Drafting - Carpentry

We have a family friend that does carpentry for a living. Last year I started doing some work for him by drawing up the plans that he has. What he normally does is draws the plans up by hand then whenever there needs to be a renovation he re-draws the plan, again by hand. This is very time consuming for him.

Now, he does draw the plans out yes, but after he draws them he sends them to me and then I would draw them up again in SketchUp and send them back. When he needs something changed he would then ask me to move this line 4" forward or up or down. Add a drawer? No problem!

So what I do exactly is take the drawings he gives me then in SketchUp I would re-draw them and cross reference them with the plans he gave me then send them back to him. 

Another thing I do with the drawings though its more of a side project, is making the plans he gives me and turning them into 3D models which I would then make a 3D perspective drawing of them rendering with SU Podium - a rendering system.

The benefit of drawing them up in SketchUp rather then on a piece of paper is making large changes and even small ones are really simple and accurate and harder to loose.

When I start out drawing it I have a few presets I made for doing this particular thing. First one is setting this to what is called Construction Documentation, which is pretty much the same thing as what the default is, however it automatically sets the background to white and starts at a overhead view, which you might think  isn't a big deal but its really handy.

I just use the pencil tool and rectangle tool, pencil draws in one strait line from point a to point b, a rectangle tool allows you to draw a rectangle from one corner to the other with whatever size you want. 

Once I am finished drawing up the plan I send it to Layout. Layout is another program owned by SketchUp that allows you to send plans for the final touches and ready for printing or sending however you choose.

In layout, I add notes, dimensions, dates and title block. I would then double check that the dimensions add up from the plan he gave me and cross reference that it is linked with SketchUp still. Once this is complete I export the final document as a PDF and ready to send out.

Architecture - Revit

I love using SketchUp and have been for the past few years. However, it is not as advanced in some qualities as I once thought it was, it has a bunch of great features but is missing several key components and tools as well which makes it difficult for documentation and for setting material properties and the list goes on.

I talked to an architect a while back and asked him what programs he used specifically and he said that he used multiple software engines to get his work done rather than using only one. He gave me a list of programs that he used and said I should learn them all and that each had a certain use even though many could all do the same thing. SketchUp was a good modeling tool but didn't focus on documentation or some other key points. Photoshop was good for finished renderings for project proposals or to envision what the project outcome will look like, and so on and so forth.

He said that each of the programs he outlined were necessary and each had special qualities that all fit together, and each focused on a certain area.

On the list was a program Revit, he suggested I get into that as it is one of the most commonly used and advanced programs for architecture and said that it was a very important program to get to know as it was one of the centerpieces in the way of architectural software engines. He also let me borrow a book to learn the program and said that it was one of the best books for the program and should teach me everything I would need to know about the program.

I put a pause on SketchUp and starting reading into this new program. As I was going through the basics I was amazed at how detailed and simple but advanced, way beyond SketchUp. However I noticed that it was very advanced in some things, SketchUp had other qualities that outdid Revit.

So from all that. I am working to learn Revit and master it.

Diorama (pt 2, Model Tree's)

This is the second part of explaining what I do for making diorama parts.

While I was googling tutorials on how to make terrain and etc I found one on how to make model tree's. The tutorial started by showing how to cut the right length and how many to cut. If you wanted lets say a 3" tree you would cut 7" pieces of wire, and if you wanted lets say 24 total end branches you would cut 12 7" pieces of wire. Next you would hold them all together then bend them in half and twist a little loop on the bottom around 1"  loop, then keep twisting until you have a good size trunk about 2/3 of the rest of the wire.

Next you twist two of the top wires together until you can't go any farther with your hands, and do this to every single one until you have 12 wires. Next you take two of those and twist them almost all the way, and do this until you have 6 wires left, next do the same to these but instead of doing almost all the way you do it half, so you end up with a bunch of branches branching off of the 3 main ones, you can then fix anything that looks out of shape and curve everything into a circle at the top so it looks like a tree without leaves.

After that you go to the bottom of the tree where you have the loops, you take one of the loops and twist it until you have only a little loop at the end, you do this to every one until you have 12 little loops, next (this is optional) you can twist two of those wires together half way until you had 6 left. After that you take a pair of wire cutters of scissors and cut all the loop ends so that there would be now 24 ends, then use your pliers and twist them to about the shape of roots and you should have a tree that looks like this:

After you finish that you are on to the next step, and that's plastering it. Make up some plaster and get a paint brush and paint it onto your  tree until it drys and paint another layer on until it looks like a tree and not showing any wire like this:

After that paint it with brown paint and let it dry. Next use the green turf or moss and glue it onto the tree with hairspray or any spray glue. If you're using the turf from my previous post you have to layer it several times before its complete. You should have a finished product that looks like this:

Diorama (pt 1, Terrain)

