How to Use SketchUp for Electrical Diagrams


Google SketchUp is a 3-D modeling program available for free, which makes it a tempting alternative to more expensive applications like AutoCAD. You can use it to make buildings, furniture and even circuit diagrams --- although SketchUp isn't the perfect solution for something like diagrams. Bear in mind that SketchUp models are in 3-D while circuit diagrams are represented in 2-D. Thus, it may be simpler to use another program if you have the option.

Things You'll Need

  • SketchUp Electrical Components model (see Resources)
  • Download and install the Electrical Components model (see Resources) to your SketchUp folder. Alternatively, you can use similar or more complete collections, if available. You will use this file as a template for the components.

  • Run SketchUp. If you don't already have a copy on your computer, you can find the program under Resources. Open the Components model in SketchUp.

  • Save the model as a new file, using the "Save As..." function. This will allow you to make changes without altering the components template that you have downloaded.

  • Draw a large, flat surface for you to draw your circuit diagram by using the "Draw" or "Rectangle" tools.

  • Bring a component you need from the template to your blank diagram by using the "Copy" and "Paste" tools. If you need to orient the component differently, use the "Rotate" tool.

  • Use the "Draw" tool to draw in the connecting wires from one component to the next. Repeat copying, pasting and adding lines to draw the complete diagram.

  • Erase the component template, resize your blank diagram if needed, and add any notes or call-outs you feel are necessary to finalize the diagram.

Tips & Warnings

  • Since you're working in an open 3-D environment, you can move and organize the templates and blank circuit diagrams in a way that will make your space the most efficient and comfortable for you.
  • You can copy and paste the template into a blank SketchUp project, if you prefer.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
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