Detail: structural members, Chester Depot, Chester, NY, 1915
This tutorial is built around a project done in the Craftsman style. In Craftsman architecture, structural elements were the decorative elements, as this 1915 train station detail shows.

Train station detail, Chester, NY, 1915.

Edges to Rubies The Complete SketchUp Tutorial

View of SketchUp model carriage house



This is commercial, for-profit work. At some point there will be a send-me-money feature added. At this point (June, 2011) that feature does not exist. The whole price right now is feedback. Tell me what works and what's unclear. Major mistakes and minor typos. Put "Tutorial" in the subject line and send your feedback to MartinRinehart at gmail dot com. And thank you.

Experienced SketchUpist?

If you don't know SketchUp, skip to the next section. This is for experienced SketchUpists who may have come here just for the rubies.

A quick question first: Do you have the Large Tool Set open in SketchUp? If the answer is "Yes" you might want to check out Getting to Work (in new window). Keyboard shortcuts rule!

Flip through these pages, checking the pictures. When you see something new, dig in. In Chapter 2 we use the Ruby Console to put sails on our sloop, and then to model a bannister. (It's by far the easiest way and you need to understand [r,g,b] three-dimensional points to write Rubies.)

Why? What is this for?

Google has some wonderful tutorials on YouTube. Full video tutorials. But what they don't have, and what I wanted, is an overall, show me in the context of real modeling, tutorial. So I created this one for those who come to SketchUp after me. Hope it gets you from zero to mastery as fast as possible.

Hope you get to know and love Rubies, as I have. They make many things easier. They make otherwise impossible things (4D, animated models) possible. (Make a mental model of a static ferris wheel. Now start your ferris wheel turning. Which one do you want in your amusement park?)


Beginning in Chapter 1 you'll be working in SketchUp. This tutorial is skinny, so you can have SketchUp open beside it. So open SketchUp and arrange it next to this tutorial. Give two-thirds or more of your screen to SketchUp. Last, if you don't already have it, on the menubar (warning: that means the SketchUp menubar—not your browser's menubar) click the word "View". Click "Toolbars" on the dropdown menu and then click "Getting Started". (From now on I'll just say, click View/Toolbars/Getting Started.) That gives you this:
Getting Started SketchUp toolbar

You must never, ever click anything in this toolbar. Clicking here is like putting metal in the microwave. Don't do it. It's for decoration. If you reposition it to the left side of your screen, it also reminds you that the black arrow, the Select tool, is so important it's all alone in its row.

Overall Plan

In this tutorial we'll start at the beginning and then go on to a more complex project.

Simple House Carriage House
a really simple house shape a Craftsman-style carriage house

The simple house comes in Chapter 1. In Chapters 2 through 9 we'll model the carriage house. The second-floor apartment shows you how to do any sort of domestic architecture. We'll even do its furniture. In Chapter 10 we'll admire our work.

After we finish sketching up the carriage house, we'll move right on to SketchUp Ruby programming. We'll use the Ruby programming language and SketchUp's Ruby interface to get command and control over SketchUp. If you think programming is best left to geeks (and you are not one) think again. A little bit of Ruby will get you a lot of very fine SketchUp modeling. It will get your ferris wheel turning.


Each page has an icon. Each page except this one and the last, ends with three icons for "previous", "contents" and "next". Click the apartment below to go to the Table of Contents or click the little house with the missing faces to go on to Chapter One: Edges and Faces.


  View of apartment contents. Simple house, edge removed.