I am a great fan of Google SketchUp, (now known as Trimble SketchUp). I have doodled and created with it for many years now and learned pretty much all the basics. But recently I decided to branch out into an area I have rarely touched – dynamic components (which I often refer to as "DCs"). While there are many books and sites available to teach you the basics, I have found relatively little information on dynamic components so am forced somewhat to find them out for myself, "reverse engineering" the supplied DCs to see how they work.
In this section, I have written a series of lessons on creating DCs, thereby helping others who want to learn about them. Because I am not a professional user but someone who has had to learn it painfully from scratch, I can hopefully explain it in ways that newcomers can understand. Of course, that also means that what I say may not be the best way or the "correct" way, just the way I have learned.
What is SketchUp?
For those who don't know, SketchUp is a 3D-creation program, principally for architecture but which can also be used for anything 3D such as products and forms of transport. It is extremely easy to learn and yet capable of producing amazing and detailed models.
There are two versions of SketchUp, a free version (now known as SketchUp Make) which does pretty much everything and a Pro version which requires payment. The version I have and use is SketchUp 8 while the latest version is SketchUp 2014. As far as I'm aware, there is not much difference between the versions as far as usage is concerned so you should be able to follow this blog even with the newer version.
- To get an idea of what can be made, visit SketchUp 3d Warehouse.
- To download the software, visit http://www.sketchup.com/.
If you haven't used SketchUp before, then it's probably best to stop here until you have some experience. But for those who have learned something about it (which is probably why you've come), dynamic components are components that are not static but can change. For example, with a DC door assembly, you might be able to change the height or width without distortion, change the materials from paint to wood, or have the door closed or ajar – all without having to edit the object. A DC ladder can automatically add new rungs as you scale it up and a solar panel can always turn towards the sun in your model. The possibilities are endless, as they say.
While DCs can be used without limitation in the free version of SketchUp, to actually create a DC, you need the Pro version. It also helps if you have some knowledge of spreadsheets and understanding of the XYZ co-ordinate system. I also assume in my posts that you understand the basics of SketchUp, the meaning of words like "component", "material", etc.