One of the things I most love doing is making miniatures, and today's post I will talk a bit about how I made terrain

A little while back around Christmas I got a bunch of different materials for making a miniature scenery. I used card board to make the terrain and cut it out layer by layer until I had what I wanted:

Next I bought a thing called "sculpamold" and the stuff that acts a lot like plaster in that it is like a gooey almost dough like substance that I can form and put onto the cardboard:

After that I painted the entire thing green for the grass, now I wasn't finished with the grass but I painted green so that what I sprinkled on top would not show any white underneath it. Next I took some "Woodland Scenics course turf" which is like fluffy green cotton but a whole lot smaller, I mixed that with some other darker stuff to really add some texturing to the terrain. After that I made tree's, I used the same course turf but without the darker stuff, and picked up some twigs from a Manzanita tree as it branched out a lot more. Then I applied the course turf by using spray on glue and did it layer by layer until it looked like a tree. Next I sprinkled some of the darker stuff onto the top of it for more of a realistic look to it. After that I did some smaller detailing to the terrain to give it more of a realistic look to it:

I had the strips of cardboard in the back as I was also making a stone path and when I applied the turf it didn't get onto the places I had it covered

SketchUp | Uncles In-Law House

My Uncle is thinking of building a in-law house on his property and asked me to make a blueprint/diagram for it in SketchUp

Describing the building

I started by Skyping my Uncle and then he started explaining how he wanted the house, and I made it from there. Its going to be under 600 Square Feet because anything over that he would have to get a special permit to build over the 600 square feet. He wants one bed, one bath, kitchen, living room/dinning room all up and with a lot of natural light. He wants several closets for the utilities and ext. Here is a picture of what we made:

I took a bunch of stuff out of the 3D warehouse to furnish the 3D model. Since the house is so small most of the things that I brought in didn't fit correctly, I had to rearrange them a lot and resize them to get them to fit. I added a little person in it for perspective so that my Uncle could really get a good sense of size. I used screen-share so that he can see what I doing and that I don;t have to take a million pictures and send them to him as it is very time consuming.

This is my first actual project that might actually be used. While I was modeling it, I didn't have much time to get everything exact, so I will be re-doing the whole thing to make the size correct and build the furniture into the building not out of it.

SketchUp | Going Pro!

I recently bought SketchUp Pro, and today I will talk a bit about it

The version I have of SketchUp is a student version of it and that means that I can't use what I make on there for commercial use, basically meaning that I can't make a business using SketchUp in any part of it. Now that I have SketchUp Pro I can use it for a business and I get a bunch of other features like Layout, which lets you lay your 3D Model out into a printable form.

The reason I got this was for two reasons, number one is that I could use Layout and then having access to Layout I can really go through the book "SketchUp & Layout for Architecture". The second reason is that I can someday make a business, which I hope will be soon.

SketchUp Pro costs $695.00 USD

SketchUp Student Costs $49.00 USD

If you are new to SketchUp and not sure if you want to really get into SketchUp and you are still a student I would deffinitly suggest you get the student version even if you have enough money for the Pro version.

SketchUp | SketchUp & LayOut for Architecture

"SketchUp & Layout for Architecture" is written by Matt Donley and Nick Sonder. Today I will be talking about it

My mom is a part of a group that brainstorms ideas for their businesses. One of these people in the group is "Matt Donley." He is an experienced SketchUp user. He wrote a book called "SketchUp & Layout for Architecture" where he takes you through a step by step process of constructing a house and getting it ready to be built. Not only that but it gives you a detailed instructions on how to use the different tools in SketchUp & Layout. You use Layout to literally lay your model out.  Let's say you created a building and want to print up the blueprint for it, you would use Layout to do that. He came over last week and gave me a signed copy of his book

Matt Donley went to several Maker Faires where he found SketchUp and later helped the SketchUp team present their program. He also went to a 3D Boot camp and did a presentation on SketchUp. While he was there, he met up with Nick Sonder who is a architect and talked about SketchUp and such. After talking it over a bit Matt found that Nick needed someone to uncover any problems in his building model. Matt found that there are other people wanting the same thing, but couldn't find anyone to do it. Basically how it works is he gets the blueprint of the model and reconstructs it in SketchUp.  If he finds any errors in it he would tag it and then once done reconstructing the building he would send it back the his employer and his employer would fix it up and that would go to the contractor building the house or building.

Let's say you didn't double check for any errors in your model and you sent it off. Well, let's say you have a wall that goes out in a vertical line in your model but when you look at the blueprint it shows it going horizontally. You would want to fix those problems before sending them out to be used to construct the building. If you didn't do that, once the building was finished you would find that the person you hired to build it decided to make it horizontal and it made the building look funny.

SketchUp | More of Lynda!

