SketchUp Make Review

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Thinking of a concept for a design can be a challenge, let alone rendering your design idea to a visible concept. This is where the use of 3D modeling software comes in. For those who are unfamiliar, SketchUp Make is the free version of SketchUp Pro – a popular 3D modeling software.

The software, which was previously known as Google SketchUp, is a 3D modeling software that is used for a wide range of drawing applications such as interior design, landscape, and architecture.

Due to its versatility, it’s also increasingly being used for many different types of applications, from civil and mechanical engineering to designing movies and video games. It also offers those who like to take on DIY woodworking projects to see what their completed project is going to look like and share plans with others.

Those are just a few of the reasons SketchUp Make is the 3D modelling (CAD) software we recommend for woodworkers.

Here’s a link to the SketchUp Download page.

The version we are talking about here is the free SketchUp Make 2017:

Here’s a video from Ron Paulk showing the difference between SketchUp Make vs SketchUp Pro; it also serves a nice intro so you can see what is possible with SketchUp Make:

Why Use SketchUp Make?

SketchUp Make is a free and easy-to-learn 3D-modeling program that gives you access to a few important tools, allowing you to create efficient and detailed 3D models of houses, home renovations, decks, patios, sheds, along with 3D models of woodworking projects.

SketchUp Make allows users to easily add in details, glass, and various textures to their models. For DIY woodworking enthusiasts, the software provides dimensional accuracy and can lead to better project results. Using various plugins, you can also use it to generate your project cut list.

We love to to use it to help generate cut lists, and also for figuring out difficult angles.

We also love that it makes it nice and easy to share our projects with you!

Best Free 3D Modelling Software

SketchUp Make is a free version of the 3D modelling software that can be used for home or commercial projects. It begins with the 30-day trial of the SketchUp Pro version, after which, users can agree to the Terms of Service and continue to use SketchUp Make for free.

Since the developers of the software want to help users migrate to the SketchUp Free version, there have not been any updates to SketchUp Make. That being said, the installer is still active and available for download by those who are interested in using Sketchup Make.

Free SketchUp Courses

SketchUp has recently launched some excellent courses to help beginners or advanced users progress. They are excellently done and very comprehensive.

You will need to create a Trimble login to access it, but it is totally free and highly recommended. Once you’ve created a login, you can access the courses here.

The Units currently available are:

SketchUp Fundamentals

This comprehensive SketchUp course does what it says on the box and will rapidly have you feeling quite comfortable using SketchUp.

It contains 12 courses:

  1. Quick Start – Description: “Jump right into creating your first model in SketchUp. We’ll introduce several of the tools and techniques that you will use often in SketchUp.” 11 lessons
    1. Getting Started: 1 Quick Start
    2. Getting Started 2: Navigation
    3. Getting Started 3: PIllars
    4. Getting Started 4: Components
    5. Getting Started 5: Platform
    6. Getting Started 6: Circles
    7. Getting Started 7: Array
    8. Getting Started 8: Steps
    9. Getting Started 9: Slide
    10. Getting Started 10: Color
    11. Course 1 Review
  2. Core Concepts – Description: “Understanding how edges and surfaces behave and the underlying concepts of SketchUp.” 5 lessons
    1. Edges and Surfaces
    2. Inferences
    3. Inference Challenge
    4. Blue Axis
    5. Course 2 – Review
  3. Push Pull – Description: “Push Pull tool.” 2 lessons
    1. Push Pull
    2. Course 3 – Review
  4. Accuracy – Description: “Understanding accuracy in SketchUp and the Tape Measure tool.” 3 lessons
    1. Accuracy
    2. Tape Measure Tool
    3. Course 4 – Review
  5. Drawing Tools – Description: “Reviewing the drawing tools: circles/polygons, arcs, rectangles, freehand, offset and eraser.” 7 lessons
    1. Circles and Polygons
    2. Arcs
    3. Rectangles
    4. Freehand
    5. Offset
    6. Eraser
    7. Course 5 – Review
  6. Selections – Description: “Overview of the selection tool and modifiers.” 2 lessons
    1. Selections
    2. Course 6 – Review
  7. Grouping – Description: “Grouping concepts” 2 lessons
    1. Grouping Concepts
    2. Course 7 – Review
  8. Components – Description: “Overview of components, component browser and introduction to nesting.” 2 lessons
    1. Components
    2. Course 8 – Review
  9. Layers – Description: “Overview of Layers and how they differ from other programs.” 2 Lessons
    1. Layers
    2. Course 9 – Review
  10. Move Tool – Description: “Move tool, including manipulating geometry, autofold and copy/array.” 5 Lessons
    1. Move Tool
    2. Manipulate Geometry
    3. Autofold
    4. Copy and Arrays
    5. Course 10 – Review
  11. Follow Me – Description: “Using Follow Me including lathed objects” 4 Lessons
    1. Follow Me
    2. Follow Me -Lathe
    3. Follow Me -Practice
    4. Course 11 – Review
  12. Inference Locking – Description: “Inference locking with arrow and shift keys” 3 Lessons
    1. Inference Locking
    2. Inference Locking Practice
    3. Course 12 – Review

Rendering: SketchUp to Photoshop

This fun and easy learning track demonstrate the process for setting up specific scenes with rendering styles applied in SketchUp in order to export and enhance using Adobe Photoshop.

