Dynamic Cut Sheet | Alcove

I’m trying to make the content I give out more editable and dynamic. I’m learning about some of the parametric functions of Sketchup and I’ve come up with a cutsheet file that is flexible so you can use different material thicknesses when making the component. There are 3 types of designs that I am dealing with, and I am trying to make each one of them easily configurable. First, the 3D model should be able to adjust the length, width and height by easily moving sliders or inputting numbers. Second, the 2D cut sheet should be able to adjust things like thickness of material. Third, the physical model should have multiple configurations to fit different uses and needs.

As of this update, I’ve only made the 2D cutsheet. Here is how you can adjust the thickness of the materials. It should also be noted that only Sketchup Pro users can create these “dynamic components,” but every free user of Sketchup can adjust the parameters.

alcove with dynamic components

Right click the component, which is the entire cutsheet, and go to “Component Options.” This window will pop up, and I’ve created two parameters: component thickness and wall thickness.  The inputs are in inches and they need to be decimal. I’ve put in 1 inch for both inputs. The only thing that will be adjusted is the areas where the material interlocks with other materials. The overall lengths and widths of the component will stay in tact.



Here is a closeup. Pay attention to the “dog bone” shaped openings. The left and bottom openings intersect other material components, while the middle openings intersect the Grid Wall.



Now I have changed the ComponentThickness parameter to 1/2 inch and you can see that the openings have narrowed.



Next, I adjust the WallThickness parameter to 1/4 inch, as if it were made of a thin sheet of metal instead of 3/4 inch plywood. The openings on the seat structure adjust.

Once you have made your thicknesses, you can explode everything by right-clicking and hitting explode. Do this until you can’t explode anymore. Then, if you have Sketchup 7, you can export to an AutoCAD Drawing Exchange File or DXF. This should get you far enough to send it to a CNC shop where they can take it and cut it out. There is so much CNC software out there that it’s not worth getting into one specific one, but you can certainly do this part yourself.

My next work is going to be advancing the Grid Wall 3D model and 2D cutsheet so that you can edit it down to whatever size you need. It’s interesting to think about which parameters you want to give out to the “masses” and which ones you want to keep deeper in the model. It makes me think of open source software, such as how thousands of people will download an operating system and customize it to fit a variety of purposes, but only a handful of those people will actually go into the source code, hack it, and change it up enough that it’s actually something different.


You can download the file Here. Check it out!



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