. That’s exactly the sort of detail I want to get right on the final 2-D plan showing what rectangles to cut to what sizes, partly because I will have two “helpers” who know a whole lot less about carpentry than half of you and me put together and partly because I myself need to be reminded of that information sometimes, especially if I have 30 seconds to figure it out instead of 30 days. Also, and I didn’t mention this before, I want to end up with as big a scrap rectangle as possible, for at least one of the sheets, so I can use it in the future as a plank to rest across sawhorses.

You’ll see in the lower right the base of the doghouse, made of 2 by 4s laid (not lied) on edge. Above that is the front elevation (same for the back, of course). Here’s how I determined the height of 33 9/16. If you start with a side height of 19 1/4, what height for the front will result in the 90-degree angle you suggested at the peak? Half of the given width of 28 5/8 is 14 5/16, which when added to 19 1/4 is 33 9/16. The Pythagorean Theorem tells me that makes the hypotenuse 20 1/4 (actually, 20.241 inches). Adding a 1-inch overhang to Roof R results in a total eave-to-ridge distance of 21 1/4. Roof L must be 3/4 inch longer to overlap Roof R, so it’s 22.

The two horizontal lines at the bottom of the front elevation are intended to show the 3/4 inch of the floor plus another 1 1/2 of overhang so I can screw the bottom of the front panel into the face of the sturdy 2 by 4 base piece and not into the end grain of the plywood just above it, which reduces the floor to shoulder height to 17 inches, which I think is just tall enough for my dog.

Do all of the pieces in Doghouse32.skp fit together properly? Will they, as planned, fit together to make a perfectly fitted doghouse? That, at this point in this project for me, is a crucial question. I realize you didn’t sign up to answer that question, but you’ve gotten me so close I hope you can find the time to finish me off.

Please believe me when I say how much I appreciate all the effort you have expended in teaching me what I wanted to know. You have been faithful to me, and I’m sure what you taught about turning my 2-D plan into a 3-D doghouse and back again is accurate. But at this point do I still need to? I will believe either answer you give. If you say I still should I will. And I will learn what I need to about layers so I can move the dimensions to a new one. Those and, even worse, the text labels seem to be resistant to editation.

Your idea to make a video showing some of these SketchUp techniques is a good one, and I for one will watch it.

–Johnny (Laugh Think)

P.S. Just a thought: As I say on, “Generally, it’s better to stick with all inches rather than feet and inches,” because when you add in feet the user has to do mental math, which so often leads to mistakes, or the user has to do math with a calculator or on a piece of paper or drywall or something, which is embarrassing when it’s as (seemingly) easy as multiplying something by 12 and then adding the product to the other inches. With feet and inches one must memorize and mentally manipulate three things; with inches only one must memorize and manipulate only two. If there is some benefit to using feet, John, just tell me.

April 3, 2016


I have a number of comments, and I even dare to make a few suggestions, regarding your video.

First, it’s an admirable work. Really nice. I’m not sure whom your intended audience is, but this is worthy of being on YouTube as well as part of the SketchUp forum. Please keep my admiration in mind as you read on.

– The video I got to repeats itself almost exactly, starting at about 22 minutes in. It’s 44:21 long, which I’m guessing doubled its weight in megabytes.
– You make several mistakes and then show how to correct them, which is more informative than not making mistakes to begin with unless the viewer’s name is Jesus T. Carpenter, who I charitably assume never made any. Mistakes, not doghouses.
– You use the term “flat” several times, and I think you mean “horizontal” or “parallel to the axis colored blue” or whatever. All of the seven panels are always flat all of the time regardless of their orientations.
– Sometimes it would be helpful if you tell what you’re doing with the mouse. I think I know most of the time, but not always. “Here I click and drag to enclose the dog’s water bowl,” that sort of thing.
– Because I’m color-blind I cannot distinguish among the various axes’ colors. So far this has made no difference to my use of SketchUp, but maybe I don’t know what I’m missing. If Trimble had chosen black, white and grey or several other trios I’d have no problem, but the colors they chose were the worst possible for many color-blind people. Now that I think about it, I don’t know why I’m telling you this, but my keyboard’s Delete and Backspace keys are broken, which puts a lot of pressure on me to type right the first time, but which anyway is why I haven’t erased this whole paragraph.
– As it appears on my full-size monitor the screen resolution is blurry, which has nothing to do with color-blindness. It’s not so blurry as to make the video useless, just a little less useful than I’m pretty sure it could be. For instance, at the very end you leave on the screen a pop-up edit box – the one near the top whose lower right corner obscures the upper left corner of the doghouse plan – and the title of that box is too blurry to make out.
– As you probably know, your accent is instantly and always appealing to all Americans, of which I am one, so do not change it in case you were thinking of that.

