My Favorite Tool

Google SketchUp

Google SketchUp

My constant companion throughout this whole process has been my favorite new tool – Google SketchUp.  In fact, I’m not really sure I would have gone through with this project if it had not been for SketchUp.  SketchUp is unquestionably the best 3D design tool I have ever used.  It has allowed me to test new ideas, refine them, and throw them away if necessary – without wasting any building materials.  And the best part about SketchUp is that it’s free, even though I would gladly pay for it if it wasn’t.

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Google 3D Warehouse

Google 3D Warehouse

An excellent resource for SketchUp users is Google’s 3D Warehouse.  Here is where you can get 3D models of almost anything you would want to include in your design.  Need a sofa, plumbing fixture, or tree, it’s all available for download at the 3D Warehouse.  I was even able to furnish my virtual cabin with all of the Ikea furniture I plan on using.  This really helps in planning out your space requirements.

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Google Earth

Google Earth

SketchUp even interfaces with Google Earth.  If you assign a Latitude and Longitude to your project, SketchUp will export your design to Google Earth and display it at the correct location.

8 thoughts on “My Favorite Tool

  1. maura taylor

    wow, this is an awesome design tool!! i am just beginning (in the first week) of my container home project. i’m starting with one 8×40′ container (which I haven’t bought yet) for a piece of property I own near the beach here in mexico. i’ve been looking around on the internet for a good design tool and am very excited to try this out. i’ll keep checking in on your blog, lots of good info here!!!

    Reply
    1. Steve Post author

      Hi Maura:

      A container home near the beach in Mexico sounds nice, especially considering the weather we’ve had in Wisconsin lately. I’d love to see your design when you’re finished.

      Steve

      Reply
  2. George

    Hi Steve,

    Excellent blog! I have started my own container design for a land that we have recently made an offer to (fingers crossed). Can I ask you which container 3D model did you use for your design? Is it this one: http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/details?mid=c0e290892059816a1807e2437cc89d9? How did you create an opening for a window on the 3D model? I can create an opening on a 3D rectangular structure I draw from scratch, but the same method (draw-push/pull-erase) on the 3D container model does not cut the opening as expected. It just leaves a shaded rectangular space on the container.

    I have also followed the suggestion here without much success: http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/sketchup/thread?tid=17d1d85a3e632a79&hl=en

    Many thanks,
    George

    Reply
    1. Steve Post author

      Hi George:

      The 3D container models I use are from ISBU News at http://www.isbu-info.org/permalink/article_2008_dec_isbu_arch-draw-cad.htm. They cost $12, but they are the most detailed and correct ones I have found.

      Creating an opening in a Google SketchUp object is not very intuitive and is difficult to explain. Here are the steps the work for me:

      1. Make sure the object you want the section removed from is not grouped and is “exploded”.
      2. Create a 3D object (cube, cylinder, etc.) that is the same size as the window you want.
      3. Move the 3D object to fully intersect the object you want material removed from.
      4. Select both the object you want to remove material from and your 3D object.
      5. From the Edit menu select Intersect Faces>With Selection.
      6. Delete the 3D object and you should have a line in your original object outlining the 3D object.
      7. Delete the material within the line and you should now have a hole.

      This is a pretty subtle process and it may take you a few tries to get it right. You should also search Google for “SketchUp Intersect Faces”. Google discusses it here: http://sketchup.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=94856

      Best of luck with your project.

      Steve

      Reply
  3. Deni O'Quinn

    I love your blog. I am currently drawing a floor plan for (4) 40′ containers, side by side. Reading through your blog has answered many questions, for me. Some, I didn’t know I had! Ha ha Thanks for all the great inspiration!

    Reply
  4. Mike & Jo

    this is great = like you said advice But for me building been a challenge ie…dog house =yes/ shed= no. I thank you will look into this more on the action plan now. We have this little easier than you did back in 2008. Info being so available. You were a pioneer; I thank you for it
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    Reply

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