Sketchup and fusion 360 for woodworking / furniture design

@DaveR
that must be the cutest lab test ever!

@Box
yes thats the beauty of SU, that you can always find extensions that do the trick…however sometimes i find it like a curse too since I never feel ‘complete’ knowing that i might be needed external/3rd party addons in doing certain things. What I struggle most in sketchup is with rounded stuff, like stair railing. I did some extension for that, but personally i would never be able to do it natively in SU

@SketchWoodShop
yes true, and thats why I’ve posted here cause so far (mostly youtube and some random articles found through google search) almost always fusion was praised/ranked better over SU. From previous posts I knew there were some really good SU users here, so I thought to give it a try and ask here

also thank you all for your contribution so far, many helpful users as always

ok here’s a little/quick update after using fusion for a few minutes. Pls note that my intention is not to start a SU vs fusion war or anything, far from it, i’m actually posting this comparison below cause i’m almost certain im using SU wrongly, so if there’s a better way of doing this, please do let me know (I’m still in favour of SU so far so as i’m not that eager to learn yet another new software!)

I tried to make a basic miter butt joint where 2 pieces of wood stick together at an angle. Now these were drawn freehand just dragging the rectangle tool without proper measurement or degree angles, but just to show the idea.

First is sketchup. As noted below I did not group the 2d lineart on their own, the only workaround i found is that i would need to group each piece individually, but then pushpulling will have to be done inside the group via double clicking for each. It kinda sounds lazy excuse for a couple of pieces, but in the long run it might get tedious, also maybe there’s some other ways of doing it. (the other option would be to manually redraw the base with line tool?)

Now for fusion,
Started by created the same 2d flat drawing, and extruded both parts seperately as to keep them apart and not joined. Top and bottom are both closed.

I know it has got something to do with SU working with faces while fusion working with whole objects, but i run in many instances in SU where i would need to close the faces manually with the line tool, sometimes its easy if its a flat side, but at times you get some uneven surfaces which are impossible to close manually.

To summarize, how would you approach in creating such a piece
thanks again

One method.
GIF 8-01-2022 9-40-39 PM

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love it! seeing other ppl’s workflow never cease to amaze me. Never thought about that approach.

One key thing in SketchUp is you model one part and make it a group or component before modeling the next part to prevent the parts from sticking together. Also remember you can edit a group or component after you/ve created it so you don’t need to get all the detail in place before you create object.

When I model a piece of furniture I start with parts that help me establish the overall size and use them guide me as I add the parts to go between. For example in this lowboy I knew where the legs needed to go so I modeled the front left leg and made it a component. Then I copied and flipped it to make the other three legs in their final locations. After that all the pieces between the legs were added using the legs as the reference for the lengths of those parts. Details like the dovetails on the vertical dividers and the mortises and tenons were added later.

I can’t call myself a “proficient” user of Fusion360 - but it was critical for one project I did a few years back: A Murphy Bed/Desk Combination.

I’d already modeled it in SketchUp - and I took a course on CAD/CAM during summer session at a local community college specifically to be able to use their maker space - and the 5x9 CAM machine to fabricate it! I also found a hardware set available online and ordered it - and it came with fully dimensioned plans/cutsheets!

At this point, I could have adjusted my SketchUp model for the exact sizes I needed, but the maker space didn’t have anyone familiar with going from SketchUp to gcode for the machine they had - but they had it down to a science if you had a Fusion360 model!

So I redid it in Fusion360. After a short learning curve, I had no problem modeling it - and once modeled, the gcode export was simple, easy, and quick - the only thing in ANY way complex was that I had to define a couple of new tools which the maker space didn’t have - I bought them and, once done, donated them to the maker space - Less than $100 total with lots of “feel goods” when I did so!

I have the SketchUp model in the 3d Warehouse:

I can’t find the Fusion360 model - so I can’t post that as well.

As for a more general Fusion360 statement, I prefer to model in Sketchup. But if I’m ever again faced with someone else’s plan for something I’m want to make using CAD/CAM, I’ll probably brush off my very rusty Fusion360 knowledge!

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YO…! Fredo and FredoScale makes me hunnid hunnid dollar bills y’all…! THIS plugin is what drew me to SU, to modify cabinetry without skewing and having to redraw multiple cabinets to create a cabinet library. Years later I have discovered its great to copy / paste / modify / save as THEN drag and drop models from a browser. But the reality is sometimes its easier to just have one very very good detailed model and modify it as needed for a new client / project. I found that using multiple dynamic components are too heavy memory wise to be productive with larger files. This was years ago so maybe memory allocations etc have changed over the past 5-10 years. Here are some examples, DM me I might share my libraries if I’m drunk enough…
WHATEVER you do, if you take just a month to 3 months with SU it will literally change your life. Then comes rendering and SU with VRay offer a tremendous rendering solution and NOW bringing Enscape into the workflow…?! I’m shook, the software and integration keeps making everything more productive and most importantly in the end MORE PROFITABLE. Good luck, Happy New Year!

Designs by Jonathan

Portfolio

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When I follow some of the discussions out there on 360, a common term that will be thrown around is ‘parametric’ modeling. I mean, ya, it’s super cool, but the setup seems so overkill for 95% of projects.

Having recently jumped into the world of CNC, I am tempted to understand 360 better just for that purpose. There are definitely ways to go from SketchUp to CNC, including Fabber - a plugin just for that purpose, however, other methods in my experience tend to rely on SU Pro level exporting, so free solutions are more limited. If CNC was high on your list, 360 does have more dedicated tools.