With all that said, let me repeat that I think the video is just all kinds of peachy.

In a separate post to the SketchUp forum I will upload Doghouse32.skp for your review.

Also, you can write me directly, John, by going to my web site and clicking my email link.

–Johnny (Laugh Think)

I’ll reply to your latest post first:

Well, believe it or not its the first screen video I’ve ever made. I knew I’d overrun a bit at the end when I couldn’t see how to turn recording off. And I had thought it was only about 25 minutes long. But I did NOT realise that in editing it to clip the end off, I had duplicated the whole thing! Will try to fix. Sorry it is a little blurry - I had to limit the resolution so it doesn’t come out several times the already large file size, and perhaps I should have reduced the Sketchup window size a bit further - I have a large monitor, and was only using a quarter of the screen or less. And there may have been further blurring during translation from window size to movie size.

When I said ‘flat’ I meant horizontal in the X-Y or red-green plane. That’s perpendicular to the blue axis, not parallel to it. Since i tend to start with a 3D model, THEN work out the size of the pieces it needs, I often have to rotate the pieces onto the horizontal - or ‘lay them flat’.

I take your point about saying what I’m doing with the mouse - the video records mouse movements and clicks, but not dragging with the mouse button held down.

Sorry to hear you are colour blind - see this earlier forum post for some suggestions to deal with that in Sketchup. You can’t (in any version so far) change the axis colours, but there are some workarounds suggested here: Changing the color of the axis. Or search Google for ‘Sketchup forum color blind’ (or colour blind).

And I really think you should invest a few dollars in a new keyboard if your Delete and Backspace really are broken - I can’t imagine typing without them!

I can’t see Doghouse32.skp yet in your posts, so will have to wait to look at that until later today or tomorrow.

But you are quite right about units of measurement. I’ll change them to inches only in Sketchup in future postings. I’m retired now, and of a generation that grew up with multi-radix arithmetic. It’s hard to imagine now, but I actually did sums at school like ‘If you buy 3 tons, 2 hundredweight, three quarters and five pounds of coal at six pounds, four shillings and eleven pence three farthings per ton, how much do you pay?’

And at the local amateur theatre in England for which I mostly use Sketchup, we still for historical reasons use feet and inches for our scenery, and make it using those measurements.

I can’t remember now how I worked out you were using 3/4" ply - i think as the difference between two measurements for the length of the floor and side or width of floor and end. And as you will be using 5/8 ply for sides and ends, I got it wrong anyway!

Even if your saw cut is only 1/8" wide (which many are) I myself would allow either 3/16" or 1/4" for the saw kerf, to allow for (a) wobbles in the straightness of the saw cuts and (b) an allowance for planing the edge straight and smooth after sawing. But if you use a straight-edge guide for the circular saw, and are content to sand rather than plane, 1/8" would do.

And on another practical point, I’d not usually specify dimensions any closer than 1/4" or 1/8" when designing, unless it has to fit something else, or is to make a right angle (like the height to the apex of the roof on the ends).

Can’t really say any more until I see Doghouse32.skp, which as far as I can see you haven’t yet uploaded.

