Posted by: bgtwindad | April 7, 2010

Sketchup is Cool!

I’ve been playing with a new tool in planning my layout – Google Sketchup.

Top view of Office Sketchup

Top view of the office.

I built a 3D model of the room, complete with the proposed layout and key furniture items.  It helps me see what it’s going to look like, where there might be access or safety problems (sharp corners!), and generally how workable the design is.

Sketchup has a lot of neat features, and once you “get it” can be used to do some amazing things.  One thing that was useful is Google’s extensive gallery of 3D models that can be downloaded and used.  That’s where I got the desk, chair, couch, cabinet, TV and computer monitor.  I also downloaded a locomotive and some track, scaled it to 1:160 and placed it on the layout to see how visible it would be from the couch.

Couch View with Train on layout

The view from the couch

You can change the viewing angle and position endlessly, and even animate walkthroughs.  One thing that you should be able to do (though I haven’t tried yet) is draw the track plan in 3D, including the ballast/track profile, grades, and scenic elements.

I think I’m going to find this to be a very useful planning and design tool, especially as I get better at using it.

You can see more Sketchup pictures of the layout design in my photo album at nScale.net.

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