Google SketchUp by Libertad Escobar

Google SketchUp

WARNING: The following blog post you are about to read is a tragic and devastating one. Please read at your own caution, you have been warned.

Hey there, my name is Libertad P. Escobar and I am part of the Trendy Trailers Inc. team! As a team member my role in our group (currently) is to model the outside of VENTURA, the 1977 Play Mor Trailer. My first attempt at modeling VENTURA was before watching the tutorial videos of Google SketchUp in class. Before this, though, I had basic experience with Google SketchUp and understanding of the tools, but was lacking the enough understanding to model a trailer, compared to modeling stairs. As we all know basic use of Google SketchUp (now) my greatest challenge now is my brain believes we are still using Autodesk Inventor. Fundamentally both Google SketchUp and Autodesk Inventor allow you to model all types of objects, though personally Google SketchUp is more architectural, they both use different methods to make the objects (Basically both programs get you to the same place, but through different routes). The following are pictures of VENTURA modeled on Google SketchUp.

Trendy TrailersTrendy Trailers 2Trendy Trailers 3

As a process with modeling VENTURA I have learned a few neat tricks, which can only be explained in the form of a tragic story. After modeling VENTURA and marking the basic parts, such as the windows, filter, tire area, etc. I tackled my first task (and most challenging) the windows. After extensive search through the 3D warehouse of “Jalousie Windows”, “Jalousie”, “Trailer Windows”, etc. I came up empty-handed. The problem was all the windows I found where not the same measurements (considering they where also in metrics) and they had 10 or more panels instead of 2. I went ahead and downloaded the windows with the closest length. After downloading the window I learned I could use the scale tool to change the width, length, depth, and opposite points to change the overall scale and not just a specific side. This is similar to changing the sizes of images, when you use the top middle points it only changes the width, when you use the side middle points it only changes the length, but when you use the corner points it changes the overall image scale (just this is in 3-D).

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Trendy Trailers 5After discovering I could use the scale tool to change the size of the windows I was still left with the problem these windows had 10 panes and I only needed for them to two panes, and in occasion one pane. When I initially attempted to make modification on the object and cut parts away I ended up deleting the entire object. I later found out if you double clicked on the windows, to be solely working on the component, I could make any such modifications needed to make the windows only have two panes. With these techniques in hand I was able to modify the window to the dimensions and correct number of panes. Notice the singular, yes only one windows, after that extensive process. Once I had finished my first window I was definitely not ready to do that all over again. Instead I decided I would attempt to copy the object and from there modify the dimensions using the Scale tool. After a few failed attempts of “ctrl+c and ctrl+v” I consulted Google and learned you could copy objects by choosing them with the Move tool, hitting the “ctrl” key once, without holding down on it,(a plus sign should appear above your cursor), then dragging (without holding down on the mouse key), placing the object where you would like it and clicking once and-TADA!-you have made a copy of that object.

But in the end (of this to be tragic story) it did not matter if the windows fit perfectly in the correct dimensions, because after double checking the measurements for one of the windows it was of by half-foot. I began to become concerned and decided to double-check the trailers overall measurements and learned it was off by 3 to 4 feet off. After triple checking my measurements wondering if the late night was getting to me and I wasn’t reading the numbers correctly I was disappointingly right in what I had seen. After attempting to change the measurements I realized it would not work and would have to begin from scraps.

As tragic as it is (at least to me) I did learn many new tools through this experience such as editing, duplicating (and even deleting) objects, but my most important lesson I have learned is to double-TRIPLE- check your measurements. This is where Google SketchUp is different from Autodesk Inventor. In Autodesk Invetor you where not forced to know the measurements of certain parts, but could dimension others to constrain that dimension. In Google SketchUp you can do this through the use of guide lines which are not as convenient. In Google SketchUp your are more forced to have a plan in mind or specific dimension, because once that dimension has been set it is difficult to go back in and change it. Notice I do not say its impossible, there is a method I have discovered, but it is not 100% reliable every time. What I learned you can do is you can use the move tool to move a certain line and re-dimension it, though this works much better on 2-D objects than on 3-D objects. A common mistake I made when playing around with this technique is I would type in how long I wanted the object to be, but did not realize this was adding that length to the object, not changing the object. In order for this to work you want to make guide lines of the correct dimension and move the object’s line to match up with the guide line.

Now that I have gone off topic I am bringing it back to this tragedy. Though I am not happy to say I have to restart over the trailer, I feel confident I will be able to get it done in no time as I have the experience of modeling it once and I can not stress this enough DOUBLE check your measurements. I hope that one day this experience will lead me to create the perfect program between Google SketchUp and Autodesk Invetor (or is that already Revit Architecture?)

I leave you today with a quote of inspiration:

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”

-Shel Silverstein

Libertad P. Escobar, Trendy Trailers Inc. “Eco-friendly and Eco-trendy”


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