UPDATE April 9, 2013- My computer crashed; had to replace the hard drive. Luckily I had the majority of files saved to an external drive (thumb drive) a few days before. Lost a few new files and the contents and rules of my Outlook program. I thought I backed it up, but I guess the import/export feature was for some other unknown use because when I tried to import the “backed up file,” it did not work properly (or I didn’t work properly).
Anyway, I had to reload the Sketchup software and, of course, any plugins I installed including the
Cutlist 4.1 plugin Cutlist 4.1.4 Update. As I was thinking about the hoops and memories I was to jump through to get it functional, I remembered that I already created notes about my experience (this blog post). You guessed it; I followed my own notes and everything worked just fine!
IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT SKETCHUP- Although “Google” Sketchup is now “Trimble” Sketchup, the Sketchup file folder remains “Google” for now.
NEW NOTE, June 23, 2012: WHY IS MY DIMENSION STILL NOT TRUE ON THE CUTSHEET PRINTOUT? I use the materials pre-printout to determine that all my parts are accurate and not approximate (~). When I see that symbol (~) in front of any of my dimensions, that tells me I need to address that part and correct it for true dimension. Sometimes, however, after verifying that the part is true to my desired measure with no (~) in front of the measure on the screen tape measure, I still sometimes see a dimension on my CutList pre-printout that is way off.
Culprit and Solution- Make sure that your part does not contain the visual dimension in the ‘edit component mode’ as the Cutlist program accounts for it as being part of the component.
In This Tutorial We Will
- Download the Plugin
- Create and Properly Label a Sample Project
- Create a Detailed Parts List and Cut List
The program I work with for designing my projects is Google SketchUp. It is, hands-on, an amazing program.
Hi, Ryan Bruzan here, www.CherrywoodCustom.com.
I downloaded the
Cutlist 4.1 Cutlist 4.1.4 Update plugin, but found that one important feature was missing: an Introductory Tutorial. There are many good notes about using the program, but I could not easily locate an in depth, detailed instruction manual on how to get the program up and running, so I created one! This is it.
I downloaded the program, dug in and learned the basics and took detailed notes along the way, but with the mindset that my notes needed to be in pinpoint detail so I could not only come back to them for reference, but also to share them with everyone.
It was and is a group effort to make this project what it is today. This tutorial is my small contribution. This program is definitely worthy of continued development. Once I figured out how to use it, I realized that creating cut lists and cut sheets got a heck of a lot quicker, easier and accurate, HOURS quicker! That’s why this plugin is important, especially for a professional custom project designer, woodworker and cabinet/furniture maker. It is a tool I will use on every project from this point forward and I am certain you will too.
Secondary Benefits: If you are not aware of the many other programs out there, the price tag and ongoing support costs are ridiculous for a small operation like mine. Those programs are great in their own rights, but Cutlist 4.1 only costs the time it takes to learn how to use it. Not only will this program produce parts and cut lists, it will also help you refine your labeling methods. This plugin is FREE. It’s easy to take the time to come back and let everyone know how this program has helped you and what else you would like to see. Add a comment below and I will make sure to deliver the message to Steve; your support keeps him busy improving the program.
Big thanks to the Cutlist 4.1 creator, Steve Racz. Great job; you just made my life easier! That said, let’s get right to it.
Using Cutlist 4.1.4 Plugin in SketchUp 8 for Windows 7 (It will run wherever SketchUp runs, not only in these current versions that I use)
If you’re a cabinet and furniture maker like I am, you are always looking for ways to tweak your operation to make things easier and make the many processes quicker. You do not even need to be a professional woodworker to use this program. Even if this is your first project, this SketchUp plugin will help you tremendously. It will compile detailed parts list and cut sheets to take to your woodshop for processing. A professional woodworker, cabinetmaker or designer knows precisely how much time those lists take to create.
Step 1: Download the Plugin
The first thing we want to do is download the
Cutlist 4.1 plugin Cutlist 4.1.4 Update and put it in the SketchUp plugin folder. Download the plugin from the link provided. NOTE: If you have a previous version, you will need to remove the old version files and folders replacing them with the new. Mac users follow these instructions.
- Click the link. A pop up will open. Pay attention to the icon and file name where it says “You have chosen to open…” Select “Save” and hit OK
- If your Downloads window does not pop up, then open Win Explorer, select the Downloads folder and find the file (remember the icon and filename?) Double-click to unzip and open the file location. Or double-click the recently downloaded file in your popup. One or the other.
- The file folder will still be in the Downloads menu. You need to move it to the Google SketchUp Plugin program file folder. This is the easy way.
- Right Click on the file(s).
- Select Cut.
- On the Locations/Folders list on the left of the screen, under Computer double-click C:
- SketchUp program will likely be in the “Program Files (x86)” folder. Double-click this folder to open.
- Locate and double-click the “Google” folder and open it (double-click).
- Locate and open Google SketchUp 8 folder.
- Locate and open the “Plugins” folder.
- Place your cursor under the last item in the list (not on a folder or item) and right click.
