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Friday, July 15, 2011

SketchUp: Divide and Conquer, Multiply & Be Fruitful

This post was originally featured over on Eric Schimelpfenig's terrific Sketchup Blog, Sketch This!  Eric asked me to write a guest post, which was truly an honour since Eric has been one of my go-to guys for Sketchup for about a year now.  I encourage you to check out his blog and his web site for all sorts of great information.  


For me, Sketchup's benefit comes in the form of speed.  The functions contained within the programme duplicate tasks I would perform while hand-drafting, and do so with more speed and accuracy.  Two of my favourites are the "divide" and "multiply" functions.

"Divide" is useful when you have a fixed amount of space you want to divide into an equal number of spaces.  To illustrate, I'm showing a bar back panel that I want to make into a door style with five, equally sized recessed panels.  I start by creating some guidelines around the outside of my panel, set 3" (the width of my rails and stiles) in from the edge.  There's also a guideline on the left edge.

To outline where my panels will be I simply select the first two guidelines and copy (not move) them being sure to select the left guideline as my starting point.  These guidelines are then placed so select point lines up with the guideline set in from the right edge.

To create my panels I simply type "/5".  This will make 5 copies of what I have just moved, and space them equally over the distance I have moved them.  Now I simply have to use the guidelines to draw in my panels knowing they are all exactly the same size.

The opposite function to this is "Multiply".  Multiply is used when the space between a group of items is the important part.  A very common example of this is framing.  Typically the framing member is a wall are spaced 16" apart.  Here, I show an object (representing a 2x4 framing member) being copied in line to a new location.  If I simply type in "16" while I'm moving the object, then hit the Return key, the object will be moved exactly 16" (This assumes you're working in inches.  If not, just add " after 16 and you're set!).

To repeat the move, simply type "*" followed by the number of times you'd like the move repeated, and voila!  Your wall is framed.

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