Production/Fabrication/Shop Drawings - Is Layout your go to tool for any technical drawings?


I regularly use Layout in place of AutoCAD and Solidworks for a range of production drawings. Mainly because a large proportion of my workflow is within sketchup and - depending on level of complexity - I find it convenient to use layout as a result.

So, I was wondering how other folks on here have dealt with production of any technical drawings using layout. From my point of view it has taken some work to get near a format I am even remotely happy with, but I believe Its getting there. Initially - using the standard settings - I was producing what seemed like cartoons.

I mainly deal with structural steelwork and any associated drafting but also occasionally work with timber. Please see attached for a past example of a relatively simple timber shop drawing set. I would love to see what others think and have produced also.


I think your PDFs look fine.

I use SketchUp and LayOut to create shop drawings for furniture construction and I find it works quite well.

This is a non-woodworking project I have in progress for someone else. This is a part to be machined so it’s a little different than my normal stuff.

Thanks for the response DaveR. The attached looks good, are the hidden lines a added manually?

Thank you.

Yes, I just draw them in with the Line tool in LO. Before sending the SU file to LO, I turn on Back Edges and update the style. Then in LO, with rendering set to Raster, I can see the hidden lines to trace them. When I’ve finished drawing them, I change the render mode to Vector which won’t display the back edges. There are other ways to get there but this generally works fine for me.

That sounds like a reasonable way to add any required hidden lines. I tend to work with vector selected, so I will try it too.

I am curious to know how you configure your line weights within a typical production drawing?

I find that a model line weight of 0.2 typically works best instead of the standard 0.5 which can appear too bold, especially on drawings which require more detail. For centrelines, guide lines etc I tend to have the .pt size down to 0.2 and dash size at .25x. Whilst it doesn’t often appear correctly on screen, I find upon printing it allows the eye to read the drawings more clearly. Too much thickness can quickly ‘muddy’ a drawing and I have found that a number of mistakes during fabrication have been a result of lack of drawing clarity(Blame the line weights, not the drafter).

I guess what I am trying to say is it has taken some time adjusting line weights etc to allow a greater amount of detail onto a single drawing.
I try not to send multiple sheets detailing the same part if I can help it. Of course this depends entirely on context and how big a drawing space one can work and print from. (I typically aim for A3 as it is our fabricators favourite size…)

Line weights are definitely dependent upon print size. For the Arch E plans I do, I usually set perimeter edges to 2.0 and use thinner lines for details and hidden lines. Stacking viewports can be very useful for getting a variety of line weights from viewports.

1 Like

I often neglect the fact that stacking viewports can be so effective. I suppose that VP overlaying would be overkill for the majority of my work but I should think it would be effective for any Installation Plans.

Do you operate layers from SU to determine your line weights for the different components of your drawing(outline,detail and the like)?

Yes. I use layers and scenes to separate elements for different line weights. This is one of the more complex once I’ve done. The main side elevation of the chair consists of 5 or 6 stacked viewports. Each viewport is linked to a specific scene in SU and is on its own layer in LO. There’re also layers for drawing entities added in LO. Putting each viewport on its own layer makes it much easier to access a viewport if I need to make any changes. Making sure they are aligned correctly is almost a no-brainer. Copy and Paste to Active Layer makes it easy.

This one was done a few years ago. If I were doing it now, I might have fewer scenes/viewports and do more of the drawing in LO.


Great work.

Would you tend to do more drawing in layout now that there is the scale drawing feature available? Or would you have tended to add geometry in layout before this? If so why?

A few questions I know, but I am curious!


With Scaled Drawing available I tend to do a little more drawing in LO. But all parts are still drawn in SketchUp.

1 Like