Making a take off ruler


I have scale rulers for lumber takeoffs that read in 16" o/c ( 1/4" scale ) But, for reasons I am unable to fathom, some architects draw in an odd scale like, in this case, 3/16"=12" So I think - how hard can it be to make a take off ruler that has spacing 16" o/c at the 3/16" scale? Well, it’s harder than I thought - I can’t get it to print to the correct scale. I drew a line 56’ long divided it into 42 spaces, (16" o/c) used the grid tool to pull lines at 16". If I try to print it in sketchup, it wants to use 4 sheets of paper, if I export it, it is not to scale. I try to zoom extents so it will fit one sheet - nope.
So I think I will send it to layout and print it. I had set the scale for 3/16, and still no luck - it won’t print to scale. How can I make this workout?



This should be pretty easy, actually. How are you trying to print this thing from LayOut? I would export a PDF and make sure it’s printed at actual size.


I will try printing your PDF. Ooo. It printed out to the correct size! Yay! I wish there was an easy way to print numbers on it like my like take off ruler. See picture. Don’t bother though - I will scribble #s on the print out Thanks so much! G


Here’s a quickie. No labels or text. Prints on Legal size paper.
16 in OC.pdf (2.6 KB)


I’d draw your base line at 56’, draw a short line perpendicular and copy it along the base line 16" then copy 42 times.

Bring that into Layout and create a custom scale 3/16"=12". In the scale box go to bottom and choose “custom scale”, make the entry 3/16 in first box and 12 in the next. Save it.
Then select the Sketchup window and apply the newly made scale to it (which will now be in the scale dropdown list).

Layout doesn’t have much in the way of text tools so I took it into illustrator to drag out the numbers.
You could do it manually!

It looks like the resulting scale is equivalent to 1/4" =12" so using a 1/4"=12" scale rule would give you the equivalent of 1/4"=16" at the 3/16" scale?

scale rule 2.pdf (106.7 KB)


Or use the native 3/16" = 1’-0" and save a couple of steps which is what I did for the PDF I shared above.


I thought he’d like to know how to make a custom scale, besides, 3/16" = 12" does not appear in the native list in SU 2018 which he’s using ( and which I used for this)? It looks like they added it in the 2019 release. Maybe that’s what you are using?



That’s easy enough in LayOut using the Text tool. It’ll be easier if you center justify the text and click where you want to set the text. You can place the first text box and then copy it and create a linear array of text boxes and then edit them.


Yes. I’m using 2019.


I’ve created a monster! Wow - so cool. Is that Adobe Illustrator? I am sure I am not the only carpenter who gets messed around by odd scales. No doubt some one else will also find this useful. Thanks G