Best wishes


Doghouse32.skp (156.0 KB)

Here is Doghouse32.skp. Sorry I forgot to upload it as opposed to merely saying I would upload it.

Well, I have ‘built’ your doghouse in 3D. A fairly quick process - perhaps 10-15mins, though I wasn’t timing it.

Basically, I first made components of the few pieces you had left as ‘loose geometry’ - from memory, the ‘front’ with the angle on it, and one of the sides and/or roof. If you intend to make future use of Sketchup for other projects PLEASE DON’T DO THAT!

Then I selected everything and locked it. Some of the dimensions remained ‘loose’ and won’t lock that way, so I selected everything again, made what wasn’t already locked into a component, and locked that.

I then drew over one of each distinct sized piece - one side and one length of the ‘foundation’ 2x4s, PushPulled them to 3 3/4" high (which is the finished thickness they would be in UK lumber at least), copied to the other side, and drew a floor rectangle on top. Thicknessed it with PushPull again.

Then drew over each of the other pieces, gave them thickness with PushPull (either 3/4 or 5/8, depending on which sheet they came from). Rotated upright one side, and one end (front). Then set them on top of the floor, and copied each to its mirror image on the other side.

Then I ‘raised the roof’ - registering the R piece on the apex corner before rotating it down the slope, then added the L piece. Then moved both along 1" for a symmetrical ovelap at front and back.

Here’s what the result looks like:

And here’s the SKP file - <a class=“attachment” Doghouse323D.skp (232.6 KB)

As you can see, the pieces do NOT fit over the floor and foundation 2x4s, as you wanted them to - I assume for both strength and weather resistance.

If you were to do that as you intended, all the pieces except the floor and the 2x4s would stay the same size, but floor and foundations would be two x 5/8 ply thicknesses smaller in each direction (about 1 1/4", but ply isn’t always exactly the nominal thickness, so I would measure two thicknesses rather than 1 1/4").

Speaking as a hobbyist woodworker, I would cut out sides and ends first, assemble them with screws, then measure the inside opening and transfer the measurements to the ply, before cutting out the floor and foundation pieces.

And the tops of the sides just touch the inside of the roof. If you were to cut them at a 45 degree bevel, they would make a stronger and more draught proof joint. You can see this if you view the model from the front, in parallel projection, and Xray view, and zoom in - like this image of the top eaves corner:

As you have the sides and ends adjacent on the board, you would have to reduce the height of the front and back by 5/8" to match.

Your choice.

Back to you, I think.


April 12, 2016


I’m afraid I have many questions in response to yours of April 5th, if you have time to reply.

You say, in caps so I know you mean it, “Please don’t do that!” I’m not 100% sure what it is you don’t want me to do. My guess is leaving loose geometry that is not componentized. If that’s not what you mean, please help me with more detail. If it is, the reason I resist making anything a component is that for one or more reasons a componentized object seems to be more difficult to manipulate. I struggle with editing the text labels and changing the dimensions and editing the dimension labels either way, but those tasks seem more difficult when something is a component. Still, I will follow your advice as soon as I know for sure what it is.

JSYK, in the States a 2 by 4 is 1 1/2 by 3 1/2 actual. Also, until this moment I assumed you used the metric system in the UK. You should, as we should, but that’s a different topic.

Of course, NOW I see what you mean about how the sides and the front and back will not slip over the base. This is exactly the sort of problem I have been hoping you or someone will catch before I start making cuts IRL. Thank you, and be assured I have facepalmed myself more than once about this mistake. I wonder how many other mistakes there are on the plan.

The Doghouse52.SKP file I’ve now uploaded contains two sets of plans. On the top the panels contain text labels and dimensions. Some might not be componentized. You’ll also find two details of the front panel’s elevation view.

Below those two rows are two more rows, containing what I intend to be the identical seven panels plus the foundation but with no text labels and no dimensions and each componentized. Can you work your magic turning them into a 3D doghouse? What you do with the copying and rotating and the pushing and pulling is beyond me, John.

