Tom’s Guide to Designing a To-Scale Block Drawing with SketchUp

 

Tom Reddy, Designer

I started using SketchUp about two years ago, and have to say I love it. It’s so simple to use, and you can get designing for free if you use the online version. But scrimping on spending in no way means scrimping on quality. SketchUp is an awesome programme that produces clean and professional results – the best in the business use it.  

This is my SketchUp tutorial for beginners. In it, I will guide you on how to make a basic to-scale block drawing for a simple back wall display with a podium. And to make it easy to follow, the measurements for the features will be as follows:

  • 3m x 3m floor space
  • 3m x 2.4m x 0.3m back wall
  • 1m high podium<

Note: A 3m x 2.4m x 0.3m backwall using T3 framework and connectors would actually measure:

  • Width: 2973mm
  • Height: 2360.5mm
  • Depth: 278mm

Why? These measurements correspond with the T3 connectors (33mm x 33mm) and standard 947mm beams that we hold in stock.

e.g. 3 x 947mm beams together with 4 x connectors will give you the 2973mm width:

(947mm x 3) + (4 x 33) = 2973 

Getting SketchUp

To start using free SketchUp, simply hop onto the online version and click Start Modelling.

Pro

Otherwise, you can purchase the Pro version at a much higher price tag by signing in here, or choosing a download option on this page (includes a free 30-day trial).

Open Up Your Drawing Template

With SketchUp Free:

  • Once you’re in, press the menu icon in the top left-hand corner
  • Click the New Model
  • Select Simple Template – Millimetres

With SketchUp Pro:

  • Open SketchUp Pro
  • Select the Template tab
  • From the drop-down menu, select the Architectural Design Template from the menu (Note: This template measures in mm which is the industry standard)
  • Click the Start Using SketchUp button.

How to Pan, Zoom, and Rotate

  • Zoom: Press the key. Then click and drag up to zoom in and down to zoom out.

Or: Roll your finger over the scroll wheel, hovering the cursor over the area you would like to be central to the zoom.

  • Rotate (Orbit): Press the key. <

Or: Click the scroll wheel on the mouse and move in any direction.  

Whilst in this mode, you can centre an area of your design by double-clicking on the area you would like to centre.

  • Pan: Press the key. Then click in the drawing area and move the mouse in any direction.

Or: Click the Shift key and the scroll wheel on the mouse then drag the cursor in any direction.

Create the Floor Space

To create your floor space:

  • Press the R key to use the Rectangle tool
  • Once the Rectangle tool is selected, click once on the origin – this is the point in the centre where all the intersecting lines meet. Note: You can press Ctrl to toggle between drawing from the centre or the corner of your rectangle.  
  • After your first click, do not click again. Instead type 3000,3000 (for mm) or alternatively 3m,3m (for metres). Note: The “,” is used in place of the “x” symbol normally used for dimensions.  
  • Press Enter.

Group It

After creating your floor, you need to group it. To do this:

  • Enter Select mode (arrow symbol on the toolbar).
  • Triple-click the object you would like to group until it is highlighted blue.
  • Right-click the object and select Make Group from the menu.

You need to do this after creating each of your objects to turn them into distinct entities, which can then be moved independently using the M key.

Build Your Wall

  • Go back to Rectangle mode using the R
  • Click once on the origin point (where the corner of your floor space should now be situated).
  • Type 3000,300 to set the wall width and depth respectively.
  • Press Enter.
  • Select the Push/Pull Tool by clicking once on the key.
  • Type 2400 or 4m to set the wall height.
  • Press Enter.
  • Click on the Select
  • Triple-click your wall until highlighted blue, then right click and select Make Group from the menu.

Add a Circular Podium

  • Press the key to toggle the Circle
  • Click once anywhere on your floor space, then type 200 to set your podium
  • Press Enter.
  • Click the key once to toggle the Push/Pull tool and set the podium height.
  • Enter 1000 (or 1m).
  • Press Enter.
  • Click on the Select
  • Triple click the podium until highlighted blue, then right click and select Make Group from the menu.

Finished!

And there you have it! You’ve just created your very own 3 x 3 exhibition space with a back wall and podium. I hope this guide has been a helpful introduction into using SketchUp to create your very own to-scale block display.

Upload files