Top Ten SketchUp Plug-ins For Woodworkers

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As powerful a program as SketchUp is, it can’t do everything. For example, if you get it into your head that you want to draw a Bombé chest (Fig. 1), as I once did, you’ll need some way to make compound curves to shape the sides and drawer fronts. To make that happen, you need to download and install SketchUp plug-ins, which are small programs like apps for a smartphone that add to the program’s capabilities.

Bombe_Chest
(Fig. 1) SketchUp alone can’t produce the compound curves on a bombé chest. That requires a separate program called a plug-in.

People worldwide who are adept at writing computer code create the plug-ins. There are more than 1,000 at present, and most are free. Where do you find plug-ins? You can find many right within SketchUp. With the program opened, go to Window>Extension Warehouse, which takes you to a different web site; search for the plug-in you want and download it. (Downloading takes just one click with SketchUp 2014 and 2015; it’s somewhat more involved with older versions.) In this single location, there are 208 plug-ins dedicated to woodworking.

You can find other plug-ins at the PlugIn Store at SketchUcation.com; you need to register to access the plug-ins and forums on the site, but that’s free, too.

Many plug-ins were created with architecture, landscape design, and other professions in mind, but some are well-suited for woodworking.

Here’s my top ten countdown:

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