- Select “Paste”. If you do not have anything to paste, then the downloaded materials folder was not selected and cut properly. Use your Back button arrow to go back to the file in the Downloads folder.
- Right click and cut the folder.
- Use the forward button to go back to the Google SketchUp 8 Plugins folder or follow the process listed above to get back to it.
- You might get a popup that says “Provide Administrator Permission.” Select Ok or Continue
- That’s it. Open the SketchUp 8 program and look in the Menu Bar under “Plugins” to view the Cutlist 4.1 plugin.
Open SketchUp 8 and begin creating your masterpiece, but before going Gung Ho, you will need to setup your components to be recognized by the Cutlist 4.1 plugin.
This is a little different than simply creating components. You will have to nest the many components under one complete component. Follow this example to familiarize yourself with the process.
Step 2: Create Your Project
- Let’s create a component. First select your SketchUp dimension output. The Cutlist 4.1 plugin recognizes metric and imperial outputs. For this example I will use inches.
- Let’s create a panel. Starting at the default axis center point, sketch a panel that is ¾” wide x 12” deep (Figure 1).
- Triple click the sketched item to highlight the entire part.
- Right click.
- Select Make Component.
- This is important. We know that this part will be cut out of a sheet of Birch Plywood. We need to describe the part accordingly. The Cutlist 4.1 plugin will identify default words, but you can add your own. We’ll touch on this shortly.
- We will label this primary component as a finished module and name it “Base Cabinet 01”. In the description box of the component popup, type in a detailed description using whatever codes or identifiers you commonly use, but be sure to add “Birch Plywood” in there somewhere.
- For example, I create all of my modules from a starting point in the room and go clockwise around the room. I will describe this module as “Base Cabinet 01, Wall A, Birch Plywood” Select Create.
- Now we need to nest each individual component within the primary component we just created. Double the component to work on it (Figure 2).
- Triple click the component to highlight it again.
- Right click.
- Make Component.
- Call it “BC-LP-S1-A”. To me that means that this component is Base Cabinet (BC)-Left Panel (LP)- Section 1 (S1), Wall A. I know where I am starting in the room.
- Describe the part as “Base Cabinet-Left Panel-Section 1-Wall A-Birch Plywood”
Now let me show you what we just did. Click outside the part we are working on so that we are outside the component editor. Click the part once. It now appears to be a component. Double click the visible part to go into the component for editing. Click the part once again and it still appears to be a component. That part is now a nested component (Figure 2). All the components that we create inside the primary component will be nested components for this module, therefore it is important to create all other component for this module under the primary component, “Base Cabinet 01, Wall A, Birch Plywood”. You can create separate modules with nested components or create all nested components in one component module.
Now let’s create a few more components and make the module case. Let’s duplicate the component instead of creating another of the same (Figure 3). Click the Move tool, hit the Ctrl key (shows a ‘+’ over the Move cursor to signify duplication) and move the new component to the right slightly on the red axis and type “23.25” and hit Enter. Measure from outside panel to outside panel to make sure we have 24”. NOTE that we described this component as a Left Panel, therefore when we duplicate the component we will have two Left Panels. We are going to want to label it as a Right Panel.
- Right click the new panel.
- Click “Make Unique”.
- Right click again.
- Select “Entity Info”.
- In the “Definition Name” box, change ‘LP’ to ‘RP’ and delete the # and anything after it.
- Close the “Entity Info” popup.
- Click the ABC tool. Place the cursor on the left panel. Click once and move the cursor away. Notice that the component is identified as “BC-LP-S1”.
- Press the Esc key; we are not going to show the label at this time.
- Now with the ABC tool still selected or select it again if you closed the tool, place the cursor on the Right Panel. Click once and move the cursor away. Notice that the component is identified as “BC-RP-S1”.
- Press the Esc key; we are not going to show the label at this time.
Now your parts are properly identified and described to be recognized by the Cutlist 4.1 plugin. Let’s go ahead and raise the panels to their proper height (Figure 4).
- Click on the left panel all the way into component working mode.
- Select the Push/Pull tool. Select the plane to be raised and raise it up a bit.
- Type 36 and press Enter. This will bring the panel to 36” height.
- Repeat the process for the right panel. Panels are done.
Let’s create a few Euro Shelves (ES), or butt-joint shelves (Figure 5).
- While inside the primary component, select the Rectangle tool.
- Draw a shelf between the two panels diagonally from corner to corner.
- Triple click the part to highlight.
- Right click and “Make Component”.
- Name it “BC-ES-S1”.
- Describe it as “Base Cabinet-Euro Shelf-Section 1-Wall A-Birch Plywood”.
- Open the component
- Select push/pull tool, select the plane, lower the surface and type “.75” and press enter.
- Exit the component working mode for that component, but stay inside the primary component (Base Cabinet)
Duplicate the part (Figure 6). We want the top of the bottom ES to be at 3” from the bottom of the panel. Using the Tape Measure tool, mark the location accordingly. We are now going to duplicate the top ES creating and moving it into place, but we also want two adjustable shelves in this module.
- Select the part. Select the Move tool, press the Ctrl key. Click the top corner of the part on the same line where you placed your measure mark.
