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Can anybody recommend a good drawing package for doing plans with dimensions that doesn't cost the earth please?

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Hi Andy,  Sketch Up , basic package, and it is free,, hope this help,s , Jim 1

Thanks Jim.  I have tried that before but didn't find it that user friendly.

When did you try it?  I just downloaded 2013 a few weeks ago and I found it very easy to learn.  If you are trying to do something and you stuck there a several videos on youtube.

I had previously tried v8 and found the interface a bit cumbersome to learn.

If you try again just remember to make each part a component.  This will allow you to use plugins that will create a cut list and show you how to layout each cut on the boards.  This will also allow you to duplicate parts quickly.  If you need to modify one of the copied components you can make it unique.

If you have questions I would be happy to try and help you.

Good luck.

SketchUp has a bit of a learning curve, but it works great. Even the free version is incredibly capable. There are some great resources online to help you learn. Their own tutorials on YouTube are great. Yo ucan also check out (which is run by Community member Jay Bates) and


SketchUp is an incredible tool for project visualization. I like to make all of my projects in SketchUp first and get all the bugs worked out before I make the first bit of sawdust. Once you have everything the way you like it you can work more efficiently in the shop. If you have any questions or get stuck somewhere send me a message and I'll be glad to help. 

Hey Andy

Because your comment was in a friend request I couldn't directly reply to it.

You can easily specify the size of a shape in SketchUp by two ways. By typing in dimensions as you drag your mouse or after the shape is defined. 

As an example, lets draw a simple 8' 2x4. First decide what reference plane you want to draw on. Lets go with the invisible horizontal plane formed by the red and green axis. You may need to change your camera angle so that you are slightly facing down toward the red-green plane. Select the rectangle tool (or press "R" on your keyboard). Click the origin (where all the axis intersect) to drop the first corner of the rectangle. Now drag your mouse to the right to in the rough shape of a 2x4 but don't click again. Notice at this point you have a set of dimensions in the bottom right of the screen. Take note of which one dimension is larger. If the second dimension is larger then use your keypad to type 3.5,96 and press enter. This told sketchup to make the rectangle 3.5" wide and 96" long.

Now that we have a 2d shape we need to "push/pull" it into a 3d shape. Select the Push/Pull tool from the toolbar or simply press "P" on the keyboard. With that tool activated you can hover your mouse over any face on your model and the face will fill up with several dots to let you know what face will be used. In this case we only have one face to work with. Click once on the face and drag it in the direction you want to pull it. In this case we need to drag it up 1.5" which is the thickness of a standard 2x4. You can either type in 1.5 for your dimension and press enter or just randomly click again somewhere in the up direction and then type in 1.5 on your keypad and press enter. SketchUp allows you the flexibility of entering the dimension and pressing enter to finalize it or typing the dimensions and pressing enter after the shape has been defined. 

I know it's harder to read text and understand so here is a short video that will walk you through pretty much the same process:

If you're building cabinets. Thermwood has a free package called eCabinet that works very well. You'll need to go through the registration.

For other work, Sketchup seems to be the way to go, but like you I find it confusing; I don't use it very often, and I find every time i go to use it I have to relearn all the basics.

Thank you everyone for the info.  The info helps Jay and Matt.  It was being able to quickly say what size you wanted something I could not fathom out.

Here's one but its not like Sketch up but it is easy to learn and it's like setting down at the table and drawing plan's I have been useing it for 5 or 6 years its called

I love sketchup. The possibilities are endless. I've done cabinets and more in it

Google Sketch-up is the way to go.  Works good, just takes a little getting use to.  You can see the finished product in pictures I have posted

I just downloaded Sketch Up.  While I am a wood working novice my computer skills are decent and I find the software fairly easy to use so far.  Thanks for the tip.

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