If designing furniture and planning your project are your main purposes, no surprise that I’m definitely in the camp that SU is faster and better for letting your brain wander through the design process. You are right that in some areas, modifying geometry can become difficult in SU, and you’ll start to learn methods, rather than tools. A very common misconception I see, is that many people don’t realize with good selections of edges, and then using the move tool, you can manipulate geometry really well, where many people think you have to draw all your complex geometry all over again.

In the end, basic SketchUp is pretty easy to pick up and use, but to really become proficient, takes time. Great community though. ;).

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I too have spent a lot of time getting to know Fusion 360. Its very powerful and can take you from design to 3d solid output. The learning curve is steep but then so was SU. A lot of what SU does relies on Extensions so is restricted to the Pro version (and cost). Fusion is free, even to the point of allowing you to earn $100k before you need to pay for it. Its context sensitive menus are way better than SU and the updates from Autodesk more frequent and meaningful (IMHO). Take producing a drawing as an example, its seemless in Fusion yet SU Layout is constantly criticized and yet never improved. I find they do complement each other - SU for ideas and concepts, Fusion for detail and parametrics.

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thank you all for the feedback. So far i kept watching some youtube videos about fusion, and while I am getting a bit more familiar with it, its still miles away from SU easy to use / intuitive navigation (the simple fact that scroll mouse zooming is inverted in fusion is already a bit counter-intuitive lol)

for me personally from what I’ve seen and practiced so far, sketchup excels and modeling “on the fly”, while fusion you need to take more like a traditional approach of laying numbers and 2 sketches before anything else. Also orbiting and moving things around quickly, and snapping to edges/points in SU is waaay better and easier.

The thing I dont like in SU is that you need a ton of extensions to make your life easier. So far any new features I found in fusion that SU can’t do natively (or at least not with ease) I instantly found an extension that does it for you.

@TysonK from what I can deduct parametric settings won’t make sense to use on a full room furniture as a whole like a kitchen, since it would make more sense to remove a cabinet rather than shrinking everything else. Personally I would use parametric for single items like chairs, tables etc

@DBJ im speechless about your p/f work. those are movie like sets!!! wow! I can’t imagine how your workload/schedule with such clients is! amazing

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For Fusion, you need to go into mouse settings and reverse the scroll direction. Better still (and for SU too) get a SpaceMouse. They are simply awesome for maneuvering around in 3d space.

I would like to find a good way to swap models between the 2 apps - importing SU files works but destroys groups and components and leaves you with a mesh. Its better going Fusion to SU.

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I wonder if you could share some examples of furniture you’ve modeled in F360. Maybe something along the lines of the lowboy or garden chair I show here. In both cases these were modeled in SketchUp (and both could have been modeled in Sketchup Make. Could have been modelied in SketchUp Free (web) although admittedly not as easily.) and shop drawings for both were created in LayOut.

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Does the spacemouse work identically in both apps? Seems like that would be important. Just curious.

Shep

Its a little more sensitive in Fusion but otherwise, yes.

This is completely untrue, I use a lot of extensions with SketchUp Make 2017!
However there are some extensions that only work in de the Pro versions…

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Fusion 360 has a very sophisticated chronological approach to creating parametric components which can’t be compared to the formula-based dynamic components used in sketchup. For example you could build up a complex 3D shape based on a 2D plan. But at any point you could jump back in time to any previous step (using the icons created for each step, at the bottom of the screen), right back to changing the original geometry in the 2D plan, and the implications of this change would be applied to all the subsequent steps. It’s mind blowing. I hope this makes sense. So it is arguably a lot more sophisticated for parametric modelling than sketchup. Also it has in-built tools for CNC machining - planning and creating toolpaths.

However it seems to be best suited for designing and machining individual components, and more geared to engineering than woodwork. Ok that’s not entirely true but I concluded (with the advice of a Fusion 360 tutor) that I would do best to stick with Sketchup.

I am now running a CNC machine producing nested and drilled cabinet panel components for fitted furniture, design parametrically in sketchup with the help of the Cabinetsense plugin; automatically outputted and toolpathed in vectric, then G-code outputted from there ready for the CNC machine.

As someone said above, this level of complexity is overkill for a lot of people’s needs. However if you foresee yourself scaling things up in future it’s good to start with a program that can scale with you.

You can achieve a lot with sketchup.

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See this SU file for ideas.

L shaped frame.skp (88.9 KB)

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Fair point! I was referring to the current versions.

History is nice and certainly has it’s pro’s, but it’s not parametric, per se in a sense that you can easily adjust parameters (range of diameters or movements of vertices)

Altair Studio is capable of going back in history and set up specific parameters to explore multiple options… Check out this video:

From 4:50 it get’s interesting:)

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@alastair
fully agree. what ive learned so far in fusion, looks like sketchup would still be a better option for my needs. as long as i’m dealing with furniture i don’t see the need of fusion’s potential (yet), tho fusion is sooo much better with curves and bends. SU still kinda suck for anything in the round, at least natively

@jean_lemire_1
thanks for sharing your process, yet another approach to achieve it!

@MikeWayzovski
lol ok so this explains why so many car makers come up with facelifts every year!
also this app looks interesting!! never heard of it but looks powerful i wonder how fusion fairs against it. I really like it when they model with those small boxes like they do in Maya. not sure why but i find it interesting. always wanted to learn how