It contains 3 courses:

  1. Creating & Exporting Scenes in SketchUp – Description: “Here we’ll provide a brief overview for the goals of this track along with the process of working with scenes, styles and shadows together to create specific exports for post-production in Photoshop.” 6 lessons
    1. Getting Started
    2. Model Overview
    3. Layers Overview
    4. Styles & Scene Setup
    5. Exporting Scenes
    6. Course 1 Review Quiz
  2. Post-Processing Scenes in Photoshop – Description: “This course walks you through the process of importing and working with your SketchUp scene exports in order to modify the look and feel of the SketchUp view, transforming it into a one of a kind illustrative. This exclusive method is repeatable, meaning it’s not dependent on the model, scene or artistic styling of the creator.” 10 Lessons
    1. Importing Scenes into Photoshop
    2. Photoshop Layer Organization
    3. Base Color Overlay
    4. Shadow Adjustments
    5. Linework Adjustments
    6. Entourage Adjustments
    7. Effects: Paper
    8. Effects: Color Wash
    9. Final Adjustments
    10. Course 2 Review Quiz
  3. Bonus: Ground Level Walk Through – Description: “This course takes all the techniques learned in the previous two courses and applies them to an additional view – this time from the ground. This walk though explores how the process is applicable to a number of different model and rendering conditions and still achieves a consistent and beautiful result.” 2 Lessons
    1. Ground Level Walk Through
    2. Course 3 Review Quiz

LayOut Essentials

Want to share your SketchUp model with others? Turning 3D models to 2D documents and presentations have never easier using LayOut. This track is intended for beginners who have never opened LayOut before but are familiar with the basics of SketchUp Pro.

It contains 3 courses:

  1. Getting Started in Layout – Description: “Get started using LayOut by learning several ways to create new documents from scratch while also exploring the LayOut’s interface, preferences, drawing setup, and customization features.” 6 Lessons
    1. Getting Started
    2. Creating New Document
    3. Preferences Overview
    4. Document Setup & Customization
    5. Document Navigation
    6. Course 1 Review Quiz
  2. Tools Overview – Description: “Explore and practice creating custom content with each of LayOut’s drawing and annotation tools.” 7 Lessons
    1. Selection
    2. Drawing Lines
    3. Drawing Arcs
    4. Drawing Shapes
    5. Adding Text
    6. Labels & Dimensions
    7. Course 2 Review Quiz
  3. Modifying & Styling Content – Description: “In this course, we’ll take our lines and shapes to the next level by learning how to edit and apply different styles to them.” 7 Lessons
    1. Working with Objects
    2. Modifying Lines
    3. Moving & Copying Objects
    4. Rotating, Scaling, & Arranging Objects
    5. Styles: Fills & Patterns
    6. Styles: Stroke
    7. Course 3 Review Quiz
  4. Working with References – Description: “Learn how to insert, style and annotate various drawing references such as SketchUp models, raster images and CAD dwgs.” 11 Lessons
    1. Pages Overview
    2. Inserting Model Reference
    3. Changing Model Scenes
    4. Creating & Applying Model Styles
    5. Adding Labels to Model Reference
    6. Dimensioning a Model Reference
    7. Stacking Views
    8. Reference Images & Clipping Masks
    9. Working with CAD Files
    10. Scaled Drawing
    11. Course 4 Review Quiz
  5. Layers, Scrapbooks, Templates & Tables – Description: “Once we have a model referenced, we can add additional details and content to help complete our document set.” 6 Lessons
    1. Working with Layers
    2. Title Blocks & Templates
    3. Scrapbooks
    4. Tables: From Scratch
    5. Tables: From Spreadsheet
    6. Course 5 Review Quiz
  6. Presenting & Exporting – Description: “Finally, learn how to share your document with others by exploring LayOut’s awesome built-in presentation and exporting tools.” 4 Lessons
    1. Presenting within LayOut
    2. Exporting to Image or PDF
    3. Exporting to DWG / CAD
    4. Course 6 Review Quiz

Coming Soon

  1. SketchUp Fundamentals – Part 2
  2. SketchUp for Landscape & Site Design

Loads of Online Resources

Since SketchUp Make is offered as a freeware, it has resulted in previous users creating scores of pre-programmed add-ons that are available to download to put into immediate use. The wealth of add-ons and plugins, coupled with a powerful photo-realistic rendering engine makes it a great option for those who like to take on DIY woodworking projects either on their own or at a professional level.

For those of you who are still not sure about using it, there are dozens of online resources that are dedicated specifically to SketchUp for woodworkers where you can find cool ideas or share yours.


  • Creates surfaces from lines and extrudes 3D solids from surfaces.
  • Offers a huge library of pre-designed scenes and objects.
  • A good option for those who are already familiar with AutoCAD.


  • Only allows the import and export of raster files and static graphic images that can’t be edited.

Get SketchUp Make Today

For the woodworking hobbyist, SketchUp Make is an excellent option! Download it here.

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