You are right that I should attach the Front and Back to the Side panels and only then cut the floor based on actual (dead square) dimensions. And that the foundation should then be cut to the floor’s dimensions. That’s why I moved the Floor to the right factory edge and placed the scrap to its left to grow or shrink as needed. Good catch. The plans do assume dead straight cuts with exactly 1/8 kerf.

You are also right that I should cut the tops of the sides with a 45 in order to provide more contact between a roof panel and the side it connects to. We will not have access to a table saw, which is obviously the preferred instrument, and my skill at cutting a 45 with a circular saw, especially in wavy 5/8-inch stock, might be inadequate to the task. (If you care to fly here, in Kansas, to help with the construction, I’ll be happy to give you my address.)

Note that the colors of the various pieces are pretty much beyond my control at this point. I just take whatever comes up. They mean nothing.

You’re so full of advice, John, I don’t know what to ask next. If I’ve produced a satisfactory pair of plans, great. If not, I really want to know. Will it work as specified? I’m down to 4 days before my 30-day trial expires, and I’m concerned I won’t be able to edit and eventually print known-good plans after then.

–Johnny (Laugh Think)
Doghouse52.skp (295.8 KB)

Quick reply only for the moment from my phone - can’t use computer for about 24hr following visit to osteopath.

Yes, “don’t do that” does mean “don’t leave loose geometry”.

You should just have to double click a component to open it for editing, and you can attach labels either to the whole component but outside it, or to a face or edge ‘inside’ the component. So it shouldn’t be any harder to edit the label on or in a component than one attached to loose geometry.

And don’t worry about the Pro trial expiring. You lose only Layout, and Solid Tools, and some import/export formats. None of these are things you need for your present purposes. Indeed, I used SU for nearly a decade before getting the Pro version, and I still rarely use Layout.

Will look at model tomorrow evening or Thursday, and reply from my computer where I can see where you’ve got to.

Look at SU tutorials on line, if you haven’t already, to learn how to use the Rotate, Move, and PushPull tools - if you want to us SU for anything beyond this doghouse, they are totally fundamental to using it.

As for UK wood dimensions, we sort-of went metric in the late 1960s. But our timber finished sizes are closer to 1/4" smaller than nominal size than your 1/2". And I do most of my work in SU for our local amateur theatre, which for historical reasons still designs and builds in imperial units and fractions. Our flats and rostra are sized in feet, not ‘metric feet’ of 300mm. And we’ve owned a lot of them since before official metrication.

I’ve had a chance now to draw your doghouse52 in 3D.

There’s bad news and good news.

The bad news is, if you cut out the pieces at the dimensions you have drawn, they won’t fit.

The good news is that the sides are too big, so you could trim them down to fit, rather than need a new sheet of ply to cut out bigger ones. The sides have allowed an extra 1 1/4" for overlapping the ends, but the ends are already sized to overlap the sides! Unless you planned to mitre the corners (unlikely) you don’t need both.

Or another option (which I have drawn for you) is to keep the sides at the same length, but make the floor and base 2x4s longer by 1 1/4", to match.

However, you have made the front and back so wide, that you haven’t left any room on the board to slope the top edges at 45 degrees. Did you intend that?

Because I think it would substantially increase the strength and draught-proofing of the doghouse, I’ve lowered the sides slightly to allow for a 45 degree cut at the top. If you don’t feel confident to saw it, assemble the sides, front and back first, then plane the slope on the top edge of the board.

I attach a SU drawing which shows in three scenes the assembled doghouse with overall dimensions, and layout views of each of your ply sheets, with suggested cutting layout.

I also attach PDFs which you can print out on US Letter paper (make sure you choose No Scaling, or Full Size, or 100% scale in your PDF viewer to get them to print to 1:12 scale).

I’ve drawn an opening at the front, which you can size to your dog.

I did all this in Sketchup itself (Make). Nothing needed Pro.

Happy sawing and assembly.


