How to Use Sketchup Timberframe Rubies


SketchUp is a 3D modeling application offered by Google. It comes in Pro and freeware versions. While it does not have the full range of tools you might be accustomed to in a 3D modeler, it does have the capacity to accept any number of plug-ins, known as "Rubies," that can greatly extend its capabilities. One group of these are called the Timber-frame Rubies and are offered for free by Northern Lights Timber-framing. These plug-ins help users create designs for timber-frame construction. They provide special features for creating, organizing and labeling timber-frame parts.

  • Go to the Northern Lights Timber-framing site (see "References"). Right click on the download link for the "tf_ruby_scripts." Save this file to a folder on your desktop.

  • Right click on the file and choose "Extract Here." The files will appear in the folder. Select all but the original zipped file. Right click and choose "Cut."

  • Go to your "Programs" folder and open the "Google" folder. Inside this, open "SketchUp" and then open the "Plug-ins" folder.

  • Right click on a clear area inside the folder and choose "Paste."

  • Start the SketchUp application. Select "Plugins" from the menu and choose "TF Rubies." You will see a list of the functions you can click on, such as the "Count Joints and Timbers," which lets you know how many parts you have, or "Configure," which lets you establish things like the sizing increments you will use, whether the model will be transparent (Xray) and where the parts labels will be placed.

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