- Move the part to its reference point and left click once to set in place.
- (Figure 7) Immediately press the ‘/’ key and the number of openings between the shelves (in this case there will be three openings in this module so we will press ‘/3’ then press enter).
Now that the case components for the module are done, but just before we are ready to open the Cutlist 4.1 plugin, we need to select a material and paint all of the parts accordingly. Paint each individual part within the primary component. If you paint the entire module at once, the plugin will not recognize the materials.
Step 3: Open the Cutlist 4.1 Plugin
- Now that our project is ready for cutlist, highlight the primary component (in this example the Base Cabinet module) and open the Cutlist 4.1 Plugin from the SketchUp 8 menu bar at the top of your screen.
- In this example we will only be working with sheet goods. When the plugin opens, under the “CutList” tab, uncheck “Parts”.
- The “Sheet Material Words” box includes default words. Clear the box and type “birch plywood” in the box. Clear the “Part Words” box as well since we are not working with parts.
- Click the “Layout” tab.
- We do not want to split and parts so uncheck the first two boxes (Split Wide Parts & Split Thick Parts).
- Check Layout by Material box.
- Uncheck “Display unplaced parts” box.
- Type “1” in the first box next to “Saw Kerf Size:”. Select your blade kerf size (usually 1/8”).
- Select the “Sheets” tab.
- Select the sheet sizes you are working with. In my case 4’ wide x 8’ long.
- At this point, if the materials you are working with are most common, you can select “Save Settings.”
- Click run. Two windows will pop up. One will be the optimized cut sheets, the other will be the detailed list. Print both lists and take them to the workshop.
- LABELING NOTE: Depending on how you label your parts, you may have to cross reference the two files to determine the rip and cut sizes. Otherwise, label your parts similar to “BC-LP-S1, 12W x 36L”. When labeling your parts, only use general labeling, i.e. “plywood,” “board,” “MDF,” etc. Do not label parts with specific material or they will not show in the lists, such as “¾” finger joint poplar,” or ½” cherry stock. (Update Jan. 15, 2012)
- NOTE: If you have worked with other cut lists or have laid out hand drawn cut sheets, when you see the final cut sheets created by the program, review to make sure the sheets are optimized for the way you process your sheets. If you wish to make modifications, you can but I am not aware of how that can be done in the program. You can also check and uncheck “Minimize waste” and “Line up parts to cut lines” under the Layout tab to reconfigure the program outputs, although I recommend leaving them checked.
- LABELING NOTE: If you are using various materials in a single project, group all like-material parts into single components nested in the entire unit component. Example- I am building a mantelpiece and my columns are poplar face frames and sides, my arched frieze and mantle top are MDF, and my column face panels are ¼” plywood. With all my parts exploded as individual components, I will highlight all the MDF parts and combine them as one single component. I will do the same with my MDF parts, plywood parts, etc. The Cutlist 4.1 plug-in will automatically separate parts of various thickness, thus it is not necessary to make separate components for various thicknesses of materials. (Update Jan. 15, 2012)
- CSV NOTE: If you are going to export as a CSV file for spreadsheet such as Excel, do not use commas to separate words in your descriptions as they will skew the CSV input dividing each comma-separated word into separate cells . (Update Jan. 15, 2012)
Now you have a general understanding of how to use the plugin. As your proceed with various components and other materials in your creation, the program will recognize those parts and components. You just have to label and identify them accordingly. Credits and SourcesThe Cutlist 4.1 Plugin for Google SketchUp, Steve Racz (http://www.steveracz.com/joomla/) (Original post location) http://lumberjocks.com/daltxguy/blog/5143
Dave Richards is a contributor to finewoodworking.com and has plenty of useful reports for using and playing with Google SketchUp.
Ryan Bruzan wrote the instructions in this blog post.
SHEETS NOT SHOWING? It seems that by default, the Cut List 4.1 plugin identifies parts as board parts. Add the word “Plywood” to your plywood parts descriptions. To do this, left-click each part. Click “Entity Info” at the top of the popup. In the “Description Name” box, add “Plywood” after your label. Duplicate parts will change automatically, but verify that all you parts are accounted for.
The Cut List 4.1 plugin also accounts for part thickness and distributes sheet parts accordingly, so be sure to label any and all sheet parts with “Plywood.” If you have various types of materials (i.e. Cherry and Walnut), be sure to paint those parts accordingly. In plugin, under the “Layout” tab, be sure the “Layout by Material” box is CHECKED!
NOTE: WHY IS MY DIMENSION STILL NOT TRUE ON THE CUTSHEET PRINTOUT? I use the materials pre-printout to determine that all my parts are accurate and not approximate (~). When I see that symbol (~) in front of any of my dimensions, that tells me I need to address that part and correct it for true dimension. Sometimes, however, after verifying that the part is true to my desired measure with no (~) in front of the measure on the screen tape measure, I still sometimes see a dimension on my pre-printout that is even way off. Make sure that your part does not contain that visual dimension in the edit component mode as the Cutlist program accounts for that as being part of the component.