PS. You said you didn’t know how the colours of your rectangles came out different. In SU, faces have a front (coloured white by default) and a back (coloured blueish by default). When you draw on the ‘ground plane’ (X-Y, or red green) SU draws faces reverse side up, since usually your next operation is to PushPull it up, and for that you usually want the face side out, and the reverse inside.

Doghouse52-3d.skp (221.6 KB)Doghouse 52a assembled.pdf (16.3 KB)<a class=“attachment” Doghouse 52a - three quarter ply.pdf (12.4 KB)
Doghouse52a five eights ply.pdf (14.7 KB)

PS. I see I’ve forgotten one sawcut on the 5/8 ply sheet - horizontally between the sides and the ends. You do need to cut along that line!

I’ve left it a little bigger than the minimum necessary 1/8", to allow for trimming the angles on the top edge of the sides.

April 15, 2016


First, I had no idea about Scenes, so thanks. Not only is it kind of cool to fly around, it’s also helpful. And I used Orbit, which is even better.

Second, I’m trying to resolve a contradiction. You show the eave-to-ridge dimension of Roof R as being 22 1/4, which means Roof L should be 3/4 more, which would be 23, yet on your drawings you show Roof L to be 23 1/8. Why the extra 1/8? I intended for the roof to hang 2 inches over each gable end and each eave. It’s no big deal, and I’ve been guaranteed Queeen Elizabeth will not be measuring roof overhangs at the ceremony for the unveiling of my doghouse that she will attend. You’re invited too, of course, if you promise not to go into too much detail about what a slow student I’ve been. Maybe you two can fly over together.

(To be strict, what is called 3/4 plywood in the States is actually 23/32, but I’m not going to worry about 1/32 of an inch either way. I mean, this ain’t fine cabinetry, it’s a doghouse.)

I now see, thanks to your subtle encouragement, that my plan for the 3/4 ply did not take advantage of the factory edge for Roof L. I have lowered it to place the scrap between it and Roof R. You can see that not only is SketchUp new to me, so is drawing plans.

With regard to the cutout in Front for a door, you show it going all the way to the bottom of the panel. Would it be better to leave a strip at the bottom of Front, both for rigidity and to give a nailing surface along the front 2 by 4? I’ve consulted with my dog and he doesn’t care, but I think I need to make this cutout before I assemble the four vertical panels. After full assembly the bottom of the cutout will have to be a bit higher than the top of the Floor, which is OK.

Now, as to the biggest problem, which is that I mistakenly added 1 1/4 padding (5/8 for each of two mirrored panels) to both floor dimensions whereas I should have added that padding to only one dimension or the other. Two-handed facepalm. But we’re getting closer to rather than farher away from perfection.

Having thought about it more, I agree with you that I need to make that 45-degree cut at the top of Side L and Side R. I will take my time and saw slowly, and I’ll figure out a straightedge for a fence if I can. Anyway, you’re right, they must be mitered. Or mitred.

Note to self: For the sake of squareness of assembly later on I want the two Sides to match each other as closely as possible. Same with the Front and Back; I want them to be identical in both dimensions when cut from the sheet and identical after the gables have been cut.