After going through a few video tutorials from Lynda I have learned a lot of new things about making a proper building in SketchUp and here is a few of them!

Making parts separate from your building

In apart of the tutorial it says its best to make the parts in your model in a separate place, like instead of building it in your model to fit you create it before hand and then bring it in as a separate model. There are several different reasons for doing that, one is that you don't accidentally mess up and make some panel on a back wall of your building. It is very easy to make that mistake, so when making custom parts its best to make them separately and adding them in after.

Improving windows on your 3D model

When I made windows in the past I just uploaded a pre-made window from the 3D warehouse SketchUp has. I then just tried to fit it into the space I wanted, 99% of the time it didn't fit. I did make my own windows before but they never looked very good, now that I am going through a tutorial I now know how to make windows and how to fit the 3D warehouse windows to fit into the window frames I made.

Making background scenes

Lets say you make a custom kitchen for someone and you only want to present the kitchen and not the rest of the building. You can take a picture in real life of a room or something of that sort, and then upload that into SketchUp to use as a texture and put it in place of a open window between two rooms. Another thing that you would use this for is making a scene behind your windows outside,  like lets say you don't like the SketchUp view and you want to display something like your neighborhood where you would build or remodel the kitchen. Well all you have to do is take a picture with your phone of outside where the kitchen is/would be and use that to put on the outside of your windows, so that when looking around in SketchUp you can see outdoors. Like you can see here: (I did not make this, its apart of the tutorial)


I also learned how to make rimming for the walls, doors, and windows. Like instead of making a door trimming and then pulling it down to the ground you could use this tool called "Follow me" which basically lets you grab any template and have it follow your mouse to anywhere you wish, like going around the ceiling of a room, or around a door, all you have to do is select a template then use the follow me tool to pull it around a door to make a frame.

SketchUp | Making Blueprints

After looking around a bit for tutorials for SketchUp I remembered that there was an online teaching program called "Lynda" and I learned some new features from going to Lynda!

When I made houses in SketchUp I didn't do it right, I new that I didn't do it right, I just didn't know how to do it correctly. I had searched online in the past to see how it was really done. I knew that I had to make a blueprint first then go off of that, I didn't really know how to make a blueprint before and so didn't build the 3D models correctly. I found out how to make a blueprint using different layers to construct the walls, floors, doors, windows, and so on. From going through the lessons I know know how to properly construct a building in SketchUp.

To get in more detail on why and how I didn't do it correctly, I had made the 3D model like you would make a sculpture out of ice. You start with a big block of ice and chip away until you create something. What I did was had a block and  pulled things out of it. Now I know that I have to first create a blueprint of the building I want to make, then pull the walls up and add the detail and it would work out much better.

I found that in addition to starting with a blueprint its best to have a separate layer for almost everything, like one for interior walls, one for exterior walls, one for floors, and so on and so forth. If you have a bunch of layers for each thing you can get more detailed with your 3D model, like if you wanted to make all the floors yellow all you have to do it click one button and bam! they are all yellow. Whereas if you had done it by hand it would take you 5 times as long or more.

Here is a quick photo of a blueprint I just started:

SketchUp | Minecraft and How It Effected Me Getting Into Architecture

I've made many buildings in a video game called Minecraft, and recently I decided to convert one of those into SketchUp

I decided to do this because I noticed that the 3D models I created with SketchUp from scratch didn't look very good, so I decided to go from Minecraft to SketchUp. If you have played or have seen Minecraft you know that Minecraft is made up of blocks, and those blocks are huge, 1 square meter. I couldn't re-build it exactly the same as I had in Minecraft but similar enough that you can tell that they are alike.

Here is a picture of the minecraft version (on the top) and SketchUp version (on the bottom)

A little bit about Minecraft and how it effected my getting into Architecture

I have played this game, Minecraft for sometime now and I think that's actually what got me into architecture in the first place. I have built many many things on Minecraft, anything from a small cottage to a multi millionaire mansion. I built a lot on Minecraft and I enjoyed it very much so I was thinking I could learn how to design houses on 3D modeling programs and that could be my future career. When I was younger maybe 6 or 7 I was always wondering what my talent would be, my older siblings had theirs and I felt left out, my oldest brother used to have coin collecting, second oldest used to want to be a doctor, and third oldest was working toward being a programmer. None but one of them actually ended up with what they started but they all had their interests. I was always wondering what I could do, then my Dad started reading me this book called "Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction" and another book I forgot the name of. After that I started using some of the things I learned in the book in Minecraft and my buildings that I created got better from there.

A little after this my Dad got me this book called "Complete a Sketch" and I went through and completed that. By this time it was around 2014 or so. Then I heard of this Program called SolidWorks, and my Dad said I could buy the student version of it when I finished the Complete a Sketch. When I got SolidWorks I began learn how to use it. After that I make this website and started bloging about it :)