John, am I right about this? You’re saying that Side R and Side L should be 5/8 taller, from floor to eave, to account for the 45-degree cut I now agree is required at the tops of those Sides.
Right now Side L and Side R are 19 1/4. Adding 3/4 (instead of the expected 5/8, to account for sloppy sawing) makes them 20 tall, not 19 1/4.
I know you lowered
Floor – You show the Floor as being 27 3/8 from side to side, and I do too. But you have grown the front-to-back dimension from my 34 3/4 by 1 1/4 to 36. Why?
Side L and Side R – We both show the front-to-back dimension of the Sides to be 36, but you show the height as 19 1/8 whereas I show 19 1/4. One problem, if a saw kerf really is 1/8, is that I must somehow remove an additional 1/8, which is a difficult cut with a circular saw. Maybe with a belt sander? I understand you lowered the Sides to allow for mitering the tops therof, but why 1/8?
Front and Back – We both use 28 5/8 for the Side-to-Side dimension but you show 32 3/4 for the height whereas I show 33 9/16. Why the difference of 13/16? For simplicity, I’ll refer to only the Front, since the Back is identical.
You show 18 1/2 from the bottom of the Front up to where the diagonal cut starts, which I will call the shoulder if I may, and you show a total height to the peak of 32 3/4, which means the height of the triangle that results from making the two diagonal cuts is 32 3/4 minus 18 1/2, which is 14 1/4. But half of 28 5/8 is 14 5/16. I don’t care much about 1/16 IRL but I am curious what accounts for the difference. But then again there are also some geometry elements on your “5/8 ply layout” that I don’t quite understand, such as the 5/8 strips along the two diagonal cuts, so maybe that explains it.
You say, “However, you have made the front and back so wide, that you haven’t left any room on the board to slope the top edges at 45 degrees. Did you intend that?” I’m not sure what you’re referring to. Which top edges do you mean? I intend for the slope of each Roof panel to be 45 degrees, with a 90-degree angle at the peak of each gable end. I intend for the two roof panels to butt, with Roof L overlapping Roof R by 3/4. Or do you mean the top edges of the Sides, which I agree need to be mitered?
Aarggh, John. I just want to make the plans for the doghouse so I know they’re right before I start even measuring for making marks for making cut lines, and you’ve spent a lot of time helping me get really close. I appreciate it, and I appreciate your patience with my ignorance and stupidity. You’re helping a lot with my ignorance, but you can’t fix my stupidity except by talking slower.

If I can also end up with an accurate, orbitable 3-D version such as you have produced, so much the better, and I’m sure my two helpers will be impressed. But more importantly, that 3-D version really helps to understand how the doghouse is built. Am I right in thinking that if the panels are the right size in plan view, you should be able to turn them into a 3-D structure with no contradictions? If so, that’s the ultimate goal.

But merely an error-free 2-D plan for each sheet is plenty good enough.

–Johnny (Laugh Think)

P.S. All well with the osteopathic visit now? As a craftsman in service of the dramatic arts, do you have access to table saws and lathes and drill presses and the like, or is it more planes and rasps and brace-and-bits? Can you weld?

OOPS - even Homer nods - just a mistake on my part. It should be 23".

Yes, you could certainly do that. I’ve redrawn it that way.

Is the doghouse to be in the open air? If so, you’ll have an exposed ply edge here. Will need thorough painting to be waterproof, as will the exposed Roof L edge at the top. Or you could cover them with alumin(i)um tape after painting.

Yes and no. Leaving the front and back at the same width as you designed them, you only have 19 1/4 in available for the sides - so I lowered them by 3/4, then added back 5/8. And I think you will find it easier to saw the ends to exact (square) widths first, leaving the sides slightly oversize. So when you cut the bevel, you cut off the extra 1/8 too - it just allows for a little room for a wandering saw. The ends (front and back) are 18-1/2 to the eaves, plus 5/8 extra for the bevel on the sides, making them 19 1/8 up to the sharp edge of the mitre/miter.

I should have said, for clarity, “the top edges of the sides at 45 degrees.”

I had my Units set (in Window/Model Info/Units) with precision of 1/8, so all dimensions were rounded to the nearest 1/8". In my updated drawing attached, I have increased the precision to 1/16" so the dimension comes out just as you correctly calculate.

The extra lines shown on the 5/8" cutting plan are 1/8" wide, not 5/8*, and just represent the width of the saw cuts.

As an engineering apprentice about 55 years ago, I did learn to weld, but have not done it since.

I do have a table saw and a lathe (the latter inherited from my father) at home, and other power tools, but in the theatre workshop we have portable circular saws, a compound mitre bench saw, a power jigsaw, a couple of routers, a drill press, a small hand power planer, as well as the usual range of hand tools - including, hand saws, chisels, screwdrivers, hammers and an assortment of battery powered drills.

You can manage to cut out the doghouse parts with a circular saw, and indeed as you say, a straight edge guide for it. You’ll also need a jigsaw for the opening in the front. I’d use a plane to smooth the non-original sawn edges, and some hand or power sanding to finish edges and faces before painting or varnishing.

And to guide the circular saw, use something like this, made out of hardboard (US Masonite?) or thin ply and cut to fit the saw you have.

Hope this is close enough now?

Here’s the revised model:
Doghouse52-3d - v2.skp (1.7 MB)

Will print out PDFs later this evening.

[LATER] Now added.
Three quarter ply layout.pdf (12.5 KB)

Five eights ply layout.pdf (14.8 KB)

PS. A thought. As shown in the Five eights ply layout, with the order of the cuts shown, you could stack the two pieces you get after two cuts, and next separate the ends and sides with one ‘horizontal’ cut (on the layout). Then stack the two ends, and cut them out together.

But you would have to make the bevel cuts on the sides one at a time.

April 19, 2016


First, let me thank you again for all the time you have spent helping me. I see from your other posts on SketchUp Community that this project of mine is a bit less sophisticated than what you’re used to.

Added to this thread is my latest attempt to make it as easy as possible for you turn the panels into a 3D model, named Doghouse55.skp. Did I get the dimensions and angles right?

I don’t think it makes any difference to you, but I went to the trouble of measuring the width of the teeth on the new blade on my new circular saw with a calipers (calipres?) and discovered it is 2.4 mm, which is near enough to 3/32. Despite this, I have rounded up the width of the saw kerf from 1/8 to 3/16. This affects only the size of the scrap pieces, so I don’t think you need to account for or even pay any attention to the dimensions of the saw kerfs, unless I’m misunderstanding something.

Please ignore the two front elevation details of Doghouse55 for now. I’m not going to bother fixing them till you tell me I’ve got the dimensions exactly right in the three plan views (although at some point I’m going to want to transfer your door cutout to one of those pictures).

In Doghouse55.skp – in order to try to make the copy-pull-rotate-align 3D manipulations as easy as possible for you – I’ve meant to make each panel its own component. I’ve placed all the dimension labels outside the panels themselves. I’ve added no text labels, and I’ve deleted the ones that were there. (I’ll add them back just before printing.) Is this arrangement as helpful as I can make it for you once again to turn them into a 3D image?

The only discrepancy I see is the height of Front and Back. You show 32 3/4 whereas I show 32 13/16. If this is the only problem, if everything else is perfect, then never mind. It’s a mere 1/16th of an inch and, I can confirm that the Queen’s Master of American Colonial Protocols assures me she will NOT be measuring anything at the ceremony. Otherwise, if it should be one or the other, please tell me which and why.

Will Doghouse55’s panels make a perfect doghouse? Are there any contradictions? (Yes, I did receive and study the PDFs, and thank you.)

Also, I just thought of a couple questions. How can I contol what color a given panel is? I will be printing only in black-to-white laser. Ideally the 5/8 T111 would be one shade of grey and the 3/4 plywood another. And the scraps would somehow be yet a different shade, or blank, or something. This is going above and beyond any reasonable request a random newbie to SketchUp Community could ask a mentor to answer, but the fact is I’ve played with the Paint Bucket tool and cannot make it obey my wishes. Is there a better way?

And can I control the font size of text labels and dimension labels?

Of course you’re right about sawing two panels at once, which my circ saw is capable of both in blade depth and, if I go slowly enough, torque. I even have clamps. Or in the alternative I will have two helpers with two hands each, the four of which can be used as substitutes for clamps. Good catch, and thanks yet again for a useful tip. I imagine you’re pretty much always the handiest guy around for making rostra and lecterni and daisi and risers and podia and other such terms.

I haven’t heard back from you, John, about being here to help us build the doghouse, nor about the Queen’s trip here and stuff, so I’ll just assume you’re going to unless you tell me different. detes l8r.
Doghouse55.skp (309.9 KB)